I want to dive back into an exploration of God’s relentless love as depicted in the book of Hosea.
God introduces another “lover’s complaint” to His people in Hosea 2: 8 – 13. God says, “She has not acknowledged that I was the one who gave her the grain, the new wine and oil, who lavished on her the silver and gold— which they used for Baal. Therefore I will take away my grain when it ripens, and my new wine when it is ready. I will take back my wool and my linen, intended to cover her nakedness. So now I will expose her lewdness before the eyes of her lovers; no one will take her out of my hands. I will stop all her celebrations: her yearly festivals, her New Moons, her Sabbath days—all her appointed feasts. I will ruin her vines and her fig trees, which she said were her pay from her lovers; I will make them a thicket, and wild animals will devour them. I will punish her for the days she burned incense to the Baals; she decked herself with rings and jewelry, and went after her lovers, but me she forgot,” declares the LORD.
The people of Israel were crediting everyone but Yahweh for all of their abundance. They were saying, “Our grain, wine and oil? It all came from Baal!” They were boasting, “Our silver and gold? That all came from manufacturing a household Baal idol for every home which in turn made Baal very happy with us.” They believed, “Our abundance has come from our ability to find providers who will give us more of what we want for ourselves.” God wasn’t kidding when He complained – “Israel went after her lovers – but me she forgot!” Yahweh’s relentless love had continued to provide blessing to His people even in the face of repeated unfaithfulness (by Hosea’s time 200 years worth of continued blessing in spite of disgusting unfaithfulness), but they continued to live as if their abundance did not really come from Him.
So what does this reveal about God’s honest desires for the people He loves? I personally think God is saying – “Please stop dismissing all that I’ve done for you!” It’s both funny and sad how easily we write “revisionist histories” on relationships that we’ve grown tired of, and we’re ready to abandon. For instance, friends that have been there for us through thick and thin get re-written as “controlling micro-managers” when we don’t want their friendship anymore. Spouses who at one time were eager to fulfill their promise to “love, honor and cherish until death do us part” re-write the story when they want to exit the marriage as “something I was forced into because I was young and didn’t know myself like I do now.” When we want out of relationships that are no longer as fun as they once were, require a little more work than we’re willing to put in, or no longer give us the thrill that we once had – we often dismiss or write away all that relationship actually gave to us and did for us! It’s not unusual for people to do the exact same thing with God.
God longs to gather to Himself a people who believe that “every good and perfect gift” comes from Him. Is your heart thankful to God or dismissive of all that He’s done in your life today?