I know I keep saying this, but God’s love towards incredibly unfaithful people is incredibly relentless. Check out what God says to unfaithful Israel through the prophet Hosea. Hosea 2:16 – 20 “In that day,” declares the LORD, “you will call me ‘my husband’; you will no longer call me ‘my master.’ I will remove the names of the Baals from her lips; no longer will their names be invoked. In that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field and the birds of the air and the creatures that move along the ground. Bow and sword and battle I will abolish from the land, so that all may lie down in safety. I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the LORD.”
When God got Israel’s attention again (through serious consequences), Israel would once again consider God as “husband” and not as a “master” any more. This is a significant Hebrew play on words. The Hebrew word for “master” is baali. It’s the name for the deity Israel had been worshiping – Baal, the god of fertility, whom they viewed as the master dictating the course of their lives. And their mindset concerning Baal’s master/slave relationship with them influenced their understanding of God’s relationship with them. In essence, to Israel every god wanted a slave-master relationship with their people – including God. But God says that’s not the way He rolled. He says He would pour out His love on them as a nurturing husband so that they would turn from the slave-master relationship with Baal, and turn to the nurturing-husband relationship God alone could provide.
Consider the extravagance of what God planned to pour out on His people in order to transform their hearts (vs. 18 ). He promised to make a pact with the beasts, birds and creatures so that they wouldn’t harm his people. He promised to end all war. He promised to do whatever it would take to help Israel lie down in safety. And if all this was not enough, God would even give His people a new dowry to re-betroth them back to Himself forever. You see, God’s saying, “I will never give up extravagantly loving you until your heart is transformed into the heart of a faithful lover.” This tells us another vitally important truth about God. God keeps pouring out His love until it transforms unfaithful people like us into faithful friends!
Here’s a question. How do you usually go about turning someone’s heart back to you when they’ve betrayed you or hurt you? How do you tend to “make them come to their senses?” I’m going to guess that most of us will use a bit of guilt to help someone “come around,” and a dash of shame to help “wake them up.” But how does God choose to transform a fickle heart? For one, He certainly doesn’t enable betrayal and unfaithfulness. He willingly butts out and lets the consequences of our choices lead us to the end ourselves. But He’s always ready, watching and waiting when that moment of clarity kicks in for us, and we look back to Him. He knows guilt and shame will not transform a fickle heart into a faithful heart. He knows that relentless love poured out when a heart is receptive is what transforms a wayward soul. Pretty cool, huh!?