July 21 (Daily reading: Hosea 8-14, NIV) We go back to see what God’s purpose was in asking Hosea to marry Gomer. He wanted Israel to hear this message: “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” (2:19-20). As the bride of Christ, we know Him in His righteousness, justice, love, compassion, and faithfulness. Israel had rejected this special relationship with God. “The people have broken my covenant and rebelled against my law … they make idols for themselves … they have sold themselves among the nations” (8:1, 4, 10). May we never forget our covenant relationship with God in Christ!
Israel had forgotten how much and how long God had loved him. Hosea wrote God’s deeply personal description of His love: “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. But the more they were called, the more they went away from me. It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by the arms … I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love. To them I was like one who lifts a little child to the cheek, and I bent down to feed them” (11:1-4). There is a beautiful tenderness in God’s love for His people!
God’s relationship with His people included a promise of victory over death: “I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. Where, O death, are your plagues? Where O grave, is your destruction?” (13:14). Paul quoted this verse in 1 Corinthians 15:55 as he thanked God for the victory that He gives us through our Lord Jesus Christ!
– Al Gary