The conclusion of Hosea says, "For the ways of the Lord are right, and the upright walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them" (Hosea 14:9b). The statement comes after a charge that we, the readers of the book of Hosea, would be wise and discerning to understand Hosea's writing and know it. Therefore, I encourage you to read the 14 chapters of Hosea this week as we prepare for Hosea's message in our series, The Message of the Twelve: A Journey through the Minor Prophets.
Here's a fantastic video from the team at the Bible Project. It summarizes the book and well worth the few minutes to watch it.
At the heart of the book of Hosea is the unfaithfulness of God's people. They (we) cheat on God all the time. It's called idolatry. The original hearers of that message were destroyed and cut off from God, but we are afforded the love and grace of God even as we play the whore and cheat on the Lord all the time. Too often, we often take God's grace for granted. Too often we cheat on one day and play the religious game the next.
How would you advise a friend who's spouse repeatedly cheated on your friend with other lovers? What if the spouse asked for forgiveness on Monday but cheated again on Wednesday, then again on Friday? And what if, on Saturday that spouse made breakfast-in-bed for your friend? Would that be enough for all to be right? Probably not. What if this happened over and over and over again? The book of Hosea says we are like that unfaithful partner.
While we would not likely have love and grace for such a cheater in our marriages, God shows remarkable patience and love for us. God is not a harsh task-master who must be appeased. He's like a loving husband who genuinely cares for his bride. He says, "For I desire steadfast love, not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings" (Hosea 6:6).
On Sunday, we'll open the book of Hosea and see the message God had for his unfaithful, covenant people. It's a message for us, but it's also a message of hope. As is apparent, the cheater does not deserve any grace or forgiveness, but God loves us so much, he does what we could never do for ourselves--he transforms our cheating hearts and redeems us. We don't deserve his grace and love, and a cheater could never really earn it. And that is why we worship our wonderful Lord and Savior.
I hope you'll join us in worship and for his message on Sunday.
For the Kingdom!
Pastor Bryan Catherman