The description of Israel is so sad. The Lord declared, “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. The more they were called, the more they went away; they kept sacrificing to the Baals and burning offerings to idols” (11:1-2). Day after day, month after month, year after year, the people simply would not turn to God but turned away from him more and more. But God has something more to say: “I will not execute my burning anger; I will not again destroy Ephraim; for I am God and not a man, the Holy One in your midst, and I will not come in wrath” (11:9).
Yesterday morning, in his sermon, Josh noted that God loves us, his people, more than anyone else loves us. His love toward us is so amazing, it is so unfathomable, that we find ourselves, along with Israel, just astounded. How can he love us though we often turn away from him? How can he persevere in his mercy when we are so rebellious? The secret is in the wording of Hosea, isn’t it? We are his children, his sons and daughters. With the unceasing love of a father, so he loves us. And, so, he says to Israel and to us, “I will heal their apostasy; I will love them freely, for my anger has turned from them” (14:4). Indeed, in Christ is the fulfillment of these words: “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God” (Romans 5:8-9).
I my Master have denied,
I afresh have crucified,
oft profaned His hallowed name,
put Him to an open shame.
There for me the Savior stands,
shows His wounds and spreads His hands:
God is love! I know, I feel;
Jesus weeps, but loves me still! --Charles Wesley (1740)