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God's Tough Love: Can God fix this?

 

Hosea 14:1-9
Related Sunday School Lesson, Family Bible Series, Feb. 27

 

Can God make anything meaningful out of the mess I have made of my life? When life crumbles, can God restore structure and hope? As our culture drifts further away from God's design and moves toward godlessness, people find it more and more difficult to overcome the struggles they face.

Having disappointed everyone around them, they often feel as if God is equally disappointed in them. The story of Hosea teaches us that God can put back together broken lives. By confessing sin and recommitting oneself to God's service, purpose can be restored to a spiritual life that was left for dead.

 

Acknowledge Sin, (Hosea 14:1-2)

"Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God, for you have stumbled because of your iniquity" (Hosea 14:1 NASB).

 

The call from Hosea for Israel to return to God began with the challenge for Israel to acknowledge their sin. When we come into the presence of God, we become even more aware of our shortcomings. God's righteousness immediately reveals our unrighteousness.

Acknowledging our sins involves confessing them to God and repenting of them. Because our sin creates a gulf of separation between us and God (Isaiah 59:2), we cannot return back to God without first dealing with our sin.

 

Think About It ... Is there any sin blocking your relationship with God right now?

 

Establish Commitment (Hosea 14:3)

"Assyria will not save us ... Nor will we say again, 'Our god'; to the work of our hands" (Hosea 14:3 NASB).

 

Once Hosea challenged the people to acknowledge their sin, he immediately called them to commitment. He wanted them to understand that neither human government nor a person's own hard work would provide a basis for successful living or secure their relationship with God.

Here in the United States we can tend to make the same mistakes as the people of Israel did thousands of years ago. We like to talk about "the self-made man" and the person who "pulls himself up by his own bootstraps." But in reality we know that even the most successful person is only a few short negative twists or turns away from complete devastation.

All of our hard work combined cannot guarantee us success, nor can it buy us salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9). A true walk with God is established only by acknowledging sin and establishing a commitment to following God.

 

Think About It ... Have you fully committed your life into God's hands? Are you willing not only to have His will done in your life, but to also obey with His help the truths He reveals to you in His Word, the Bible?

 

Accept Healing (Hosea 14:4-8)

"I will heal their apostasy, I will love them freely, for my anger has turned away from them" (Hosea 14:4 NASB).

 

"Apostasy" is not a word we often hear used in today's world. It simply means "falling away." Having addressed Israel's need to acknowledge their sin and establish their commitment to God, Hosea then turned to getting them to accept healing from God.

Even as Israel returned to God, their lives still had hurts that needed the healing touch of God. And God was willing to heal Israel of the deep wounds they had incurred because of their falling away from Him.

For some reason, and often without fully realizing it, many have bought into the twisted notion that God is a vengeful overseer, out to rob us of success and good times, and to punish us at every chance He gets. While God acknowledges here, through the prophet Hosea, His righteous anger at His children's disobedience and disloyalty, He obviously finds no joy in the hurt and difficulty the Israelites have brought upon themselves.

Instead His deepest desire is to see the Israelites healed and whole, and once again living in the light of His blessings. By His love, God can reach into the deepest recesses of our souls and place salve on our deepest wounds.

 

Think About It ... What areas in your life are in need of God's healing? Are you willing to allow God access to your innermost being so He can minister deeply to your heart?

 

Walk in Wisdom, (Hosea 14:9)

"Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; whoever is discerning, let him know them. For the ways of the Lord are right, and the righteous will walk in them" (Hosea 14:9 NASB).

 

Whenever we follow Hosea's message we are following the path of wisdom. In Scripture wisdom is the sound knowledge of God combined with practical living based upon who God is. Wisdom is skillful living that comes from God as the very source of wisdom. We are neither to be haughty in our knowledge or naive in our living, but we are called to walk in the wisdom that comes from God.

Proverbs 3 as well as Psalm 1 agrees with the promise here in Hosea that those who seek God and His wisdom as their source of living will find blessings and fulfillment. Yet Hosea also concludes that God's wisdom stands true whether or not man chooses to believe and follow it. We either choose to walk in it and be blessed, or to violate it and stumble and suffer harm. Either way the choice is up to us!

 

Think About It ... What are you choosing in your day-to-day life? Are you seeking God and allowing His wisdom to guide you? Or are you living by whatever seems best to you at the moment?

 

Biblical Truth: Turning to God and away from a lifestyle characterized by sinfulness shows wisdom.