Mark 9:2-50; 2 Samuel 22; Hosea 2:2-23
God has always been about grace. Some people like to think of God in the Old Testament as stern and unyielding, while the New Testament shows the grace of God. The story of Hosea is an example of God’s grace. Hosea, at God’s direction, took a wife who was a prostitute. She couldn’t stay out of her old life and she eventually went back to her harlot ways. God told Hosea to do this as an allegory of His love for Israel; who continually rushed to other gods rather than staying true to Him. While Israel was eventually destroyed, God sought to bring Israel back with grace. “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, Will bring her into the wilderness, And speak comfort to her. I will give her her vineyards from there, And the Valley of Achor as a door of hope; She shall sing there, As in the days of her youth, As in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt.” (Hosea 2:14-15) God sought to woo Israel back to following Him by reminding them of His goodness to them ever since He brought them out of the land of Egypt. God sought Israel not because they deserved His love, but because they needed it. In the same way we are all needy for God’s love even though none of us deserves it. We fail to obey God in big things and small things. We trust ourselves and not God. Still God woos us back to Him with His great love. He has taken upon Himself the penalty for our failure to obey Him when Jesus died on the cross. So many seek to proclaim judgment even today, but God seeks to show us His love. He seeks us with a love so great that He gives us the chance to return to the beginning of our relationship with Him, or start a new one. How can we not return to such a loving God?
How easily I fall into a trap of believing in a punishing, judgmental God, O Lord. While there is judgment on sin, You already paid that price. Even now, You continue to seek us by showing us Your love and grace. Let me live in that love and grace and show it to others as well.