A Love Story

God used the prophet Hosea to communicate to his people that he loved them and desired a restored relationship with them.  How?  In a most unlikely way.  God commanded Hosea to marry an unfaithful woman named Gomer.  As soon as Hosea and his wife’s children were born, she prostituted herself and, in time, became enslaved.  In response to God’s command, Hosea then redeemed his wife from slavery and restored her to the family.  God intended this demonstration of unconditional love to symbolize his own love for the people of Israel.

God treated his people with mercy and compassion even though they rejected him and his will for them time and again.  But though God was angered by the unfaithfulness of his people he never rejected them completely.  Neither did he condone their sin by extending unqualified mercy.  He allowed the Israelites to suffer the consequences of their disobedience.  After this, however, he promised to restore them when they repented.

While the story of Hosea’s gracious love for Gomer is the story of God’s love for the wayward Israelites, it’s also the story of God’s love for you.  You, too, choose the way of disobedience that leads inevitably toward suffering and exile.  But as God did with Israel, he often uses the pain of exile to bring you to your senses and lead you back to him.  Then, through God’s unfailing love, you can be restored and enjoy an intimate relationship with him.

Restoring Relationships

Steve Arterburn

Are you living with a strained relationship?  Restoration of human relationships doesn’t happen instantaneously.  If you’ve broken someone’s heart or trust, you have a responsibility to face your failures.  And you also have the tough responsibility of avoiding the urge to blame others for the problems you’ve caused.  It may take some time before you’re able to face up to your failures.  Expect the process of restoration and regaining trust to take time.

The prophet Hosea was a remarkable man.  He was told by God to marry a prostitute.  His marriage was to be a living example to the nation of Israel of her infidelity toward God.  It must have hurt Hosea deeply when his wife returned to her life of prostitution.  Hosea said, ‘Then the Lord said to me, ‘Go and get your wife again.  Bring her back to you and love her, even though she loves adultery.  For the Lord still loves Israel even though the people have turned to other gods, offering them choice gifts”.  Hosea needed some time before he could be close to his wife again, for such deep restoration takes time.

It’s your responsibility to wait patiently while God helps you restore your broken relationships and the hearts you may have broken.  God can give those you’ve hurt love when love has been lost; he can help you trust and become trustworthy again, but these things take time.

A Servant’s Mindset

Steve Arterburn

 

Guys, your sin is not a private matter. It hurts everyone around you. The questions I would ask you to ask yourself are these: Is the power of sin at work in my life? Am I being honest about myself? Am I struggling with anger? Am I harboring bitterness? Do I have a critical spirit? Does my wife have my permission to speak to me about these things? Or is she afraid to bring anything up to me because I’ll snap at her or shut her out?

Men, what does God want you to do when you find the power of sin at work in you? Do you have the right or permission to isolate your heart when someone tries to come near? Are you justified telling your wife’either explicitly or by your actions’to get used to it, and join you in covering it up for the kids’ sake? The answer to both questions is a resounding ‘No’! The Lord is clear and consistent on what he wants from you: ‘Be earnest, and repent.’

Yet so many Christian men feel that their wives shouldn’t confront their sin, but should instead keep their distance, remain silent and silently pray. Well, praying silently and doing nothing more is God’s plan for dealing with the hard hearts of unsaved husbands! So if you already acknowledge Christ as your Lord and Savior, expect and be open to connection with your wife and friends. You really don’t have a license to shut out the people who love you and are reaching out to you. Take a step to be open ‘ to be humble, to be a man of God, in Christ!