I have the privilege of contributing to He Reads Truth, a website of whose purpose is “To help men become who we were made to be, by doing what we were made to do, by the power and provision that God has given us to do it, for the glory of Jesus Christ.” They do this by providing scripture reading plans accompanied by reflections that can be accessed for free online or purchased as print books. For those of you looking to engage scripture in a fresh way – either because you are dried up or have been away from it, these studies/plans will refresh your soul and engage your mind.
What follows is one of the pieces I wrote for the Hosea plan. You can find the full plan HERE.
Kids can be brilliant, clever, and hilarious. But they can be equally dumb and thick-headed. It seems they have two primary ways of exhibiting these latter qualities: 1. disobeying in the same ways repeatedly, no matter what parents say, or 2. thinking they can find a new way to get around rules. And, of course, both lead to the same results each time without fail. Parents’ rules don’t change, don’t bend, and don’t have loopholes. So each exhibition of thick-headedness is met with consequences. The only way this changes is if the kids begin to learn to obey and submit to their parents’ wishes.
In Hosea 7, Israel is the thick-headed child. Verse after verse regales the reader with the rebellion of one tribe or another. They are stubborn; they think they are clever. They are trying to put one past God or overrun His authority with sheer will – like that ever works. It’s what got them into trouble in the first place.
Even more remarkable is that this comes on the heels of redemption upon redemption. Throughout the first part of the book of Hosea, we saw God go to great lengths to show His people how He would rescue them from themselves and their unfaithfulness. And yet, here we are. You and I should resonate with this. We should recognize our own proclivity to rebel, to ignore, to think too highly of our cleverness. We are like Israel in a million ways.
But Israel’s, and our, fickleness and foolishness does not change God. He shows Himself to be a Redeemer still. He says, “I want to redeem them.” Despite rebellion upon disrespect upon idolatry, God wants to redeem His people—even though they do not call on Him. They grasp at any other false hope they can find. They use the gifts and abilities God gave them for their own ends instead of for His honor. They reject God completely. Yet still He wants to redeem.
God does not change. He does not waffle when we waffle. God does not become distant and unavailable when we distance ourselves. He is steady though we are not. He is faithful though we are not. Though we push God away, He does not push us away.
God stands ready to redeem, and make whole, and restore. Always. Even when we behave like stubborn children.