RESTORATION (HOSEA 3:1- 5)
Briefly, in the book of Hosea, for the first part (Hosea 1 – 3), is about the family life of Hosea. His marriage to an adulterous woman, Gomer, is symbolic of the relationship between God and the Israelites. When you read from Hosea 1, you will note that it was the Lord who ordered Hosea to marry Gomer “because the land is guilty of the vilest adultery” (Hosea 1:2). Their sins have broken the relationship with God, but yet God continued to love them and longed to take them back.
In Hosea 3, it started by God asking Hosea to love his wife again even though she has been unfaithful to him and left him for other men. He obeyed and paid 15 shekels of silver plus barley to bring her back as it was evident that she has become a slave thus need to be bought. Then in verse 4, it states that Israel would go through many days “without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without ephod or idol.” This indicates the fallen state of Israel. After that (verse 5), then they will return and seek the Lord their God, coming before Him in trembling and to his blessings in the last days.
From this short chapter, we learnt:
(1) Obeying God is not easy. He may ask you to do something you could never imagined that you are able to do. Like Hosea, he was asked to love his unfaithful wife again and bring her back to stay with him. What a difficult challenge. Not only is he to obey God, but he would also need to forgive his wife despite all her sins. We know that it is not easy to forgive those who have hurt us deeply. For some, it may take years before they can truly learn to forgive but there are also some who would refuse to forgive at all. With the Lord’s help, we can learn to forgive and let go of all grudges and bitterness stored in our hearts. In return, forgiveness helps to release yourself and the other person from whatever anger that binds you both. If someone has hurt you in the past, take the initiative to be the one to forgive them and seek restoration of that relationship. God took the initiative to forgive us when it is our sins that broke the relationship. He came to us because He loves us and longs to restore that relationship. What about you?
(2) The grace of God. Hosea had to pay to bring Gomer back although she was his wife. It is just not fair, is it? Because after all, Gomer did not deserve this since she was the one who has been unfaithful. She was the one who left Hosea. She did nothing to deserve Hosea’s gracious treatment or even the money he had to pay for her freedom. But he did that in obedience to God and also because he loved her. Have we turned away from God’s love too? Have we also been unfaithful to God too? We have, sometimes, but thank God for extending His grace to us. Thank God for His gift of salvation. Thank God that He was willing to lay down His life to redeem us from our sins.
(3) Restoration. After a period without any leadership, or spiritual service or guidance, the Israelites will return and seek the Lord their God. The restoration will be when the Israelites turn back to God and when that happened, they will be able to enjoy the blessing of restored relationship. This is like being deconstructed and reconstructed again. Like a loving Father, stripping His people of whatever is false and continue to teach, train and transform his children through his discipline. As we can see from here, God is using life events to turn our hearts back to Him. The God we know and love is a God of second chance. He loves us so much and awaits us with open arms to restore us. If you do know of anyone who need God’s love, share that with him/her this Christmas so that he/she may be restored back too and begin a new life with Jesus.
Jesus, help us to live a life in obedience to you daily and remain faithful always. Amen