Hosea 3-4; Psalm 136; Luke 22
These chapters begin with a husband being instructed by God to accept back his adulterous wife, despite her wrongdoing. He is to do this, and in the same way, God will accept back His people, despite their falling away from His expectations. In chapter 4, we hear more specifically some of the wrongdoing of the people of Israel. And even more harsh words are expressed toward the “priests,” who are quick to pass judgment on people they see as sinners, but who are also sinners themselves.
The first part of Hosea is a metaphor for the behavior of the Israelites. As an adultress cheats a spouse, so has Israel cheated God with their behavior. Even though the husband has been faithful and continues to love his cheating wife, God still loves and takes back in the Israelites. Chapter 4 continues to describe the faults of Israel. No one is excluded from this criticism, as we see priests and prophets also weren’t living up to God’s standards. However, going back to the end of chapter 3, they all will return to God, and they will be in awe of Him.
“His steadfast love endures forever.” Said another way, God’s unwavering love will last for all of eternity. He has shown this through His great creation, and by delivering the Israelites from Egypt, and giving them their land. He has shown his never-ending love by remembering us even in our toughest times, and rescues us from destruction.
There is a lot packed into this chapter. Judas agrees to hand Jesus over for a price. The Passover feast is celebrated, including the first communion. Jesus goes to the mountain to pray, while the disciples fall asleep. Jesus is arrested, and one of the disciples cuts off the ear of one of the people there to arrest Jesus. Finally, Jesus is mocked, beaten, and stands before the assembly of elders.
As I have blogged about numerous times, I am grateful and thankful for a merciful and graceful God. Just as the Israelites did so many years ago, I continue to fall short of God’s expectations. But I continue to always work my way back to Him through prayer, study, and worship. When I focus on God’s creation, I find myself in awe of Him. Just as the psalm describes the great creation and the manner by which God delivered the Israelites from Egypt, I can see God’s power in natural wonders such as Niagara Falls (still one of the most amazing places I’ve ever seen in person). I can see the work of God through others, for example, when at Creighton’s Cub Scout pack meeting this past week, where 2,187 pounds of food were collected to give to a local food bank. There will always be naysayers, who betray Jesus like Judas, or who deny him, just like Peter and so many others did in that last week of his life. We also have many false teachers, preaching what they call the Gospel, but is anything but the true Gospel. But through it all, God is still here, waiting for us to make our way back to Him. EVERY SINGLE TIME WE FALL AWAY, He will be there waiting for us to come back to Him! WHY? Because His steadfast love endures forever.