In the stunning conclusion to the book of Hosea, God puts the exclamation mark on his intention for his people, the chosen ones of God: he has chosen to redeem them despite their blatant rebellion. When Israel returns to God, he will not turn away from them as they deserve, but will rather provide healing and a home for them with himself, allowing them to once again belong to him; they will put their roots down in him and be fruitful because of his care and compassion to them. Instead of cutting them off forever, God will give them a beautiful future with him as his people.
There is perhaps no better parallel than one that comes from the prophet Jeremiah, although it came over a century later. It also reveals God’s heart and purpose for his people in the midst of their struggle, and reminds them of the hope only he can provide: “ ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’ ” (Jer 29:11). God reminded his people continually of his love throughout their trials, assuring them that when they repented and sought him, he would bring them back to himself. This is shown in the most ultimate way through Jesus — who is “the way and the truth and the life” (Jn 14:6). Jesus gives those who will trust in him the best hope: everlasting life with him.
Jesus, thank you for never giving up on me. Thank you for having a plan for my life. I ask that your will be done in my life, starting right now. Amen.
The Compelling Majesty Of His Power
Paul said that he was overpowered, subdued, and held as in a vise by “the love of Christ.” Very few of us really know what it means to be held in the grip of the love of God. We tend so often to be controlled simply by our own experience. The one thing that gripped and held Paul, to the exclusion of everything else, was the love of God. “The love of Christ compels us . . . .” When you hear that coming from the life of a man or woman it is unmistakable. You will know that the Spirit of God is completely unhindered in that person’s life.
When we are born again by the Spirit of God, our testimony is based solely on what God has done for us, and rightly so. But that will change and be removed forever once you “receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you . . .” (Acts 1:8).
Only then will you begin to realize what Jesus meant when He went on to say, “. . . you shall be witnesses to Me . . . .” Not witnesses to what Jesus can do—that is basic and understood—but “witnesses to Me . . . .” We will accept everything that happens as if it were happening to Him, whether we receive praise or blame, persecution or reward. No one is able to take this stand for Jesus Christ who is not totally compelled by the majesty of His power. It is the only thing that matters, and yet it is strange that it’s the last thing we as Christian workers realize. Paul said that he was gripped by the love of God and that is why he acted as he did. People could perceive him as mad or sane—he did not care. There was only one thing he lived for—to persuade people of the coming judgment of God and to tell them of “the love of Christ.” This total surrender to “the love of Christ” is the only thing that will bear fruit in your life. And it will always leave the mark of God’s holiness and His power, never drawing attention to your personal holiness.
Draw me, O Lord, into vital communion with Yourself. Press through till I am thrilled with Your presence. Cause me to be Yours in the expression of Your grace as well as in the experience of it.