A Tale of Holy Love, Unfaithfulness, Justice, Mercy, and Grace
So far, God has extended numerous warnings, calls to repentance, and offers of mercy to His wayward people Israel, but to no avail. They are determined in their sin and unwilling to acknowledge their guilt, and God’s patience is wearing thin. Pleading and contending has not worked on the people of Israel, and the LORD’s holy anger cannot be averted forever. Therefore, God declares that judgment is coming for this stubborn people.
“With their flocks and herds they shall go to seek the LORD,
but they will not find him; he has withdrawn from them.”
Sometimes God pours out active judgment upon the sins of man, but often His judgment comes in a more passive form. Instead of raining fire and brimstone upon Israel, He simply chose to remove His presence and blessing. This in itself is judgment enough!
Israel wanted the best of both worlds. She wanted to experience the favor and blessing of God while also indulge in filth, sinful desires, and earthly pleasures. She didn’t want to accept the fact that possessing both was impossible. They are mutually exclusive.
But when God told Israel to choose between Him and idolatry, between righteousness and sin, between His grace and His judgment, she chose the latter. She preferred her sin and vain pleasures to the approval, presence, and blessing of the living God. She was willing to forfeit the promises, blessings, protection, and relationship with the God of her fathers for the sinful desires of her own heart. She didn’t care that she was in the wrong or that her future would be ruined if she chose this path. All she wanted was pleasure, right here, right now.
God saw Israel’s unrepentant heart and it grieved His Spirit. His love for His chosen bride was deep, sincere, and unconditional. So God extended grace. Time and time again He offered Israel forgiveness if she would just return. But she repeatedly refused.
There comes a point where God’s holy anger and justice cannot be averted. There comes a point of no return. And Israel had reached that point. So God brings His judgment. He removes His presence from Israel and turns His face away. Though future generations of Israelites may go looking for Him, He will not be found.
At the time of Hosea’s writing, this verse was still future for the children of Israel. They were still living during God’s season of grace and were being warned about the season of judgment swiftly coming upon them.
Likewise, right now we live during God’s season of mercy and grace. Through the blood of Jesus Christ we have forgiveness and a way to the Father. However, this window of time is drawing to a close. Eventually God will call His children home and remove His presence from the earth so that He may rain down fiery judgment. We don’t want to still be here when that time comes. We don’t want to be left behind when the world reaches the point of no return.
So are you ready? Have you taken God’s offer of forgiveness, grace, and mercy? Have you acknowledged your sin and accepted Christ’s blood as undeserved payment for your transgressions?
If not, what are you waiting for?
“When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers,
I will not listen; your hands are full of blood.”
“Then they will cry to the LORD, but he will not answer them; he will hide his face from them at that time,
because they have made their deeds evil.”