A Tale of Holy Love, Unfaithfulness, Justice, Mercy, and Grace
When misplaced and pursued with the wrong motives, love is foolish, fleeting, and unsatisfying. Gomer learned this hard lesson when she decided to leave her husband and children and return to her former profession—a life of prostitution. Israel also discovered the consequences of misguided love as God’s holy anger rained down upon them for their adulterous love for the false god, Baal.
As we move into chapter two and turn our attention away from Hosea and his family and back on the LORD and His indictment against Israel, let’s see what He has to say about Israel’s misplaced love.
“She shall pursue her lovers but not overtake them, and she shall seek them but shall not find them. Then she shall say, ‘I will go and return to my first husband, for it was better for me then than now.’ And she did not know that it was I who gave her the grain, the wine, and the oil, and who lavished on her silver and gold, which they used for Baal.”
Israel attributed all the good things she had received to false gods and completely overlooked the true and living God. She only decided to return to the LORD because she couldn’t find the loves she was seeking after. They were beyond her grasp. So as a last resort she decided to return to her first Love. Yet even then, she was blind to all the provisions of the Lord. She was ignorant to the fact that it was God, not Baal, who had given her both the necessities for daily life as well as the luxuries of jewelry and precious metals.
This was the sin that God was punishing Israel for. It was a sin that went beyond idolatry and spiritual adultery for they took the blessings of God and thanked Baal for them. They saw the things that God had provided as gifts from their false gods. They completely ignored the God of their fathers but gave tribute and adoration to a man-made statue instead. This is why God’s wrath was not far away and why He declared through the Prophet Hosea that these people were “not my people”.
But even before God brought His judgment against their unashamed sin, He gave Israel warning signs and opportunities to turn back. Before turning His face away from His chosen people, God sought to woo them back.
“She shall pursue her lovers but not overtake them, and she shall seek them but shall not find them.”
One of the first ways God sought to win Israel back to Him was by making the things they were pursuing unattainable. Wealth, prosperity, rain, victory, and all the things they were accrediting Baal for became fleeting. They didn’t last, and Israel was left blindly chasing after them. She pursued her lovers but was never able to overtake them.
So what are we pursuing that we can’t overtake? Are there dreams, goals, and desires that we’re chasing after and can’t seem to obtain? Is God withholding things from us because we are seeking after them for the wrong reasons?
Love for anything but God will not satisfy. Israel found this out the hard way, and sadly our culture is following in her foolhardiness. The world around us is trying to fill a God-shaped vacuum in our hearts with something, anything other than God—wealth, fame, popularity, power, beauty, relationships, love, and etc.—but they will never be able to obtain the happiness and completion they’re looking for.
Pursuit of anything else but God will prove unsuccessful, useless, and like chasing the wind. But our pursuit for God will never be futile. He promises to meet us right where we’re at if we’ll just seek Him. He said, “seek me and you will find Me.” (Jeremiah 29) And “draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” (James 4)
So who and what will you pursue? Will you chase after the fleeting, unsatisfying, and useless loves of the world or will you pursue the One who is faithful, everlasting, and waiting to be found?
“Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near.”
To be continued on Saturday…