Freely Loved By God

We are loved freely by a God who knows our chains of bondage cannot be broken by our own strength or merit.

Hosea 14:1-7

Return, Israel, to the Lord your God.
    Your sins have been your downfall!
Take words with you
    and return to the Lord.
Say to him:
    “Forgive all our sins
and receive us graciously,
    that we may offer the fruit of our lips.
Assyria cannot save us;
    we will not mount warhorses.
We will never again say ‘Our gods’
    to what our own hands have made,
    for in you the fatherless find compassion.”

“I will heal their waywardness
    and love them freely,
    for my anger has turned away from them.
I will be like the dew to Israel;
    he will blossom like a lily.
Like a cedar of Lebanon
    he will send down his roots;
    his young shoots will grow.
His splendour will be like an olive tree,
    his fragrance like a cedar of Lebanon.
People will dwell again in his shade;
    they will flourish like the grain,
they will blossom like the vine—
    Israel’s fame will be like the wine of Lebanon.

Cross,Jesus,God,Holy Spirit,Daily Devotion,Love

We are loved freely by a God who knows our chains of bondage cannot be broken by our own strength or merit. We, just like Israel, are persistently sinful and ‘forgetful’ of our God. 

At the beginning of this Old Testament book we are met with a familiar story. God’s people, Israel, have once again turned from the one, true God. In Chapter 1 we read that the prophet Hosea is asked to marry a promiscuous woman – “for like an adulterous wife this land is guilty of unfaithfulness to the Lord.”  Hosea is not just a message bearer with words, but Hosea, his wife and children, are all a part of the living and ominous message that God has for his people.

Israel are steeped in all the opposites of the Fruit of the Spirit we’re learning about in Galatians. They live like He is just not there. But this ever compassionate and merciful God wants his wayward people to turn back to him in repentance so that they can blossom and flourish as they walk with Him – keeping in step with His perfect ways.

We are free to walk with Jesus because of the way that has been made for us. We are free to kneel before a God who is our Father and calls us His child – because of the death and resurrection of Jesus. We are free to move from the ugliness of sin, to the ever-increasing beauty of a heart that looks more and more like our Saviour’s because we have been freely given His Spirit. 

Just like the Israelites, we can live like He is not there. But He is. Here is a holy and perfect God who has dealt with his wayward and purposefully forgetful people time and again. His requirement of a heart solely for Him cannot be found apart from the new heart we receive when we trust in Jesus; a heart that is made alive by His Spirit.  Remember that we are moving from ugliness to beauty; from dark to light; from sinner to saint as we are being changed. 

If your heart is not turned towards God today, come back to Him.  He freely welcomes back the sinner, the prodigal and the wayward when they turn back to Him.

Head:  There is animation in this passage.  This is an active God – not a God who is passive. Re-read the passage and help to build a more vivid picture of the ‘actions’ between Israel and God.

Heart: How does it feel to have an ‘active’ God? Do you believe that He is actively working in your life by His Spirit?

Hands: Tell a trusted brother or sister in Christ that you do/don’t feel like God is working in your life. ‘Remember’ together that He really is. Cry out to God in your thanks/confusion/doubt/joy.

Prayer:  Father God, We are so glad that you have sought us and that you’ve redeemed us.  Thanks for the love and grace you have so freely lavished upon us.  Lord, please forgive us for forgetting you. Please help us to seek you always and to love your ways.  May our hearts and actions reflect the light of Christ as we are changed by the Spirit of Jesus. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

A song to listen to:  Out of Hiding

Sarah Bailey