So, what will it take for someone to return to the Lord? Ancient Israel and Judah were likened to adulterers straying from their one true love, the one true God. They would go off and do their own thing, making excuses, as if they had done nothing wrong. God’s message to them was simple and straightforward through the prophet Hosea: “God’s name is the LORD, the LORD God All-Powerful. So return to your God. Patiently trust him, and show love and justice.”
Times may have changed, but people basically have not changed much. God still grows weary of people taking credit for their own success, making their jobs and vocations a priority over him, stepping on others to get what they want, and finding their security in money, position, and prestige. If you have found yourself today giving reasons why you cannot meet with God in extended prayer; cannot go to that bible study or attend that small group; cannot fit worship of God into your schedule; have to do this, and do that, and go here and there; have to compromise on that decision; then, it could be that what is most needed is not being seriously considered.
God isn’t into guilt trips, as much as the prophets might sound like it. Rather, God goes out of his way to invite us into close relation with him. He looks at us longingly, like a new husband enamored with his beautiful wife. He wants to be with us. But if we keep giving him the stiff-arm with all of our other priorities, then we are truly missing out. Eventually it will bear the fruit of disappointment. Taking time today to read the message of Hosea carefully might just be a good place to begin coming back to God and finding in him the true desire of our hearts.
Almighty God, you are the Creator and Sustainer of all people. Without you there is nothing strong and nothing holy. So, increase and multiply the faithful people of this earth with your mercy in order that your gracious rule and reign will permeate the world, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.