Sunday, December 3
Week One - Restored Relationship - Hosea 11,14; Luke 1:67-80
Hosea 11,14; Luke 1:67-80
In Hosea 11, the prophet likens the waywardness of Israel to a rebellious child ignoring the loving guidance of their parent. As a loving father, Yahweh led Israel out of Egypt, took them by the arm, taught them how to walk, fed them and cared for their every need. Yet, Israel did not acknowledge the strength and loving care of their Father. Instead, they looked for security and happiness elsewhere. Yahweh painfully recalls, “The more they were called, the more they went away from me (11:2).”
Parents know all too well the conflicting emotions that the wayward actions of their children can cause. So, it is not surprising that Yahweh’s initial response to this rebelliousness is one of anger, but then such feelings are soon overwhelmed by feelings of compassion. This compassion then forms the basis for the hopeful expectation of restored relationship that we read about in Hosea 14: forgiveness of sins, gracious reception, healing waywardness and loving freely (14:2-4).
One of the great promises of Christmas, fulfilled in Jesus, is the hope of restored relationship between God and His people. Luke tells us that when John was born, the Holy Spirit spoke through Zechariah that his son would give people knowledge of this restored relationship (v.76-79). Today, no matter how far off-track we find ourselves, no matter how much we have messed up, and no matter how distant from God we might feel, there is hope for a restored relationship. We can turn to God in the hopeful expectation that we will be welcomed back with open arms.
Father, just as Hosea encouraged the people to pray:
“Forgive all my sins and receive me graciously,
that I may offer the fruit of my lips.
I will never again say ‘My god’
to what my own hands have made,
For in you a wayward child finds compassion.”