Rebuke and Restoration

Plead with your mother, plead—for she is not my wife, and I am not her husband—that she put away her whoring from her face, and her adultery from between her breasts; lest I strip her naked and make her as in the day she was born, and make her like a wilderness, and make her like a parched land, and kill her with thirst. Upon her children also I will have no mercy, because they are children of whoredom. For their mother has played the whore; she who conceived them has acted shamefully. For she said, ‘I will go after my lovers, who give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.’ Therefore I will hedge up her way with thorns, and I will build a wall against her, so that she cannot find her paths. 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. Therefore I will take back my grain in its time, and my wine in its season, and I will take away my wool and my flax, which were to cover her nakedness. Now I will uncover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers, and no one shall rescue her out of my hand. And I will put an end to all her mirth, her feasts, her new moons, her Sabbaths, and all her appointed feasts. And I will lay waste her vines and her fig trees, of which she said, ‘These are my wages, which my lovers have given me.’ I will make them a forest, and the beasts of the field shall devour them. And I will punish her for the feast days of the Baals when she burned offerings to them and adorned herself with her ring and jewelry, and went after her lovers and forgot me, declares the Lord.  “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her. And there I will give her her vineyards and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth, as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt.

       Hosea 2:2-15
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Rebuke and Restoration
            It is hard to see people we know go through troubled times in their relationships. It is even harder when we go through them. We often speak harshly and act unjustly toward the person we promised to love and cherish forever. These verses are hard for us to listen to because we know that God’s people have been unfaith to Him, just as we have. It is hard to hear the rebuke of God for their actions and for ours. Yet, like in many rocky relationships, the spark can often be rekindled. This is what the Lord does. He woos the straying Israel back to Himself. Yes, they will be separated for a time as they are exiled, yet God does not desert them nor forget about them. He draws them back to Himself and restores their relationship. So too with us. When we stray, God does not abandon us. The promise He gave us in our Baptism is always valid, even if we chose to turn from it. We may be torn down by His Law, but only so that we may be healed by His Gospel. We are given complete restoration in our relationship through the blood of the cross. As great as our sin is, it could never extinguish the love God has for us. There is simply no limit to His promise.
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