Chapter 1 of Hosea is a heavy chapter. God has clearly confronted Israel with her spiritual adultery. By giving the children surrounding Hosea’s marriage and life difficult names the prophet’s family has become a living word of the judgement of God against spiritual adulterers.
In the midst of this powerful confrontation the passage turns and we find the word of grace, “yet”. Although Israel has played the harlot, although they have abandoned the covenant, although they have rejected and disgraced God, He still holds forth grace. These final verses of chapter 1 show us three ways that God graciously responds to our spiritual adultery.
The first way God graciously responds to spiritual adultery is by remembering and renewing promises made (v. 10).
What God does here is remember his promises. God quotes the promises he made to Abraham and Jacob. The promise was made that Israel would be a great nation. And God intends to keep it! He recounts this promise and renews it. Even thought Israel is in a place of spiritual adultery and apostasy, God’s promises still hold true. He will redeem his people, he will reclaim them as his own.
This is what God’s grace does, He doesn’t abandon his promises! In fact he renews them. What kinds of promises does God hold forth for us? Scripture tells us that anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Jesus states that those who believe in him will not perish. The promises of God are true and renewed.
Let me give you hope today. You are probably a spiritual adulterer. And yet you have today, and today you can be a recipient of God’s grace. The promises of God are there and available for you to take hold of right now. You can move from being unnamed and unloved to being loved and called “children of the living God.” That’s what the grace of God does for spiritual adulterers.
The second way God graciously responds to spiritual adultery is by redeeming and remaking a fallen people (v. 11).
Not only does God remember the good promises he has made, he goes the next step and redeems and remakes an adulterous people. This people that have been disowned, unloved and rejected God remakes and redeems.
Here in verse 11 God promises a reunification of Israel and Judah under one king and the very place that was their greatest defeat is now renamed to be a place of joy, promise and redemption. He purposely reuses the name of Hosea’s first child, Jezreel, to say that what once “God scattered” in a negative way he will now again “scatter” or plant in a positive way. What was once broken and fallen, God has redeemed.
His redemption of our lives is the same. We are estranged, hostile and at war with God. And even our attempts to be religious are nothing more than spiritual adultery. And yet in his grace and kindness he sent His Son, Jesus to bear our punishment, take our curse and die for our sins. By his resurrection and life we are redeemed and remade to be His people. God’s grace triumphs over our rebellion and adultery. What a day it will be, when God “replants” us for His glory!
The last way we see God’s gracious response to spiritual adultery is in his reconciling and restoring us to Him (2:1).
The final response of God’s grace is that it reconciles us to him. Catch the weight of what is being said here. Where God had renounced Israel as said, “No Mercy” and “Not My People” he promises by his grace to shower his love and affection on them. His future grace holds forth a promise of reconciliation and restoration.
Peter uses this same language in his first letter, in fact he quotes Hosea, in 1 Peter 2:9–10:
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
The promise and the reality is for us as well. Because of the work of Christ we can be reconciled to Him and restored as His people. The grace of Christ overcomes our spiritual adultery.
Do see how incredible God’s grace is? Yes, God’s judgement and separation is held forth. There is nothing small or inconsequential when it comes to sin and our spiritual adultery. There are real consequences, real discipline and judgment, yet there is great grace.
We’d be foolish not to look at ourselves in the mirror today and not acknowledge our spiritual adultery. The results of it are before us almost daily. We’d be equally foolish as well to reject and dismiss the grace of God in Jesus as well. He lived perfectly to provide our righteousness. He has died in our place so that we could be redeemed to God. He lives so that we could be reconciled and remade for His purposes.
Will you acknowledge your betrayal of God? Will you repent and receive His great grace? Will you turn and embrace a love that will not let you go?