Most often, after the tears subsided and the understanding took over, this was quickly followed with repentant remorse in the form of a tiny kiss or tender “pat-pat-pat” on the leg. On other occasions, the response was less desirable, ending in a full-blown tantrum. And in these moments of varying emotions, I’d often find myself looking at this little being and wondering if God ever felt this way.
In the book of Hosea, we see a pattern of sin that isn’t met with immediate remorse.
The Lord created a parallel, portraying the stubborn unfaithfulness of God’s chosen children, the Israelites. Hosea was instructed to marry Gomer, an unfaithful woman, and have children. Each child named by the Lord in warning of the punishment the Israelites would suffer as a result of their unfaithfulness. Just as Gomer abandoned Hosea, the Israelites had abandoned God, adopting the idols of the Canaanites and turning from the ways of the Lord. Their repentance was slow to manifest, not coming to actualization, but the vision of what their repentance would look like being beautifully illustrated in Hosea 14, “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.” (v.7)
A promise of restoration from a Father with a loving, gracious heart, even in the midst of their sin, “I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for my anger has turned away from them” (Hos. 14:3).
In the Israelites’ sin, the Lord’s love was still evident; He still foreshadowed the blessings the Israelites would find in returning to Him while never wavering in the correction He’s always faithful to give.
What we see following all of this sin is the posture of His heart for us.
The evidence that His heart is never for our destruction, but only for our good, because His love is never far removed even in His loving correction. Even when we’re running in every direction but towards Him, He desires for us to experience the promises of a life lived in righteous repentance.
Friends, when we find ourselves toe to toe with disobedience, like the Israelites, be reminded of what repentance can look like. We, too, need to be held accountable, that in our own sin repentance must be absolute. Remember, God’s love is never absent, even in the midst of the consequences. When we find ourselves in a state of awareness of our own sin, it allows for the fullness of His love that’s in us, through His Holy correction, to extend to those around us, whether it be in the wake of repeated offense or something so seemingly harmless as bathwater on the bathroom floor. Through this, may we be quickened to have the very same heart, mirroring His own in ushering graceful accountability.
Even when there is no immediate relent in offense, be gracious of heart, not failing to show the love and mercy we so often receive, but maintaining accountability and extending His promises that are held in divine correction.
Memory Verse: “You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call You.” Psalm 86:5
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