Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: Hosea's Israel and Our Laodicea--An Identical Problem

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Is the Book of Hosea the story of a finally lost love? If the world’s novelists had written it, the answer would probably have been yes. But Jesus Christ is in the business of restoring broken lives! Hosea’s love was not finally lost.

The prophet was reconciled to the Lord, obedient, and at-one. He loved Gomer with the love the Lord had given him for her, in spite of her infidelities. Her lovers had all failed her and she went down into horrible personal ruin. Later, her husband “bought” her in a slave market for a paltry sum (Hosea 3:2); how more deeply crushed could any woman feel who was once loved by an honorable man?

We hope that in some way the grace of the Lord Jesus could manifest justification and repentance to her clearly enough to rebuild a healthy sense of self-respect. No man could enjoy living with any woman with a shattered, unrestored sense of self-worth. The much more abounding grace of Christ teaches and imparts a healthy sense of sober appreciation for one’s own being and the gifts that He has given us with the measure of His grace realized (cf. Rom. 12:3; 2 Cor. 5:15-18).

We also hope that when this poignant drama ended, Hosea and Gomer could walk hand in hand and heart with heart in blessed reconciliation and mutual love, until death did them part. In fact, we know that, because the original love tragedy on which Hosea’s and Gomer’s story is based did end, or rather will end, in glorious restitution of love for the Lord (3:5). And the Lord is too good to His children to permit poor Hosea to end his life broken-hearted, when His, the Lord’s heart, will be restored.

The reason why this book is in the Bible? Hosea was the Lord’s last effort to save Israel from ruin by the Assyrians. They put an end to the kingdom in 723 B.C. after their impenitence was hopeless. Elijah had tried to save them some 150 years earlier; what made the problem most difficult was that under Jeroboam II the kingdom had enjoyed great prosperity and material success.

Just like Laodicea, the people and their spiritual leaders continually said, “We are rich and increased with goods, in need of nothing” (cf. Rev. 3:14-17). Hosea’s Israel and our Laodicea have an identical problem.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: March 26, 2007.
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