Hosea is harsh. Especially chapter 13. After reading today, I just sat there, with my mouth open and my face twisted up in horror. I mean, how else do you respond to:
Samaria will be held guilty, For she has rebelled against her God. They will fall by the sword, Their little ones will be dashed in pieces, And their pregnant women will be ripped open. (Hosea 13:16 NASB)
Maybe it had a little extra affect on me as the mother of a "little one", pregnant with another, but still. Even if you're neither a mom nor a mom-to-be, that image has got to make you cringe. "Their little ones will be dashed in pieces, and their pregnant women will be ripped open."
But I can't pretend that God isn't fair and just. Just like She Reads Truth says, "He provided for [His Chosen People] in crazy miraculous ways. The ones He has been calling to Himself for whole chapters—books!—of the Bible, year after year after year after year." And they completely ignore Him.
Every good thing that happened to them was attributed to themselves. Every miracle, every blessing, everything was taken for granted. They only needed God when they needed something.
Throughout the last couple of weeks, I've been reading Hosea with the SRT community and, honestly, I've been getting annoyed with the people of Israel. They're so stubborn, ungrateful, and just altogether ignorant. What I think annoys and angers me the most though, is just how much I am like these people. I am stubborn. I am ungrateful. I am ignorant. I take miracles and blessings for granted. (I don't even recognize some miracles for what they are, probably.) Sometimes I only need God when I need something.
Hosea repeats itself often. God has to repeat Himself often, because of how hard-headed these people are. Because of how hard-headed I am. It's just like what we read in chapter 5, when SRT asked,
Where do we put God when we're on top of the world?
And in my response, I said "I find it so, so, very easy to turn away from God, in a sense, when things are going my way. I guess to be more clear, it’s not that I’m turning away from Him, it’s more like I’m just not acknowledging His hand in things — not giving credit where credit is due." And here, from Hosea chapter 5 all the way to Hosea chapter 13, we see the same thing in Israel, and I continue to see the same thing in myself. The difference for me now is that at least I'm aware of it when I see it in myself, and I repent, but this pride, this ignorance, is something I have to repent of practically daily.
Wow. That's so sad. (And embarrassing.)
As I write this, my husband is running through the songs we've chosen to lead for worship this coming Sunday. We're opening with One Thing Remains (Jesus Culture), and the chorus and second verse are like this:
Your love never fails, never gives up Never runs out on me
On and on and on and on it goes It overwhelms and satisfies my soul And I never, ever, have to be afraid One thing remains
On, and on, and on, and on, it goes.
Who else could have the capacity to forgive like that? Who else could have the capacity to love like that?
No one else.
God tells us Himself: There is no savior besides Me.
He's cared for us. He's taken care of us. We have been satisfied. And in return we continue to have proud hearts. But God continues to love us. He continues to love me. "God is the passionate and faithful Lover of [my] soul."*
And this, I can rest in.
*Charles F Stanley Life Principles Bible re: Hosea 11:1-9