Like a faithful spouse, God listens for the phone to ring, for the sound of tires on gravel, for any sign that we have returned. When we finally come home, He quietly asks where we have been. He hugs us, tells us good night, and says, "I love you. I will always be here." ~Unknown
They're the two biggest lies I fall prey to believing time and time again: "God doesn't love you" and "God is punishing you." They visit and hide behind different masks, masquerading around, but each time the true face is revealed, it's the same two lies. In those moments, when the weight of those words are bearing down on you and I in a very real way, God doesn't feel like a loving father but a jail warden with bat in hand.
Shame and sin are weighty things aren't they? They infest and they decay. That is their nature. And with the fall, the fracturing of all that was good, perfect, and pure, these maggots and worms, sin and shame, were unleashed on all of mankind. They latch onto the heart and eat away at us. Such a disgusting picture, is it not? And while this perpetuates God looks on and is grieved. He was grieved when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. He was grieved to see His creation know the effects of sin. And He was so grieved to have those whom he loved, be… But even in His grieving God's plans, purposes, and promises have never been thwarted.
Israel had chased after other lovers. Idols in their heart they erected, bowed to, and served. Again. It's a consistent pattern and the hearts of men are idol factories in a fallen world. So God called up another prophet, Hosea, and told him to go and take a prostitute for a wife. Just as God had taken Israel, his bride… his cheating bride, so would Hosea take Gomar. If you're familiar with this story than you know that Gomar does indeed cheat on Hosea… again… and again. But every time Gomar turned to her other lovers and chased after them God told Hosea to chase and pursue her. So Hosea did so, and when he brought her home he "spoke tenderly" to her. Hosea had entered into a covenant with Gomar; She was his, bone of his bones, and flesh of his flesh. They were married, and so they were made one. A profound mystery.
So it is with us and the Lord. We cheat on him by taking on other lovers and idols in our hearts. Over and over again. And still he chases us, pursues us, speaks tenderly to us all the more. It's a mystery is it not?
Because God makes covenants, not contracts. Contracts say if what is promised between two parties isn't fulfilled, they can be broken. Covenants say if what is promised between two parties isn't fulfilled, the covenant still is. God makes a covenant with us, and you and I fail on our end of things… and He doesn't break it off. The covenant still stands, and God is faithful to deliver… even to deliver us a perfect lamb, Christ, to keep our part of the covenant perfectly on our behalf.
Hosea 2:19 says, "...I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy" (emphasis mine). Righteousness, justice, steadfast love, and mercy were the bride price for Israel. They are the bride price paid by Jesus on the cross for you, and for me. His righteousness, justice, steadfast love, and mercy covers our unfaithfulness so that we may stand before God as complete and perfected. Justification. It's done, and cannot be undone. No greater love than this has ever existed.
Are not all lies that question God's love in a way a mere threat to the Christian standing justified, whispered by the enemy? So when lies such as those that paint God in a light of a jail warden, are these not signs that we need to be reminded of the Gospel? Of God's compassion and steadfast love, Hesed, given to us in Christ?
Today I was remind of the ugliness of my sin, and my lack of believing truth. I was reminded how Gomar is a really bad, ugly name to give to your kid. But I'm now reminded that it's meaning is not: Gomer, from the root word Gamar, meaning to perfect. Both Gomer's and my own ugly unfaithfulness is proof that we're anything but perfect. But a sacrifice was paid to make us complete, to perfect us: Christ's death on the cross. A covenant to remember.
Today is about receiving and responding to His tender love.
Let nothing keep thee from that hallowed intercourse, which is the choice privilege of a soul wedded to THE WELL-BELOVED. ~C.H. Spurgeon
But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ~Lamentations 3:21-23