Wrapping up Hosea this morning. I never cease to be amazed by this love story gone south. A man who, under God’s direction, takes “a wife of whoredom” know he will have “children of whoredom”. And this in order to picture the depths of the love of God toward His people who had committed “great whoredom by forsaking the LORD” (1:2-3).
So a woman of ill-repute, justified so by her adulterous practice, is given a second chance by Hosea though he’s been told she won’t remain faithful. What’s more, she is given another second chance when, after returning to her flesh-driven ways and clientele, she is bought again out of the bondage of infidelity. Hosea told by the LORD to “go again, love a woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress, even as the LORD loves the children of Israel, though they turn to other gods” (3:1). Heavy sigh.
And throughout the remainder of the prophet’s writing is the indictment against faithless, whoring Israel.
But in this closing chapter I wonder if I haven’t come across what might be a root cause for such unfaithfulness in light of such undeserved love. Perhaps the lure of other lovers is founded in something quiet fundamental. That, after deliverance, they became dull. After being loved, they let something slip. After realizing the promise of a new land, they become complacent concerning the Promise Giver.
But I am the LORD your God from the land of Egypt; you know no God but Me, and besides Me there is no savior. It was I who knew you in the wilderness, in the land of drought; but when they had grazed, they became full, they were filled, and their heart was lifted up; therefore they forgot Me.
(Hosea 13:4-6 ESV)
Therefore they forgot Me. What chilling words.
A people who had been led out of bondage. A people who had been cared for in the desert. A people who had been brought into a land of promise. Most importantly, a people with God in their midst. And, when they became full, when the need was no longer perceived, they forgot their Deliverer. Grew cold concerning their Provider. Having become used to the pillar of cloud that overshadowed them, they looked past the shoulder God’s glory in their midst and wondered what else was out there. And they, like Hosea’s wife, returned to bondage. All because, “They forgot Me.”
Have forgotten the One who loved them to the uttermost, they started looking for love in all the wrong places. Taking for granted the faithful care of Him who sacrificially met all their needs, they slipped into unfaithfulness as they lusted after those who might satiate some of their wants.
They forgot Me. What an ominous warning for the people of God. But for this too, He has made provision.
For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when He was betrayed took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it, and said, “This is My body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same way also He took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.
(1Corinthians 11:23-26 ESV)
This weekend, many of us in many churches will be taking at least a few minutes to participate in a simple feast designed to keep us from forgetting. A feast instituted by the Savior to help us remember. Oh, that we might remember! Truly remember!
That we would draw near again to the cross and remember our great deliverance and the cost paid by our great Deliverer. That we might know afresh of His faithful, every present, provision. And that it might drive from us the seeds of complacency and crush within us the appetite for other lovers which can never satisfy.
Might it be said of His people, Oh how they remember Me!
By His grace. For His glory.