It’s hard to imagine tender words for a people who have fallen so far away because of their sins. Yet, in the book of Hosea, we see how a faithful God calls upon a wayward people to return. He tells how His heart recoils within Him and how His compassion grows warm and tender. (Hosea 11:8).
This is the God who declares, “for I am God and not a man” (Hosea 11:9). What do we know about this love?
Israel was loved and taken care of by the Lord in the wilderness. He led her “with cords of kindness, with the bands of love” (Hosea 11:4). He lifted her and taught her to walk. He healed her and she didn’t even know it. He stooped and made her great. (Hosea 11:3-4). How quickly she forgot. Yet, a faithful God, called her back.
In the face of growing apostasy and rebellion, there remains a God who is more ready to show mercy than we are to repent.
Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God.
Heal our apostasy, forgive our sins, love us freely, and let your anger turn from us.