“I will go back to my place until they admit their guilt. And they will seek my face; in their misery they will earnestly seek me.” “Come, let us return to the LORD. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence. Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.”
Watch a parent carefully discipline his child, and a strange thing often happens. At first the child hates the discipline. As you might expect, the child wants to get away from the admonishing parent. One would think that the child would want to continue to stay at a distance, but usually just the opposite happens. The child returns to his parent to be comforted.
Deep down, each of us understands a need for discipline. We might even crave it on some level. This is because love and discipline go hand in hand. Parents who care enough to discipline their children are parents who love their children.
In our lesson the Lord used the prophet Hosea to instruct the people about God’s discipline and love. To say that the Children of Israel had misbehaved would be an understatement. They sinned. They turned from the true God to gods of their own invention. They were on a path that was headed straight to hell. But God loved them too much to let them continue on their way to destruction. So he disciplined them.
God’s discipline was harsh. Hosea used words like “torn to pieces” and “injured” to describe the pain God inflicted on them. The pain was severe, but so was the offense that the people had committed.
God’s discipline was effective. Not only did the people realize the error of their ways, but they also knew where they needed to turn for help. They turned back to their God who loved them enough to discipline them in the first place. And when they did, God not only let them survive, but thrive. God’s love for his people was as predictable as a sunrise and as nourishing as a seasonal rain.
The Lord is also your heavenly Father and he loves you very much. Perhaps at this time you are carrying a heavy load. Perhaps you have even questioned, “Is God doing this to me?” I can’t speak specifically to whatever problem you are going through at the moment, but I can tell you that God loves you as his dear child.
Hosea’s message to us is also quite clear. In difficult times don’t run from God, run to him. He is a God who cared enough to send his Son Jesus to take away your sins and call you to be his child. He is a God who cares enough to discipline you for your good, for your eternal good. He is a God whose love is as certain as a sunrise and as refreshing as a spring rain.
Heavenly Father, thank you for the times you have disciplined me. Remind me that I can always turn to you for love and forgiveness. Amen.
This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.
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