Daily Devotionals

Campfire Stories: Week 1 - Friday

I will return her vineyards to her and transform the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of hope.
Hosea 2:15a

Have you ever felt that you messed up so badly that your situation felt hopeless? Maybe you felt that you were in so much trouble that there was no way out.

In the book of Hosea, the Israelites' idolatry escalated, and God's judgment was being poured out on the people of Israel. In that moment, the Israelites must have felt exactly like that. They had messed up so badly, and they were in so much trouble. Despite all of their unfaithfulness and trouble, God declared in Hosea 2:15 that He was going to win Israel back. He was not done with Israel. His faithfulness would continue on. In other words, there was hope for Israel.

There is also hope for us today. You may be finding yourself in trouble. You may feel like you have strayed so far from God and have been so unfaithful to Him that you think you are too far gone. Let me reassure you that there is still hope. There is hope because God is faithful. He will continue pursuing you and, like Hosea 2:15 says, He will turn your trouble into a gateway of hope. There is always hope. Notice that this verse says "gateway of hope." Other translations say "opportunity for hope" (NET translation) and "door of hope" (ESV translation). This verse makes it clear that God provides hope, but we have to choose to move in that direction. We have to choose to walk through the gateway, open the door, and take the opportunity to hope.

Have you given up hope lately? I urge you, my friends, decide right now to cling to hope. God's love is persistent, and He never gives up. He loves you deeply and is continuing to work in your life.

Moving Toward Action

Maybe you are feeling hopeless today or that you have been so unfaithful to God that there is no hope for forgiveness or restoration. The message from Hosea today is that with God, there is always hope. God can redeem and restore any situation, even the one where restoration seems impossible.

Which situation in your life seems hopeless today? Choose hope. Begin choosing hope by confessing your unfaithfulness to God. In your notes, write out your prayer to Him, asking Him to forgive you and restore you. May we be people who are profoundly hopeful.

Going Deeper

Read Hosea 11 (NLT)

“When Israel was a child, I loved him,
    and I called my son out of Egypt.
But the more I called to him,
    the farther he moved from me,
offering sacrifices to the images of Baal
    and burning incense to idols.
I myself taught Israel how to walk,
    leading him along by the hand.
But he doesn’t know or even care
    that it was I who took care of him.
I led Israel along
    with my ropes of kindness and love.
I lifted the yoke from his neck,
    and I myself stooped to feed him.

“But since my people refuse to return to me,
    they will return to Egypt
    and will be forced to serve Assyria.
War will swirl through their cities;
    their enemies will crash through their gates.
They will destroy them,
    trapping them in their own evil plans.
For my people are determined to desert me.
They call me the Most High,
    but they don’t truly honor me.

“Oh, how can I give you up, Israel?
    How can I let you go?
How can I destroy you like Admah
    or demolish you like Zeboiim?
My heart is torn within me,
    and my compassion overflows.
No, I will not unleash my fierce anger.
    I will not completely destroy Israel,
for I am God and not a mere mortal.
    I am the Holy One living among you,
    and I will not come to destroy.
For someday the people will follow me.
    I, the Lord, will roar like a lion.
And when I roar,
    my people will return trembling from the west.
Like a flock of birds, they will come from Egypt.
    Trembling like doves, they will return from Assyria.
And I will bring them home again,”
    says the Lord.

Israel surrounds me with lies and deceit,
    but Judah still obeys God
    and is faithful to the Holy One.