Daily Devotionals

Campfire Stories: Week 1 - Saturday

But afterward the people will return and devote themselves to the Lord their God and to David's descendant, their king. In the last days, they will tremble in awe of the Lord and of His goodness. Hosea 3:5

"By the way," my college professor told my class before he dismissed us for the day, "I have chosen to give you all a one hundred percent on your first exam." We were all in shock! We could not believe our professor's generosity. The next class day, he told us that he gave us all a perfect score on our first exam because he wanted to show us grace. This grace, he explained, cost him a lot of time and sleep. (He had spent a lot of time grading each of our exams, even though he knew he was going to give us all a one hundred percent.) Grace has a cost, he explained, and the grace he had shown us was something our entire class needed. None of us made a perfect score. It was a hard exam!

In Hosea chapter three, God calls Hosea to show grace to his wife, Gomer, who has been unfaithful to him. God tells Hosea to go back to Gomer despite her unfaithfulness. All of this is to demonstrate that God still loves Israel, who has been unfaithful to Him by worshiping idols. God will show the same grace to the people of Israel that Hosea is called to show to Gomer.

Hosea obeys God's command to give grace to Gomer. Even though she had been unfaithful to him and committed adultery many times over, Hosea purchases her from the slave block to bring her back home as his wife. He then calls her to live faithfully to him because she is his. He promises that he will also be faithful to her.

Not only is Hosea's treatment of Gomer a picture of how God loves His people, Israel, it is also ultimately a picture of how God loves you and me. You see, years later, God would send His one of a kind Son, Jesus, who will give much more than fifteen shekels of silver to save us from our sin. He will sacrifice His entire life. He will do this because of His deep love for us, even when we are unfaithful. If Jesus goes to such great lengths that He gives His life to bring healing and hope, we cannot doubt that His love for us is unlimited.

When my college professor gave our entire class a one hundred on our first exam, he reminded us that grace not only has a cost, but it also has a responsibility. "Let this grace I have shown you," he said, "be an incentive to do good work. Let it be an incentive for faithfulness."

God's grace also demands a response in our lives. I urge you, let God's great grace be an incentive to be faithful to God.

Moving Toward Action

The question today is: How will you respond to God's grace? Will you be faithful, or will you live unfaithfully? It can be tempting to obey God out of guilt, but you do have another option. Your call is to obey out of love for God and the grace He has shown you. What step of faithful obedience is God calling you to take at church this weekend? Maybe God is calling you to serve, sit with someone who is sitting alone at the service, or give financially. Whatever God is calling you to do, let grace, not guilt, drive you to faithfulness to God. After all, when we encounter God's great grace, faithful obedience is the only natural response.

Going Deeper

Read Hosea 14 (NLT)

Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God,
    for your sins have brought you down.
Bring your confessions, and return to the Lord.
    Say to him,
“Forgive all our sins and graciously receive us,
    so that we may offer you our praises.
Assyria cannot save us,
    nor can our warhorses.
Never again will we say to the idols we have made,
    ‘You are our gods.’
No, in you alone
    do the orphans find mercy.”

The Lord says,
“Then I will heal you of your faithlessness;
    my love will know no bounds,
    for my anger will be gone forever.
I will be to Israel
    like a refreshing dew from heaven.
Israel will blossom like the lily;
    it will send roots deep into the soil
    like the cedars in Lebanon.
Its branches will spread out like beautiful olive trees,
    as fragrant as the cedars of Lebanon.
My people will again live under my shade.
    They will flourish like grain and blossom like grapevines.
    They will be as fragrant as the wines of Lebanon.

“O Israel, stay away from idols!
    I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you.
I am like a tree that is always green;
    all your fruit comes from me.”

Let those who are wise understand these things.
    Let those with discernment listen carefully.
The paths of the Lord are true and right,
    and righteous people live by walking in them.
    But in those paths sinners stumble and fall.