Daily Devotionals

Campfire Stories: Week 1 - Thursday

But then I will win her back once again. I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her there. Hosea 2:14

"That was not so bad!" As soon as I said the words to my dad, I wondered if I should have kept them to myself. I was ten years old, and I had just been sent to my room for twenty minutes. I do not remember what I said or did, but I remember that I was in trouble. Always trying to look at the bright side, when my dad let me know my twenty minutes were over and I could come out of my room, I said, "That was not so bad!" The twenty minutes had gone by fast, and I was not as miserable sitting quietly on my bed by myself as I thought I would be. My statement sounded disrespectful, but I did not mean any disrespect. I will never forget my dad's response. "I did not want it to be bad. I just wanted to you to learn," he said. My dad had seen me behave poorly, and out of love, he wanted me to learn from my mistake and behave differently as a result. More than anything, he wanted me to know that he loved me and wanted me to change my behavior because I loved him and my family. In that moment, he was fighting for my love and affection. I think this is how God must have felt about Israel.

The book of Hosea teaches us that Israel had been worshiping idols instead of God. Imagine how God felt watching Israel worship Baal. God, who had been so faithful to Israel, watched His people as they consistently behaved unfaithfully. Over and over again, they would turn from God to idols. It must have been simultaneously heartbreaking and disappointing.

Many would have given up on Israel after their consistent unfaithfulness, but not God. Hosea 2:14 states that God, despite the Israelites' unfaithfulness, was going to win Israel back. Some translations say, "I will allure her" (ESV Translation). What a beautiful word picture. Instead of giving up on Israel, God declares that He is going fight for Israel's affection. This is unconditional, faithful love, and it is the love that God has for you today. God's love for us pursues, not because of anything we have said or done, but simply because He loves us.

My dad showed me consistent love and faithfulness, even when I was misbehaving. His response to me the day I had behaved poorly is a small picture of how God also dealt with Israel. My dad fought for my faithfulness and love, just like God fought for Israel, and just like He fights for us. He desires all of our attention and affection, and He does not give up.

Moving Toward Action

Our call today is to marvel at God's consistent faithfulness and love to us despite our unfaithfulness. He is faithful even when we are faithless. He continues to show love to us, time and time again. His love for us is not contingent on our faithfulness. He simply loves us and desires our faithfulness and love in response to His love. In your notes, write down a prayer of thanksgiving to God. Thank Him and praise Him for His faithful love that pursues.

Going Deeper

Read Hosea 2:21-3:5 (NLT)

“In that day, I will answer,”
    says the Lord.
“I will answer the sky as it pleads for clouds.
    And the sky will answer the earth with rain.
Then the earth will answer the thirsty cries
    of the grain, the grapevines, and the olive trees.
And they in turn will answer,
    ‘Jezreel’—‘God plants!’
At that time I will plant a crop of Israelites
    and raise them for myself.
I will show love
    to those I called ‘Not loved.’
And to those I called ‘Not my people,’
    I will say, ‘Now you are my people.’
And they will reply, ‘You are our God!’”

Then the Lord said to me, “Go and love your wife again, even though she commits adultery with another lover. This will illustrate that the Lord still loves Israel, even though the people have turned to other gods and love to worship them.

So I bought her back for fifteen pieces of silver and five bushels of barley and a measure of wine. Then I said to her, “You must live in my house for many days and stop your prostitution. During this time, you will not have sexual relations with anyone, not even with me.

This shows that Israel will go a long time without a king or prince, and without sacrifices, sacred pillars, priests, or even idols! 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.