Return

“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.” (Hosea 11:8)

 There s good news for those of us who know the Lord, but find ourselves struggling: Your God loves us! And he will not let us go. Yes, he is holy. Yes, his Spirit grieves over our sin. But he loves us, and longs to heal and comfort us if we will only return to him. He does not hate us, nor is he waiting for the chance to “get” us. Oh no, quite the contrary; he is waiting, even yearning to have compassion on us and restore us to himself.

 “Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces;now he will heal us. He has injured us;
  now he will bandage our wounds. In just a short time he will restore us,
    so that we may live in his presence.
Oh, that we might know the Lord!
    Let us press on to know him.
He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn
    or the coming of rains in early spring.” (Hosea 6: 1-3)

Although the Father does discipline his children, those whom he loves; it is for our good that he does so. It is his love that tears and breaks so that we might see our need and return to the One who waits from on high to have compassion upon us. As surely as the sun comes up in the morning, we can be certain of his kind intentions towards us in Christ.

 “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.

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.” (Hosea 14: 1, 2; 4-6)

We may have been faithless. But he is faithful. We may be dry and all but withered. But he will refresh us and cause us to blossom once again. His love for us knows no bounds. It is he that has saved us and called us by name. He has not forsaken us though we may have wandered from him. Come now; let our broken hearts drive us to him. Don’t run away in fear. There is One who has born our sin, and poured himself out that we might receive mercy and know the love of God. This is the One who lives that we also may live, free from the sin that has beset us. He offers forgiveness, healing and restoration.

 “Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of love. Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and shower righteousness upon you.” (Hosea 10: 12)

 

 

 

 

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Love Song (Singing The Song of Solomon)

“I slept, but my heart was awake, I heard my lover knocking and calling: ‘Open to me, my treasure, my darling, my dove, my perfect one. My head is drenched with dew, my hair with the dampness of the night.’ But I responded, ‘I have taken off my robe. Should I get dressed again? I have washed my feet. Should I get them soiled?’” (Song of Solomon 5:1-3)

Reading this, I couldn’t help but think of how often I respond to Jesus as Solomon’s bride did to him. How many times have I sensed the wooing of God’s Spirit, “Come, seek My face. Come and be with Me.” and failed to yield to his loving call. We can be so easily distracted by things, even good things, that we fail to remember that the most important thing of all is, “My beloved is mine, and I am his.”

How much we forfeit by busying ourselves with the lesser things, forgetting to choose the better part that is only found at the feet of Him whose “love is better than wine.” Who can compare to the Lord? Who else can but speak our names and the very love of God floods our hearts as His Spirit brings grace and mercy, restoring our strength with a mere whisper? “The voice of my beloved! Behold, he comes…” I will wait for the Lord, for He will gladly sustain me with His word, words sweeter than honey, piercing my very soul. “Let me see your face, let me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely.”

Because Your loving-kindness is better than life, my lips will praise You and I will bless you, lifting up my hands in Your name! I will sing to you O God for you are everything to me. “I am my beloved’s, and his desire is for me.” How can it be that You my Lord would love such a one as me? “Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm…”

“I will seek him whom my soul loves. Draw me after you and let us run together! The king has brought me into his chambers.”