“He has torn us, but He will heal us”  Hosea vi:1

One of the saddest stories that will ever be told is the story of a beloved who was mauled and torn apart by her lover. The beloved in this case is the nation of Israel that proceeded from one man, Abraham, who was handpicked from all of humanity to serve the living God.  Her Lover, of course, is God Almighty who entered into a solemn covenant with a nation that wasn’t impressive in strength or other merits.

Israel was never steady in her relationship with her Maker. She would draw near to God in the days of her adversity and wander away after new distractions at every given opportunity. Like an unfaithful wife who squandered the gifts of her husband on dozens of paramours, Israel took her blessings of grain, fruit and wine to idols on every hilltop altar.

Occasional punishments brought Israel back to God. She pleaded for mercy and forgiveness. And her Husband was quick to forgive and forget her transgressions. This time, however, she had gone too far. Therefore, God, as He had proclaimed earlier through various prophets, tore Israel apart. The tribes in the northern kingdom were banished from her inheritance.

Yet, there was hope during the declaration of punishment; there was a chance to return. Those who wished to return to God could always ‘bring words‘ to God in repentance and confession. “Come, let us return to the LORD. ”  Yet this time, God expected more than just a ‘regular’ repentance. He knew that Israel’s loyalty towards Him was “like a morning cloud and like the dew which goes away early.” Her repentance wouldn’t last long. Therefore, God expected a true and lasting repentance from His covenant people.

The result of such a wholehearted return to God is healing and restoration. “For He has torn us, but He will heal us; He has wounded us, but He will bandage us.” There is no pit deep enough to take us out of God’s reach. There is no devastation that He cannot set right and renew. With God, there is always hope. He is the God of new beginnings. Come, let us return to the LORD.

A Call To Return
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