"Come, let us return to the LORD For He has torn us, but He will heal us; He has wounded us, but He will bandage us.Hosea 6:1(NASB)
What a long-suffering and gracious God we have.
God rebuked the people of Israel for their apostasy and idolatry, pronouncing a severe judgement upon them and causing Amos the prophet to mourn that His people were destroyed for lack of knowledge of the God of Israel, while bewailing their disinterest in the God of their salvation. And yet the stark and serious warning broke into a comforting song of hope, that one day God would return, revive and restore His erring nation and pour out His blessings upon them like dew onto a parched desert, or as spring showers over a dry and dusty land.
God knows that disobedient Israel will one day return to His open arms of love, for they are like a flock of straying sheep without a shepherd and the wounds and pain that have been inflicted due to centuries of idolatry and apostasy will be over, when they acknowledge Jesus as Lord. And He will bind up their wounds with His soothing ointment and He will anoint their nation with the oil of gladness, when they call on the name of the Lord and recognise their God and Saviour – for then they look upon Him Whom they have pierced.
His dealings with Israel is a great comfort to all God’s children, for we know that despite the times when we also wander away from the Lord; getting swept into worldly ways or adopting a careless attitude, His initial response may well be discipline or chastisement, but He is also long-suffering towards us, even when we stray from His path of righteousness and follow our own foolish ways.
What a long-suffering and gracious God we have – for as He has dealt in grace toward His erring nation, so He will deal with Christians who have wandered far from His outstretched arms of love or when faith wears thin and life seems too much to bear.
No matter how far any of us have strayed, His promises to the church are as sure and His promises to Israel. His chastening rod may hurt or wound us, but His promise of grace will help and heal.
Loving Father, Your promises are true for You have remained faithful to the people of Israel and You will remain faithful to all Your children, who trust in the Lord as Saviour, for which we give You eternal thanks and praise in Jesus name I pray, AMEN.