Fresh Start

“And now, here’s what I’m going to do:
I’m going to start all over again.
I’m taking her back out into the wilderness
where we had our first date, and I’ll court her.
I’ll give her bouquets of roses.
I’ll turn Heartbreak Valley into Acres of Hope.
She’ll respond like she did as a young girl,
those days when she was fresh out of Egypt.
“At that time”—this is God’s Message still—
“you’ll address me, ‘Dear husband!’
Never again will you address me,
‘My slave-master!’
I’ll wash your mouth out with soap,
get rid of all the dirty false-god names,
not so much as a whisper of those names again.
At the same time I’ll make a peace treaty between you
and wild animals and birds and reptiles,
And get rid of all weapons of war.
Think of it! Safe from beasts and bullies!
And then I’ll marry you for good—forever!
I’ll marry you true and proper, in love and tenderness.
Yes, I’ll marry you and neither leave you nor let you go.
You’ll know me, God, for who I really am.
“On the very same day, I’ll answer”—this is God’s Message—
“I’ll answer the sky, sky will answer earth,
Earth will answer grain and wine and olive oil,
and they’ll all answer Jezreel.
I’ll plant her in the good earth.
I’ll have mercy on No-Mercy.
I’ll say to Nobody, ‘You’re my dear Somebody,’
and he’ll say ‘You’re my God!’ ” (Hosea 2:14-23)

God wants to rekindle the spark that had gone out of their relationship. Despite the infidelity, the other gods and goddesses, God was willing to make a fresh start of it. He intended to sweep Israel off her feet once more, just as he had once done years before in those heady days when he rescued them from the slave masters of Egypt.

“Jezreel” in Hebrew means, “God sows.” It was the place where Jehu slew the priests, prophets and followers of the false god, Baal. Israel would finally and completely turn to God and away from all their make-believe false gods, with their false promises and empty words who had done nothing for them but taken their faith, their hope, and their money, leaving them destitute and alone, with nothing.

Hosea’s relationship with his wife Gomer served as the picture of what was going on between God and Israel. The initial joy in Hosea’s relationship with Gomer was long gone; she had spent all her time with other men. She had gone back to her old prostitute ways. But Hosea still loved her and was willing to take her back. He wanted to forgive her betrayal and infidelity because she meant more to him than his own feelings. Hosea’s life became a picture of what God had suffered from his people, and what he wanted to do for his people, the Israelites. Hosea forgave Gomer’s adultery. God forgave Israel’s idolatry. They meant more than the pain they had caused.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm a deacon at Quartz Hill Community Church. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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