April 6 – Devotion

Date: April 6

Scripture: Hosea 1—2

Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
and bring her into the wilderness,
and speak tenderly to her . . .

And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the Lord.
(Hosea 2:14,19-20, ESV).

Refreshing. Prosperous. Beautiful.
I know without a doubt that those are the first words that come into your mind when someone says wilderness, right? Actually, Merriam-Webster defines wilderness as “a tract or region uncultivated and uninhabited by human beings; an empty or pathless area or region; a confusing multitude or mass; an indefinitely great number or quantity; a bewildering situation.” We assume that a wilderness is a place of lacking and wanting, where travelers are unable to obtain whatever it is we are seeking. We think of it as a place of starvation, a place of dissatisfaction, a place of death. Throughout Numbers we watch the Israelites as they are banished into the wilderness and wander there for 40 years because of their disobedience. We watch them grumble their way through it. The wilderness is also where we find God calling the Israelites again here in Hosea.

Hosea’s story is a love story that teaches lessons about God’s relationship with his children. It is a story as relevant to human beings in any era. In our time, Hollywood makes a lot of love stories and tries to make those love stories so much more intriguing by throwing a wrench into the stories. This twist makes us applaud ever louder when our favorite couple on the silver screen ends up together against all odds. The Lord certainly threw a wrench into Hosea’s story. He commanded Hosea, “Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the Lord” (Hosea 1:2, ESV).

Hosea takes a woman named Gomer to be his wife: an unfaithful, adulterous woman. Why would God want this? Because this picture of a steadfast Hosea and a rebellious wife is mirroring who we are in our relationship with God. He is the forgiving, gracious, steadfast God, and we are the rebellious, adulterous, forgetful people. Author Paul David Tripp calls us “identity amnesiacs.” We forget who God is. We forget that we are “God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved” (Col. 3:12, ESV). We forget that “You [we] are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Pet. 2:9). Because of this amnesia, we fall into a lifestyle of everything God does NOT want for us. Lies are easy to believe when you forget the truth. That’s where we find the Israelites: forgetting the goodness and provision of God, disobeying Him, rebelling, and consequently, being destroyed and scattered.

Aren’t you so glad the story doesn’t end there? “And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the Lord” (Hosea 2:19-20). A wilderness? God’s going to speak tenderly to me in a wilderness?

Oh, beloved, yes. Only in the wilderness can He be with us alone. Only in the wilderness can we learn true dependence on the only One we really need. Only in the wilderness can we find the restoration our hearts truly desire. Why is that? Because the only thing we have in the wilderness is Him, Jesus the One and Only. Our God has no intentions of leaving us there. If you find yourself in the wilderness of life right now, please know God finds no joy in your pain or in your grief. “Behold, I am doing a new thing;/now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?/I will make a way in the wilderness/and rivers in the desert” (Isa. 43:19). He desires to do something new in you. I know this place of wilderness is brutal. Our God has a funny way, though, of making bitter things sweet. Let Him speak into this dark time for you. Let Him breathe life into you. Let Him call darkness out of you with His incredible light.

In this Lenten season, what sins do you need to repent of while He has you in this wilderness? Ask God to reveal those to you. He doesn’t reveal our sins to make us guilty, but to make us holy through His blood. He is a God of second, third, and twelfth chances! Just come and lay them at His feet. What do you think it is He wants to show you? Take a minute to thank God that He loves us enough to give us grace right where we are, but loves us too much to leave us unchanged! Because in the wilderness, the Lord will change your heart, molding it ever so slightly to look like His. What an incredible honor! May you come to find your wilderness as refreshing, prosperous, and beautiful.

Prayer: God, I may not understand or like this wilderness in which You’ve placed me, but help me to trust You. Thank You that You want to mold me to be more like Jesus a little more every day! Do something new in me!

Prepared by: Marlie Lawrence


4 Responses to “April 6 – Devotion”

  1. Daphne McLaurin says:

    Great wisdom. Thanks very much.

  2. Vicki Williams says:

    Amen!

  3. Bob Mohr says:

    Thank you! Still looking and listening for answers.

  4. Debbie Keen says:

    Thank you, Marlie, for this beautiful perspective of the wilderness from Hosea! Moving and instructive devotion!

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