The last two months I felt and experienced the "alluring" of God into the wilderness. He has given me much hope and comfort in Hosea 2. My eyes have been opened to my idolatry and the many ways I have rejected my first LOVE. Below is a teaching that I came across that is beautiful, profound, and humbling,
1. (14-15) Abundance and joy restored.
“Therefore, behold, I will allure her, will bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfort to her. I will give her her vineyards from there, and the Valley of Achor as a door of hope; she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, as in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt.”
a. I will allure her . . . speak comfort to her: Once Israel has felt the discomfort of her deprivation, then she will listen to the voice of God once again, and He will allure her back to Himself.
i. Spurgeon on I will allure her: “This is a singular kind of power: ‘I will allure her;’ not, ‘I will drive her’ not even, ‘I will draw her,’ or, ‘I will drag her;’ or, ‘I will force her.’ No, ‘I will allure her.’ It is a very remarkable word, and it teaches us that the allurement of love surpasses in power all other forces. That is how the devil ruins us; he tempts us with honeyed words, sweet utterances, with the baits of pleasure and the like; and the Lord in mercy determines that, in all truthfulness, he will outbid the devil, and he will win us to himself by fascinations, enticements, and allurements which shall be stronger than any force of resistance we may offer. This is a wonderfully precious word: ‘I will allure her.’”
b. The Valley of Achor as a door of hope: Achor means “trouble,” so the Valley of Achor is the “Valley of Trouble.” It was a place of trouble, where Achan’s sin was discovered and judged (Joshua 7:26). God’s restoration is so great that He will transform the “Valley of Trouble” into a door of hope.
c. She shall sing there, as in the days of her youth: When Israel is restored, she will be restored to joy. The passing pleasures of sin are forgotten and the true pleasures of God are restored.
2. (16-20) Relationship restored.
“And it shall be, in that day,” says the Lord, “That you will call Me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer call Me ‘My Master,’ For I will take from her mouth the names of the Baals, and they shall be remembered by their name no more. In that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, with the birds of the air, and with the creeping things of the ground. Bow and sword of battle I will shatter from the earth, to make them lie down safely. I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me In righteousness and justice, In lovingkindness and mercy; I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness, and you shall know the Lord.
a. You will call Me “My Husband”: With great anticipation, God looks forward to the day when relationship is genuinely restored with His people. He wants an intimate love-relationship with His people, and longs for the day when His people will have a marriage-like love and commitment to their God.
b. And not longer call Me “My Master”: God was not satisfied with a fear-based, obedience-focused relationship with His people where they thought of Him primarily as Master. He wanted a relationship where they thought of Him primarily as Husband.
c. I will take from her mouth the names of the Baals: In Hebrew, the name “Baal” comes from the word “Master” and the two words sound alike. It was the Baals, the idols of the nations, that wanted this “master-slave” relationship with man. But not the Lord God; He wants a love-based, commitment-based relationship with His people.
d. Bow and sword of battle I will shatter from the earth: Ultimately, this blessing of restored relationship will result in a transformed earth, changed both ecologically (beasts of the field . . . birds of the air) and politically. This blessing will be fulfilled in the millennial earth, but we can come to know the transforming power of restored relationship right now.
e. I will betroth you to Me forever: When relationship with the Lord is ultimately restored, it will never be broken again. Relationship will be restored on a solid foundation (In righteousness and justice, in lovingkindness and mercy), and will result in deeper and deeper relationship (you shall know the Lord).
3. (21-23) Blessing restored.
“It shall come to pass in that day that I will answer,” says the Lord; “I will answer the heavens, and they shall answer the earth. The earth shall answer with grain, with new wine, and with oil; they shall answer Jezreel. Then I will sow her for Myself in the earth, and I will have mercy on her who had not obtained mercy; then I will say to those who were not My people, ‘You are My people!’ and they shall say, ‘You are my God!’“
a. I will answer: This is great blessing of real, vibrant relationship with God. Our hearts beat in rhythm to His, and so we want what He wants. So when we ask God to do things, we already ask what He wants to do - so He will answer.
i. This is the same principle Jesus taught: If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. (John 15:7)
b. The earth shall answer with grain, with new wine, and with oil: When relationship is where it is supposed to be, God abundantly provides. This is the same principle Jesus taught in Matthew 6:33: But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
c. They shall answer Jezreel: The name “Jezreel” means “Scattered,” and could be used in a negative sense (as in Hosea 1:4-5). But it was also the word used to describe the good scattering of seed, “Sowing.” Here, the Lord promises glorious redemption of the name Jezreel, which was first given as a sober reminder of scattering in judgment. Now it becomes a prophecy of the promise, “I will sow her for Myself in the earth.” God will restore His people to abundance and blessing. Scattering will be transformed into sowing.
d. And I will have mercy on her who had not obtained mercy: Hosea’s second child, a daughter, was named Lo-Ruhamah, meaning “No Mercy” (Hosea 1:6). That name, originally given as a marker of judgment is now transformed into a mark of restoration.
e. Then I will say to those who were not My people, “You are My people!” Hosea’s third child, a son, was named Lo-Ammi, meaning “Not My People” (Hosea 1:9). That name, originally given as a marker of judgment, is now transformed into a mark of restoration.
f. And they shall say, “You are my God!” With this, the restoration is complete. The Lord relates to His people as their God, and His people relate to Him as His people. This is relationship, full of warmth and love, and what God longs for.
i. Think about it: Which one of the pagan gods of the nations ever wanted the love of their followers? Which of them ever asked, “Do you love me?” False gods don’t want our love, they want our fear, our obedience, our slave-like sacrifice and devotion. But the true God, the living God, isn’t satisfied with just our fear, our obedience, or even with our slave-like sacrifice and devotion. He wants our love, freely given and enjoyed in relationship with Him. If we miss this, we miss the heart of God’s work in us and for us.
ii. We see complete restoration. All three of Hosea’s children, named as marks of judgment, now have their names restored and made into marks of mercy, grace, and restoration. God is that good!