Hosea and God’s compassion (@Seeking1st)



What was the religious teaching like at your school? If you had any. A boring constant drip that you learned to ignore? For some people the Christian teaching they received at school put them off Christianity for life. Thankfully, my experience was positive. It was an inspiration – more like refreshing rain that watered seeds of faith. This month #digidisciples are encouraged to contribute a post about the Biblical book of Hosea, one of the books of the prophets. When I read the book of Hosea my mind returns to a particular school classroom and a teacher explaining what the book was about. She taught us that Hosea was about a covenant relationship between two parties – God and a people, something like a marriage. In the covenant relationship between God and God’s people, God remained consistently faithful, even though the people were unfaithful to God and broke the terms of the covenant. The prophet Hosea could see this mirrored in his own marriage and the disloyalty of his wife. Hosea continued to love her and longed for her return to a faithful relationship with him. How much more does God love even those who stab him in the back with their disloyalty and lack of love.

The church is in the Easter season. Easter is a great celebration of God’s love for all people, shown in the death of Christ for the sins of the whole world. Easter is a joyful celebration of the resurrection of Christ that demonstrates that not even humanity’s brutality can kill divine love. This reassures me that however far I may have wandered away from faithfulness to God, however badly I have broken my promises to God, there is a way back. God longs for the wanderer to return home to that relationship of love that heals, refreshes and bring new life.

Throughout the book of Hosea is a recurring call to repentance, a call to return home, to return to faithfulness, to return to love, to return to the Lord whose compassionate love for the wanderer never fails. I will always be grateful for that teacher in my old school who made that lesson live for me and reinforced the message that God is love.

“Come, let us return to the Lord:

for it is he who has torn, and he will heal us;

He has struck down, and he will bind us up.

After two days he will revive us:

on the third day he will raise us up,

that we may live before him.

Let us know, let us press on to know the Lord:

his appearing is as sure as the dawn;

he will come to us like the showers,

like the spring rains that water the earth.”

Hosea 6: 1 – 3 NRSV


At about the same time as I was learning about Hosea in school, the church I attended sometimes sang an 18th century hymn based on those words from Hosea 6: 1 – 3. Here are the words of that hymn, but with 21st century music and beautiful images:

Image Credit: Pixaby, public domain

About Nancy Wallace

Blogs as Seeker (http://nancysblog-seeker.blogspot.co.uk/). Tweets on Twitter as @Seeking1st. Church of England minister and grandmother, struggling to learn to pray, paint and play.