Advent Day Twenty-One: Return to the LORD

“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. . . 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)

I have heard young people disavow any affiliation with the God of their parents or grandparents.  They have decided that God does not exist and they are free agents to do as they choose.  While this seems reasonable, just because we do not “believe” a fact does not make it untrue.  God exists, whether you believe in him or not, and there will come a day of accountability.

Hosea was given the unenviable task of marrying a woman who did not love him.  God used his marriage as an allegory of his relationship with Israel.  Though she chased after other gods, he remained faithful to her.

We are given free will and autonomy, but those who have been part of a Christian community through baptism, conversion, or affiliation have received God’s mark on their lives.  “This is a trustworthy saying: If we died with Him, we will also live with Him; if we endure, we will also reign with Him; if we deny Him, He will also deny us; if we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.” (2 Timothy 2:11-13)

“The Hound of Heaven” is a 182-line poem written by English poet Francis Thompson (1859–1907). The meaning is understood. As the hound follows the hare, never ceasing in its running, ever drawing nearer in the chase, with unhurrying and imperturbed pace, so does God follow the fleeing soul by His Divine grace. And though in sin or in human love, away from God it seeks to hide itself, Divine grace follows after, unwearyingly follows ever after, till the soul feels its pressure forcing it to turn to Him alone in that never ending pursuit.” — The Neumann Press Book of Verse, 1988.

All which I took from thee I did but take,

Not for thy harms.

But just that thou might’st seek it in my arms.

All which thy child’s mistake

Fancies as lost, I have stored for thee at home;

Rise, clasp My hand, and come!”

“LORD, thank you for your unrelenting love.  From the day we left the Garden, you have pursued us.  Never give up.”  Amen

Mindi Oaten’s painting “Our Faithful Husband” is from God’s Garden of Grace collection.

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Paul was a preacher and teacher until he retired in 2015. He continues to write and listen to what God is saying to him in the ordinary and extraordinary things of life. Elaine was a public school teacher and administrator until she retired in 2018. She is using her retirement to reflect on God's work in her life and to share insights with her family and friends.

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