“Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
and bring her into the wilderness,
and speak tenderly to her.
And there I will give her her vineyards
and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.
And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth,
as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt.
“And in that day, declares the Lord, you will call me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer ‘My Baal.’ For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be remembered by name no more. And I will make for them a covenant on that day… And I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land, and I will make you lie down in safety. 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 2:14-20
The alluring promises of our Lord woo even the hardest, most resistant hearts. What stubborn rebel is not moved by tender words? What forlorn or betrayed soul is not quickened by a Sovereign-backed pledge of faithfulness, safety, and hope in the valley? What reckless sinner is not softened by unmerited mercy? God reaches His beloveds with a strong, steadfast love that is both unimaginable and irresistible.
This is an amazing love promise only He can offer, and back. Man is too fickle, too weak, too capricious, to be faithful forever and perfectly love. We are too selfish to give the full vineyard, too bereft to guarantee an eternal dowry. It is only a perfect Father who can know and disarm the erring prodigal child, only a unique Deity who can vanquish all lesser gods.
What are we to make of this sure hope and intimate knowing He pledges? What need we eschew to accept His proposal? Why do we dance around His invitations, and flirt with false lovers? Sometimes we are unwilling to release the control we think we have over idols of our own making. Sometimes we’re consumed with our unworthiness instead of relying on Christ’s worthiness. Sometimes we can’t shake a shameful identity we loathe, to take on His new name.
But our Lord woos us still, longing to enfold us in His grace and favor. The great Redeemer is the true Lover of our souls.
“Jesus, lover of my soul,
let me to thy bosom fly,
while the nearer waters roll,
while the tempest still is high;
hide me, O my Savior, hide,
till the storm of life is past;
safe into the haven guide,
O receive my soul at last!
Other refuge have I none;
hangs my helpless soul on thee;
leave, ah! leave me not alone,
still support and comfort me.
All my trust on thee is stayed,
all my help from thee I bring;
cover my defenseless head
with the shadow of thy wing.
Plenteous grace with thee is found,
grace to cover all my sin;
let the healing streams abound;
make and keep me pure within.
Thou of life the fountain art;
freely let me take of thee;
spring thou up within my heart,
rise to all eternity.” ~Charles Wesley (1740)
Faithful God, forgive my unfaithfulness. May I, as Your beloved, honor Your name forever. (Song of Solomon 6:3)