Grace In The Midst Of Infidelity
By Shawn Tomlin
One of the most damaging things we can do to a relationship is commit adultery on a spouse. What happens, in essence, is we turn our back on the only one who loves us deeply, to run after pleasure, excitement, something new, etc. We place our affections on what we shouldn’t and then leave behind what we have promised to keep. That doesn’t always have to be the end though. Reconciliation can happen. When it comes to a husband and wife trying to reconcile after an affair, their efforts are tainted with sin, but when God wills to reconcile his people to himself, Nothing they do you can stop it.
The whole book of Hosea deals with adultery, basically. In the sense of Hosea and his wife Gomer, it was literal adultery, but also spiritual adultery committed by Israel toward God, A.k.a. Idolatry.
As the book progresses Hosea prophesies against Israel and says that Israel will be punished for turning from God, the one true God who brought them out of the land of Egypt, and ran to and worshipped Baal and other false gods. God upheld his justice, he must, for he is a just God and sin must be punished. My focus here is going to be God’s grace in the midst of Israel’s (and ultimately all of our) infidelity.
According to John Calvin’s commentary on Hosea chapter 2 verse 14 we see that after suffering in affliction, God will draw them into the wilderness and speak kindly to them. In chapter 2:15, 21-23 Hosea says that Israel will experience God’s goodness, even after all of their infidelity. God also promises to give his people all they need once they are reconciled to him. Let us all remember that when we experience true happiness, it’s not because of anything that we did, but it starts with God adopting us as his own.
Now in chapter 5 verse 15 we see God relent of his judgment and simply wait patiently for Israel to repent of their sin of idolatry. Let’s not understand this as a God who is sitting, hoping that Israel will repent, but as a God who waits because he is sovereign and his will must be accomplished. His people WILL be reconciled to himself. Chapter 11 backs this up understanding of God. This chapter is so beautiful and speaks of God‘s tender compassion on his people, even in the midst of their infidelity. Despite their sin, God’s election is more powerful. There is hope beyond judgment. Lastly, chapter 14, in the midst of Israel’s lawlessness, God urges them, through Hosea, to repent. Words of confession and obedience please God more than sacrifices of which they “do” and do so half heartedly.
As Christians reading the prophet Hosea, we can see glimpses into how God would ultimately reconcile his people to himself. In chapter 14:4 it says, “ I will heal their apostasy; I will love them freely, for my anger has turned from them.” For those of us in Christ, God has healed our brokenness, pours out his steadfast love on us, only by pouring out his wrath on his son, Jesus Christ. As I said at the beginning, God is just and must punish sin. So instead of simply killing us, which we deserve, he pours out the punishment we deserve on his son, and in that atonement he reconciles us to himself. God pours out his grace in the midst of our infidelity.
“For those of us in Christ, God has healed our brokenness, pours out His steadfast love on us, only by pouring out His wrath on His Son, Jesus Christ”