“Therefore I am now going to allure her;
I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her.”
Hosea 2:14 (NIV)
“There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. There she will respond as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt…I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the Lord.” Hosea 2:15, 19-20 (NIV)
Time after time God’s people wandered into spiritual adultery—and God went after the nation to win her back to Himself. Many times in Scripture God is shown as the Divine Lover of His covenant people. Tragically He has to go out again and again to seek them out and, in love, draw them to Himself once more.
There is a frightening truth in Scripture (eg. Isaiah 50:1; Jeremiah 3:8) where we read that God finally divorced the nation Israel after many, many efforts to call her back to Himself. Lovingly the Lord urged the nation to forsake her other gods but she stubbornly refused to return to the Lord.
The truth that is so profound yet frightening is that while God’s grace is greater than any person’s sin, His patience is not. God shall graciously forgive any repentant sinner but He will not pursue the wayward forever.
Back in the 1960’s I visited a man in a senior’s residence. As a child and young man he had sat under the preaching of Canada’s most gifted minister of the time, Dr. T.T. Shields. Many times the great preacher was a guest for dinner in his home as he grew up. As a young man he knew the Gospel backwards. The Divine Lover had often stirred his heart to turn from his sin but he did not.
I visited him various times in his final years in this world. I urgently pled with him to turn to Jesus but he would not. The last time I visited him his room reeked of alcohol. He had an empty rum bottle in his hand.
When he saw me entering the room he burst into tears and wept bitterly. He sobbed over and over, “I can’t, I can’t”. How my heart ached for the man. Apparently he had experienced what we read of in Romans 1:24,26,28 (NIV)
“Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts…
Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts…
so God gave them over to a depraved mind…”
Apparently the Divine Lover had now become his Divine Judge. However, I assured him of God’s grace and pled with him to try to turn, to seek to repent and believe. After some time I realized I had to leave. I never saw him alive again. It was not my place to say God had given him up. My work was to plead with him to turn to a merciful God. Never give up on one who has long rejected the Lord. Urge them to turn and embrace Jesus. Speak to them as long as they will listen. God may yet prove to be the Divine Lover.