Saturday, November 2, 2013

Hosea 1-7 Learning Grace by Doing It


Hos 6:1-3 Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence. Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth."

The Lord told Hosea to remarry Gomer, an adulterous wife who left home for other men. It was through Hosea's experience of brokenness and pain that God spoke through him. Spiritual truths are not learned by studying but through painful life experiences. All the Bible studies will teach us nothing except when we are put through the fire of affliction. So, Hosea learned the truth about how spiritual adultery of Judah affects the Lord by experiencing the pain himself through Gomer's unfaithfulness.

But that's only the negative side of the truth. Hosea has to learn another lesson through his experience--the meaning of grace. Hosea did not learn grace by sitting and listening to a lecture in an air-conditioned auditorium. He learned grace by practising it. He paid a substantial amount of money to redeem Gomer back from her slavery to prostitution. It would be easy for Hosea to forget about his wife and it would be right for him to do it. But Hosea has to practise grace by not only forgiving her but buying her back. But it was only through this painful episode that Hosea understood grace and therefore qualified to preach grace.

There is no easy way to learn truth. Some Christians want to experience God's grace only for themselves, but quite unwilling to show grace to others who are undeserving. We are not qualified to talk about grace or preach grace until we have shown the same grace to others. And showing grace is often costly. To show grace God has to sacrifice His Son on the Cross. Grace is never cheap, and we will never fully understand it until we have to do the same to someone else who is totally undeserving.

Hosea 6:1-3 tell us that the Lord will inflict upon us pain just so that we might experience His healing grace: "Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds."  Trials are necessary in order that we may learn the true meaning of grace. We experience grace as we witness God's healing and restoration of broken people.

Father, teach us the truth about grace, not just the facts. Help us walk in it, not just talk about it. Amen.

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