Stubborn as a Mule

Bible Reading: Hosea 4; 5; 6; 7; 8; 9

Just as Hosea's heart continues to be broken over the infidelity of his wife, God continues his lament over Israel's "spirit of prostitution." We can feel the pain of rejection in his words, "I am like a moth to Ephraim [Israel], like rot to the people of Judah" (5:12). "What can I do with you, Ephraim? What can I do with you, Judah? Your love is like the morning mist, like the early dew that disappears" (6:4). God longs to show tenderness to his people, but they callously resist him. "The people of Israel are as stubborn as mules. How can I feed them like lambs in a meadow?" (4:16 TEV). Though wounded by their betrayal and stubbornness, God's passion for them never diminishes. "I long to redeem them but they speak lies against me. They do not cry out to me from their hearts but wail upon their beds. They... turn away from me. I trained them and strengthened them, but they plot evil against me" (7:13-15).

"Come, let us return to the Lord! He has torn us in pieces; now he will heal us. He has injured us; now he will bandage our wounds. In just a short time, he will restore us so we can live in his presence. Oh, that we might know the Lord! Let us press on to know him! Then he will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring" (6:1-3 NLT).

Even after the Lord has corrected us, when we return to him and pursue getting to know him, he will heal us, bind up our wounds, restore us and respond to us. He is like a faithful, loving husband (except that he is always perfect!) who anxiously waits to hear us say, "I'm sorry I hurt you! I love you!", and to return home to him. We don't have to worry whether God will let us come home or not. "As surely as the sun rises" (that's a pretty sure thing!), he will be there, waiting to show us his love, heal our hurts, and restore our relationship with him. "The Lord's love never ends; his mercies never stop. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness" (Lamentations 3:22-23 NCV/NIV).

Lord, melt my stubbornness. I want to follow you and be cared by you like a lamb, yet sometimes I resist you like a stubborn mule. Show me the areas of my stubbornness; break down my resistance and pride. I know I must break your heart when I misinterpret or disregard your love language to me. Reveal my misconceptions about you so I can learn to confidently trust you. Oh, that I might know you, Lord! I will press on to know you! As you train and strengthen me, let me grow in wisdom and spiritual strength. Let me be sitrred by your tender mercies every morning. As you woo my heart to yours, may I find comfort and peace at the sound of your voice and respond with a love that endures.