Like Hosea

“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

“And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?” (Matthew 6:25–30 NLT)

In Cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit, Christopher J. H. Wright rightly roots our understanding of faithfulness in God’s treatment of his people: “They knew God could be trusted, because he’d kept every promise he’d ever made. So even when the Israelites were suffering under God’s judgment for their sin, they still came back and appealed to this characteristic of God and pleaded with him to be faithful to his promises of restoration. God would be faithful.”

We worship our God for many reasons: his divinity, his power, his love, his righteousness and justice, his mercy and affection toward us, and countless other reasons, more than the stars that dot the night sky. The one that undergirds all the rest is his faithfulness, for if he were not faithful, we would not be able to trust his love, power, and all the rest were directed toward our best interests. Throughout history, ever since Genesis 1:29–30, when God told the first humans to take notice of all the growing things he had given them and the wild animals as food, we have seen the proof of his unfailing nature and faithfulness toward us.

This is the truth seen throughout Scripture. God is like Hosea the prophet finding his bride, Gomer, returned to her old ways of prostitution, yet taking her back as his own even still. We can trust in God’s faithfulness toward his people, toward us, even when we are not faithful toward him. Even in the midst of our unfaithfulness, God is eternally faithful, keeping his promises to us. This does not mean we will not still suffer the consequences of our unfaithfulness. Just as Israel still suffered the pain, loss, and death of being conquered, a result of their unfaithfulness toward God, so, too, should we expect pain, loss, and possibly even death due to our unfaithfulness.

And yet, there is hope! As Wright says, “God can be trusted, even when hope and faith seem shattered on the rocks of sin and suffering.” Ultimately, God will always be the tree under whose branches we can find shelter, the firm foundation upon which we would build our lives, and the Father into whose arms we run for love and support.

Consider God’s faithfulness toward you. Think back through your life and take not of the various times God proved himself to be faithful. As an act of worship, make it a habit of thanking him for his faithfulness, specifically mentioning these times; by God’s grace, this will become a habit that will help bend your soul a bit more each day, helping you to respond in kind to God’s faithfulness toward you.