The Return

She will go after her lovers, but she won’t catch up with them; she will seek them, but she won’t find them.  Then she will say, “I will return to my first husband, for I had it better then than now.”
  -Hosea 2:7

God doesn't forget you when you forget Him.  God doesn't stop caring when you do.  If we make a promise to God and can't keep it, God still honors that promise, even though we don't.

When a person goes wayward, becomes a prodigal, breaks their vows to God, and becomes a spiritual adulterer; God still loves them and cares for them and has plans to restore them.  That is the message of the book of Hosea.  God is merciful.  Our holy almighty God is merciful.

God knows that a life of sin, living away from God's cleansing power, living a cross-less life, without ongoing transformation and fellowship with God; God knows that life will not satisfy his child.

In the midst of rebellion and disobedience, God sees that a time will come when the person will come to their senses and set about returning to God.  God does not make them think this, but God engineers circumstances to help the person see their way back to Him.

The verse above is a snap-shot of a much more involved story.  I imagine that Gomer felt a profound lack of mutual love from her other lovers that did not satisfy her longing to belong and be held in relationship.  Like many people, Gomer may have been a person who had issues of life that needed healing and her way was always to act out and do things to get attention, rather than let herself be loved and cared for.  God starts a relationship with people where they are.  You don't need to get it together when God comes to you, but just accept the invitation.

That is the way it was with Gomer and it is with everyone.  God reaches out to a person living in sin and takes us just as we are, to live with him.  But sometimes, we return to that same sin life.  But something is now different.  We belong to God, but we are walking away from God and not in God's ways.

What we learn from Hosea is that when this happens, God goes to work.  God watches over the person who is actually a spiritual adulterer.  God cares and brings care into the person's life.  But God also allows pain and dissatisfaction to come into that person's life.  In God's mercy, God allows the person to suffer pain or heartbreak.  What a person gets themselves into will bring heartbreak and will not satisfy.  The key is that God is watching and waiting.  While we are still far from God as far as intimate connection, God is watching us.  The moment we change our mind, God sees that and comes running to meet us (Luke 15:17-20).

All God wants is our change of mind, then he will help us change our ways.  There are people in this place right now, who are going to return to God.