To Start All Over Again

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“And now, here’s what I am going to do:
I’m going to start all over again.
I’m taking her back out into the wilderness
where we had our first date, and I’ll court her.
I’ll give her bouquets of roses…

And then I’ll marry you for good—forever!
I’ll marry you true and proper, in love and tenderness.
Yes, I’ll marry you and neither leave you nor let you go.
You’ll know me, GOD, for who I really am.”

    From Hosea 2, The Message, The Bible In Contemporary Language

The young woman, engaged to be married soon, had questions about salvation and eternal life.  She addressed the pastor, the teacher at our house church,   “Is it true?  All I need to do is accept Jesus as my Savior?  Ask him into my heart?  Is it that simple?”

The wise, discerning teacher gazed at her kindly and said, “Yes and no.   It is more like getting married.   You make a commitment to follow Jesus. ”

The story of the nation of Israel, as told by Hosea, is the story of a bride who was unfaithful, who left God, her husband, for other gods.   God can’t live without her and chooses to heal her wayward ways and then re-marry her.  This metaphor is the salvation story.  All of us have forsaken God for other gods.  We can’t receive His healing and forgiveness, freely given in the death and resurrection of His only Son, Jesus Christ, until we admit our wayward behavior and confess our need.   Then we can commit ourselves to the God who wants to marry us true and proper, in love and tenderness.  The God who wants to be known for who He really is.

What is true for us in our relationship with the One and Only Living God is also true for us in our human marriages.  God woos us, courts us, pursues us, all to win us back.   After betrayal of any sort in our marriages, the way of starting over will require humility, confession, healing and forgiveness.   Courtship, dating and roses will be important.   How can we do any less for our spouse, when the Creator of the Universe has gone to such lavish, extravagant measures to win us back and secure our  love and commitment.

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