Summary: God is waiting to love us......and his love creates a new heart in us.
Some of you may know of Fiona Coote.
At the age of 14 she became youngest heart transplant recipeant in Australia.
However Fiona has another claim to faim,
She has received not just one heart transplant but 3.
On 3 occasions she has been given a chance to live.
On 3 occasions she has been given a new heart.
And the song we heard earlier, “The heart of worship”
Was the result of Matt Redman a worship leader with a contemporary Christian church
Heart being changed by God.
Instead of the sound system, and band.
The church Redman was a worship leader of, had become to realize that church, worship and life
was not about what they wanted.
What pleased them.
What they liked.
Rather it is about God.
Now this change of heart came about because of them listening to God.
Hearing what God had to say through the scriptures.
And this is the message that each of us need to remember and reflect on.
At times we need a change of heart.
A heart that is open to hearing and receiving God’s message.
And today’s Old Testament reading from Hosea gives us an insight into what it means to have a new heart.
A heart changed by God.
To understand our reading from Hosea we need the broader picture.
Hosea is a minor prophet.
Hosea is a love story,
but a love story with a twist.
God instructs the prophet Hosea to marry a prostitute.
Listen to Hosea 1:2
When the Lord began to speak through Hosea, the Lord said to him, "Go, take to yourself an adulterous wife and children of unfaithfulness, because the land is guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the Lord."
Now parents would you recommend that to your children.
But this is exactly what God said.
And not only that.
Hosea was to remain faithful to her no matter what?
And Hosea does exactly that.
He goes and finds a lady called Gomer.
Now fellas does a women with the name Gomer sound like the woman of your dreams?
Gomer bears his children.
But then she has affairs.
She continues her adulterous lifestyle.
She is stubborn.
She does what she wants.
Her life is all about her and what she enjoys.
And not only this…
She does what most of us would be upset with.
Not only does she desert her husband
She deserts her children.
So she can continue pleasing herself.
But Hosea continues showing his love for her.
No matter what she does Hosea remains faithful and loves her.
He goes after her.
He never gives us, never stops loving her.
This happens not just once but numerous times.
Hosea never gives up,
even though Gomer continues to remain stubborn
and live life in a way that suits her regardless of the consequences to others.
Gomer even gets herself into the predicament of being a slave.
But Hosea doesn’t leave her there.
He spends a small fortune to buy her out of slavery.
By this stage she is not an attractive woman.
She is toothless, beaten and abused.
She has scars physically and emotionally.
And even knowing this Hosea is determined to love her.
But this story is not just about Hosea and Gomer
God uses Hosea’s life to demonstrate to Israel that despite their frequent straying from God
their constant stubbornness
that he is always willing to love them.
And this story is also a message to us
About how God is always willing to love us,
not matter what has happened and not matter what we have done.
No matter what happens.
God is constantly waiting to forgive us, to give us a new life.
Not to force His forgiveness on us.
But waiting for us to return to him.
Listen again to Hosea chapter 5 verse 15.
Then I will go back to my place until they admit their guilt. And they will seek my face; in their misery they will earnestly seek me.
God is waiting for each of us to return to Him,
So He can show His love to us.
Now it is important to understand something about returning to God.
Often we think it is a one off event.
Something we do once or twice in a life time.
And there maybe some times in our lives when we make a major return to God.
However everyday when I pray and place myself before God
I realise that I need to return to God daily.
Not just once or twice in my life, but everyday.
Everyday we stray from God.
It may not be physical, but in our minds.
Like when we want revenge,
or think in ways that are not consistent with God’s approach to life.
And when we do…
We get to experience God’s love.