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Summary: Renewal, Restoration, Retrieval – the attitude is so important. It’s done in love- not reluctance. It’s done with mercy – not judgment. It’s goal is restoration – not conviction. It’s done with risk – not with guarded defensiveness.

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Covenant Connections:

A Covenant of Love ~ Love Returned

Scripture Text: Hosea 3.1-5

INTRODUCTION

I think it’s important to study and investigate and probe the deep-questions of life; …but I-also-know that a person can get lost-in-the-questions! It’s-kinda-like pulling out an atlas, …while you’re driving down the highway, …and holding the map up in front of your eyes to get a sense of where-you-are and where-you’re-goin’; …but, in the process of looking-at-the-map, …you’re blocking your-view-of-the-road! You can look intently-at-the-map, …studying its features and the land-marks, …wondering why the road takes that-kinda-turn, instead of going a different-direction ~ …you can become so-engrossed-in-the-map that you end-up in the ditch because you forgot to pay-attention to the actual road!

I have high-regard for study; …I’m comfortable in the world-of-ideas. But, it’s gotta-be-aimed-at living-faithfully according to kingdom-of-God ~ …following in the footsteps of Jesus, …living-out the two-great- commandments: …to-love-God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength; …and loving my neighbor as myself. You can have your head-in-the-clouds, …your nose in a book, …your home can be in an “ivory tower” ~ …and end-up crashing-and-burning in the ditch because you weren’t paying attention to the road you’re traveling upon!

TRANSITION

Which brings us to Hosea! We can talk day-and-night about the idea that God is love. But Hosea realized that when-it-comes-down-to-it, …we are not adherents to a set of ideas. We are followers of the Lord God ~ …and that means that our very lives and the choices we make, …and the decisions that get fleshed-out in our relationships, …our life-and-living will be absolutely-shaped by the God who calls us His “people”! Hosea’s most profound sermons come not-from his lips; …and they are not preached from a pulpit. But, Hosea’s most-profound sermons come from his life and his daily-choices!

St. Francis of Assissi famously-said: “Preach the gospel at all times; when necessary, use words.” What do you think Francis meant by-that!?!

He meant that our lives: …relationships, …conversations, …habits, …practices, …dreams and pursuits ~ …our lives are the most-effective sermons!

Hosea lived the message that God placed on his heart. He didn’t-just talk-about God’s love ~ …that it’s a faithful-love, …and unending-love, …that God’s-love is a long-suffering and merciful and forgiving. He didn’t-just-talk about these ideas; …But, Hosea lived-this message …in how-he-lived his-life.

Do you remember Hosea’s life and circumstances? God told him to marry a flirtatious – maybe-even promiscuous woman. Her name was Gomer. And for a time, things seemed-to-be o.k. But, Gomer started goin’-back to her old-ways. She started steppin’-out on Hosea. And the result was a lot of pain, …and hurt, …and brokenness. And-eventually, Gomer left Hosea. Left her husband. Left her three small children. She got-outta-Dodge!

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