According to our Bible Dictionary, Hosea was the only prophet in the Old Testament from the northern kingdom that left written prophecies (1). He lived during a time of great societal decline, not unlike ours perhaps. Yet his entire message seemed centered around the strength of God’s love for His people, inspite of their pagan and wicked activities.
Throughout Hosea’s chapters, he teaches of the Lord’s patience for Israel:
“For I will take away the names of Baalim out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name.
“And in that day will I make a covenant for them….I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely.
“And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies….
“And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God” (Hosea 2:17-19, 23) (emphasis added).
Our youth need to understand the beauty of the Lord’s love for them. They need to understand the Lord’s willingness to forgive and forget. This graciousness on His part will always come if and when our youth turn to Him in righteousness.
Notice the Lord does NOT say, “in perfectness.” No, instead the request is “in righteousness.”
When we look up the definition of “righteous”, we can read that this refers to living in a moral or virtuous way.
Thus we see, the Lord does not expect perfection (although that is an eventual goal); for now He simply requires that we set aside the things of this world (which destroy us, anyways) and seek a virtuous lifestyle – which is essentially what Jesus Christ modeled for us while here on this earth.
What are you doing to teach your youth this very thing? It’s something which has been on my mind for a time and I’d love to hear your thoughts. If Hosea could preach of God’s love during the wicked time in which he lived, we certainly can do the same.
Here are some simple suggestions. We can:
- Obtain a testimony of this ourselves.
- Notice examples of the Lord’s gentleness as we go throughout the year, either in the scriptures or in our personal lives. We can point them out and use the examples in our lessons.
- Lead our youth in research activities in the scriptures, specifically asking them to find examples of the Lord’s loving kindness, inspite of the people’s wicked choices.
- Have our students show each other examples in the scriptures of how quickly the Lord turns to His people when the people turn to Him.
We can be as Hosea for our youth–steady voices of truth, proclaiming God’s love for His children. We must do this, for who else will? May the Lord bless us to have the strength to do this, in wisdom and truth.
(1) Bible Dictionary, p. 705.