There’s good news and there’s bad news. How often we hear that! I remember hearing of a group of missionaries who had been given orders to leave the country in which they were working. Their leader was going daily to negotiate with the interior ministry. Every day when he returned, he would say, “There’s good news and there’s bad news. The bad news is that the order has not been lifted. The good news is that God is still on the throne.”
The word of the Lord that came to Hosea is bad news and good news. The bad news is that God is angry at his people’s sin – their continual spiritual adultery and idolatry. Like an unfaithful wife, they have abandoned the One who loved them and rescued them and guided them and provided for them. They have got into bed with other gods. God’s disappointment at their unfaithfulness and his holy and settled judgment on them is clearly spelled out. It’s a frightening prospect.
The good news is that He has not abandoned his promises. He is faithful. He will finally act to reverse the curse that they have brought on themselves and bring all his people safely home. It will be purely an act of his grace and mercy.
This is the message God gave through Hosea 2750 years ago.
God has not changed. He’s still the same. Sin is still as serious as it ever was – it still invites his wrath and judgment. And the Word of God that comes to us, the gospel, is still good news and bad news. The bad news is that we are all people who have deeply offended God and rightly deserve his wrath. If we don’t turn from our sin and spiritual adultery, we will pay the price of eternal judgement. The good news is that Jesus has come and paid the price for our rebellion and rejection of God. The judgment has fallen on him, as He dies in our place on the cross. Those who trust in Jesus receive God’s mercy and go from being ‘not my people’ to ‘my people’. What a wonderful blessing it is to be His people. God calls on us to live out our lives as a continual response to his grace and mercy.