What shall I do with you, O Judah?
It's a pretty familiar picture.
The people of Israel and Judah have a love for God that is like 'a morning cloud' - driven easily away by other desires and interests, wayward and foolish.
And yet, says Hosea, as sure as the dawn and the refreshing morning dew that waters and revives the earth, so the Lord, wounded by their folly, calls to them - come, and I will heal. Draw close, and I will refresh you (Hosea 6:1-4).
The desire of God, for our steadfast love, is not something easily grown. So often, we are detached from that prize by our failure and apostasy, our longing after something other than a love and mercy that can truly heal us.
God sees our error, and calls to us amidst our empty ways, for He also sees what we shall be, entirely by His love, and it is His love that will truly rule over us.
Listen to His words:
Behold, I will allure her,
and bring her into the wilderness,
and speak tenderly to her,
and there, in that place, I will giver her vineyards,
and I will make that valley a place of hope,
and then, there she shall answer,
as in the days of her youth,
as in that time when I delivered her and set her free
and in that day, says the Lord, you will call me 'my Husband'
and I will lye you down in safety,
and there, betroth you to me, forever, in righteousness,
in justice, steadfast love, and faithfulness,
and you shall know the Lord
and the earth will answer with wine and grain,
as I will sow the land for her,
and I will have mercy on a people who were not my people
Today, the richness of His grace is truly ours, because He has, does and will always love us - that is why we are His.