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When to Hammer and When to Hug

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When to Hammer and When to Hug

Yet, the Israelites will become as numerous as the grains of sand on the seashore. No one will be able to measure them or count them. Wherever they were told, ‘You are not my people,’ they will be told, ‘You are the children of the living God (Hosea 1:10 GW).

Hosea’s willingness to love Gomer, the prostitute God instructed him to marry, unconditionally mirrors God’s desire to love us unconditionally. Hosea and Gomer have a rocky relationship because Gomer refuses to give up her old habits—her old lifestyle.

Names are very important. Hosea’s name means “the Lord our God saves.” He and Gomer have three children, and their names tell the couple’s story.

1. I will punish (Hosea 1:4)
2. You are unloved (Hosea 1:6)
3. You are not mine (Hosea 1:8)

Have you ever been so angry with your own children that you didn’t know if you wanted to hug them or hit them? You are children of the Living God. God is the best forgiver, but he is also a disciplinarian. There are consequences for sin. When you ask for forgiveness, he washes you clean, but often you still have to navigate the consequences of all the sin brought into your life.

God knows exactly when to hammer and when to hug. Gomer had no change of heart. She was not ready to repair her marriage. The third child is not Gomer’s child but the result of an adulterous relationship. But God refuses to give up on her just as he refuses to give up on you.

Do you have a story of second chance? Share your story in the comments below.

For more on this topic, listen to the SECOND CHANCES podcast http://www.lakeviewchurch.org/2015/04/12/the-god-of-second-chances-2/

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About Ron Bontrager

Lead Pastor of Lakeview Church in Indianapolis.

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