Israel’s covenant with the Lord was meant to be so deep and meaningful that the Lord compared it to a marriage. The covenant, like a marriage, included eternal commitment, shared experiences, building a life together, exclusive loyalty, and most of all, wholehearted love. This kind of devotion came with high expectations—and tragic consequences for infidelity. Through the prophet Hosea, God described some of the consequences the Israelites faced for breaking their covenant. And yet His message was not “I will reject you forever for being unfaithful.” Instead it was “I will invite you back” (see Hosea 2:14–15). “I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness,” the Lord declared (Hosea 2:19). “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely” (Hosea 14:4). This is the same message He gives us today as we seek to live our covenants with love and devotion.
Joel shared a similar message: “Turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness” (Joel 2:13). “The Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel” (Joel 3:16). As you read Hosea and Joel, ponder your own relationship with the Lord. Think about how His faithfulness inspires you to be faithful to Him.