“And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the LORD.” Hosea 2:19–20
A few years ago I had a pastor speak into my life. His statement was simple, yet profound: “Start with God’s character.” That was a pivotal moment for me, and I am reminded of it often.
The character of God is something that is constantly under attack. Sure, it might be something that is attacked by the enemy, but I think Christians are some of the choice offenders. It started with Israel and it continues today.
The prophet Hosea was a man who was called to speak to the kingdom of Israel, a nation divided and given themselves to the worship of Baal. The language the Lord uses to describe their faithful worship is coarse and without ambiguity—it’s the language of whoredom.
In response to this infidelity of his people, God makes a promise and declares a covenant saying that he will be the groom to his bride based on his own righteousness and credibility. And notice the nature of the covenant: it is a marriage covenant. It is based on God’s character, not our response, and it will be forever.
God considers us according to himself. Listen to the declaration of character that God is willing to regard us in, according to his own goodness: righteousness, justice, steadfast love, mercy and faithfulness. This means God is willing to allow us to hitch our wagon to him based on what he has done. He doesn’t expect us to bring anything to the table, yet we are regarded according to his character. This is grace.
We have two options: to be regarded on our own merit or on Jesus’ merit. In Jesus, we have been purchased and given his righteousness. In Jesus, the full wage of sin was paid for through his death in perfect justice. In Jesus, we are constantly pursued because of his faithfulness to never leave us or forsake us. In this love, we shall know the true character of God.