Today, I finished reading through the book of Hosea. Last night at the Mission, we talked about faithfulness, and then I had a great conversation with Jamie and Russ about this very thing. The word that keeps running through my mind is relentless. Let me tell you about it.
Basically, summary of the story of Hosea, God commands this man, Hosea, to marry a prostitute, Gomer. He does, she bears him children, she goes back into prostitution, and God commands Hosea to reconcile with Gomer. God uses this as an example of His love for the Israelites, an "adulteress people" that He continually loves despite their lack of faithfulness. So many times throughout Hosea, I was struck by God's language of wrath that is then subdued by His great words of love. Hosea 11:9 is incredible: "I will not carry out my fierce anger, nor will I turn and devastate Ephraim. For I am God, and not man - the Holy One among you. I will not come in wrath." WOW. God's love does not operate on a whim - He is not a man, and His love is greater than anything we can imagine! He is faithful even though we are so often faithless.
That thought connects to a verse Russ read last night. 2 Timothy 2:13 says, "If we are faithless, He will remain faithful, for He cannot disown Himself." That He is Jesus. God is love. And here we find out God is also faithfulness. It is a characteristic of God, one of the key components to who He is. He is faithful. Now, since I'm an English major, I love words and definitions. The dictionary definition of faithful is "steady in allegiance or affection; loyal; constant."
And finally we get to the title of my post. Relentless. Why did I choose relentless over faithfulness? Because when I was talking to Russ and Jamie, Jamie made a comment about how faithfulness has this perpetual aspect to it. It's not a one and done deal - "Oh, I was faithful today. Good job, self!" No. Faithfulness is ongoing, there is no break, there is no timeout. And people remember lapses in faithfulness, lapses in loyalty more than anything else. Another definition. Relent means "to soften in feeling, temper, or determination." Relentless means the opposite of relent. God is relentless: He does not soften in feeling towards us, His jealous nature for us cannot be quenched, His determination does not sway. God is relentlessly faithful. He is determinedly constant.
I keep thinking about this in light of Easter and Jesus on the cross. I am so glad Jesus chose to remain relentlessly faithful on that cross. He remained steady in affection for us, He did not soften in His love for a people that would continuously lapse in faithfulness to Him. Incredible.
How can we be relentlessly faithful? We are man, not God (refer back to Hosea 11:9), so inevitably we're going to lapse sometimes. But how can we work to make faithfulness one of the deepest characteristics and desires of our hearts? How can we remain steady in our allegiance to God?
Peace and blessings, y'all! It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood :)