Many years ago, a wise teacher took over the most unruly class in school. He decided to let students make up rules for the class: no stealing; always be on time. The students decided 10 lashes for rule breakers. Later, little Timmy stole the lunch of Big Tom—the biggest and toughest boy in the class. But as little Timmy was about to take his beating, Big Tom rushed down the aisle and said, “I’ll take little Timmy’s lashes.” The story shows what God did for us. We have all broken God’s rules and deserve His punishment. God’s prophet Hosea told ancient Israel that because they violated God’s covenant, they could expect to go into exile as punishment. We read in Hosea chapter 1, God said, “Israel has acted like a prostitute by turning against the LORD and worshiping other gods.” Yet God gave them hope. He said after the exile, He would let them go back to their land. God’s love has no equal. Like ancient Israel, we’ve all broken His laws. We deserve eternal punishment. Yet God still loves us. He sent His Son to pay our sin debt by dying on the Cross. Today, He offers forgiveness and reconciliation to all who accept His Son. All who submit to Him discover amazing joy and purpose in this life, and we can anticipate eternal fellowship with Him when this life is over.
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