When God created the Garden of Eden He put everything in it that was necessary for man’s livelihood and his happiness. Yet in the midst of the garden he put a tree from which if man ate would result in death. In the very essence of the glory of the garden was the possibility 04 hoseaof rebellion and its consequences. Because God loved His people, he put His arms around them and pointed out the truth of their situation. He spoke to them and warned them about the tree. I expect He even pointed it out to them and explained that in their choice to rebel was a consequence, built in, that would open their lives to some dire situation that they couldn’t even imagine. He loved them. He spoke to them! He told them. Then he left them to make their own decision. Even in the garden we see how God had man’s best interest foremost in mind.

Within the whoop and wharf of love is this idea of trust. You can’t love, in the way God calls us to love, without trust. We might lust to own, possess, and use others for our own pleasure but that is not love. God’s love is not like that, neither is the love he wants from us in return. He wants us to love and to trust Him as He loved and trusted us. He gave us the freedom to choose. He did not make us robots but after His own image He created us with the freedom to choose to love and trust or not. God has never gone back on His love for us. He’s never changed. His love as Jeremiah 31:3 puts it is an “everlasting love.” He will be faithful to His covenant with us. That faithfulness involves the experiencing of the consequences of our choices. I expect that God was much like the father of the prodigal son. He pleaded with his son to consider the consequences of his actions, yet without success. But true love sets free!

In Jeremiah 2:19, the Prophet reminded the people that their dire situation was of their own making. God had explained the consequences of their rebellion in great detail in Deuteronomy. It was as clear to them as it was to Adam and Eve regarding the tree in the garden. Then in Jeremiah 2:20, he reminds the people that although God had set them free from slavery, they still did not return His love. He says, “For long ago I broke your yoke and burst your bonds; but you said, ‘I will not serve.’ Yes, on every high hill and under every green tree you bowed down like a whore.” You can’t get much more graphic than the image of the love of one’s life given themselves to others for earthly profit! When the Bible says that we’ve all sinned it means we’ve all played the part of prostitutes. We either see that truth or we don’t. There is hope if we see this. To those who couldn’t see it, Jesus said in Matthew 21:31, “I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did.”