Monday, October 17, 2011
A Modern Hosea
Check out His words to the prophet Hosea regarding the infidelity of the nation of Israel, " 2 “Rebuke your mother, rebuke her,
for she is not my wife,
and I am not her husband.
Let her remove the adulterous look from her face
and the unfaithfulness from between her breasts.
3 Otherwise I will strip her naked
and make her as bare as on the day she was born;
I will make her like a desert,
turn her into a parched land,
and slay her with thirst.
4 I will not show my love to her children,
because they are the children of adultery.
5 Their mother has been unfaithful
and has conceived them in disgrace.
She said, ‘I will go after my lovers,
who give me my food and my water,
my wool and my linen, my olive oil and my drink.’
6 Therefore I will block her path with thornbushes;
I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way.
7 She will chase after her lovers but not catch them;
she will look for them but not find them.
Then she will say,
‘I will go back to my husband as at first,
for then I was better off than now.’
8 She has not acknowledged that I was the one
who gave her the grain, the new wine and oil,
who lavished on her the silver and gold—
which they used for Baal.
9 “Therefore I will take away my grain when it ripens,
and my new wine when it is ready.
I will take back my wool and my linen,
intended to cover her naked body.
10 So now I will expose her lewdness
before the eyes of her lovers;
no one will take her out of my hands.
11 I will stop all her celebrations:
her yearly festivals, her New Moons,
her Sabbath days—all her appointed festivals.
12 I will ruin her vines and her fig trees,
which she said were her pay from her lovers;
I will make them a thicket,
and wild animals will devour them.
13 I will punish her for the days
she burned incense to the Baals;
she decked herself with rings and jewelry,
and went after her lovers,
but me she forgot,”
declares the LORD."
Wow. pretty intense, huh? But within this description is powerful beauty and restoration. God knows that He is the ONLY one who will fully satisfy us. He gives us all these amazing gifts and instead of seeing them as a gift from His hand, we grasp at the gifts and make them our idols.
We begin to think that it's the gifts that will satisfy us and that give us our dignity but it's only God who delightfully does that. So out of His love, concern and kindness to us, He often hedges in our ways and tries to remove our idols from us. It is here that we often fight against Him and feel stripped and empty.
But this removal of idols from our hearts is a deep mercy of God. And He doesn't leave us naked or shame us. Because in the next part of Hosea, God says this--" “Therefore I am now going to allure her;
I will lead her into the wilderness
and speak tenderly to her.
15 There I will give her back her vineyards,
and will make the Valley of Achor[b] a door of hope.
There she will respond[c] as in the days of her youth,
as in the day she came up out of Egypt.
16 “In that day,” declares the LORD,
“you will call me ‘my husband’;
you will no longer call me ‘my master.[d]’
17 I will remove the names of the Baals from her lips;
no longer will their names be invoked.
18 In that day I will make a covenant for them
with the beasts of the field, the birds in the sky
and the creatures that move along the ground.
Bow and sword and battle
I will abolish from the land,
so that all may lie down in safety.
19 I will betroth you to me forever;
I will betroth you in[e] righteousness and justice,
in[f] love and compassion.
20 I will betroth you in[g] faithfulness,
and you will acknowledge the LORD.
God redeems and restores everything and gives us what we truly seek, His very Self. This is piercingly beautiful and hopeful. He just wants to love us.
If I could put this book in the form of a modern song-- I think God could sing this to us (it's one of my favorite songs)