“They have exchanged the Glory of God for the disgrace of Idols.” Hosea 4:7 New Living Translation (For continued context, see Hosea 4: 1-7.)
Among all cultures of the human race there appear to be various shared beliefs and customs. One of these is a creation story explaining how humankind developed on planet earth. These creation stories are as unique as are the tribes and clans in which they have been discovered. Another shared story among the world’s people groups is that of a world wide flood. In using the teaching tools of narrative, parents and spiritual leaders alike have chosen to control those under their responsibility. A good scare is worth a thousand words!
The bible tells of a world wide flood that destroys the planet and all those outside the safety of the boat one man and his family were instructed to build. This microcosm of humanity and nature would be the new Adams and Eves to produce an unmarked order of humanity on a freshly remodeled planet.
In the last twenty to thirty years, or perhaps longer, I have been interested in the re-energizing, reinvention, the transformation of stars in the music industry. My attention was first drawn to this emerging and industry changing possibility when one very famous or possibly infamous musician’s career was nearly finished. Dropping album sales, less than sold out concert dates, diminishing returns on sales were the only part of his career on the increase.
What do you do when your career is over? Especially when you have spent most of your life as a rock/pop musician, or as an actor. In these careers your voice and physical appearance sell who you are and determine how long you will survive, unless you can change your image.
Reinvention. It is the ability to take who you were/are and making yourself over into someone else. It is changing your look, attitude, attention to detail, and seeking a different focus for your life. You can see how difficult this procedure, process is as it may require difficult choices and the need to make drastic changes even in friendships.
This story of Hosea carries a theme of reinvention, the challenge inherent in change. The most difficult aspect of any change is the unknown. Just as when an actor, actress, or musician endeavors to achieve the task of reinvention, there is always the possibility of failure. One may be a Hero or a Goat! (Thanks to reference from Charlie Brown and Charles Schultz)
Israel was once more caught up in bondage. This time it wasn’t to a people; it was to their own lust. All that mattered was self-gratification, and even those who claimed to serve God were guilty.
When once caught in the web of lust, it is a small step into what has become affectionally known as The Blame Game. This particular game is straight out of the beginning of the world itself. The blame game is alive and well and very popular even today.
There is another result of lust, it destroys our ability to accept ourselves. It drives us to hide, causes us to reinvent ourselves. And in this reinventing we often lose ourselves, the person God created us to be, that unique person He loves.
In Israel’s pursuit of self-gratification they ignored those boundaries God had given them to define their lives, the Ten Commandments. These were given to put a hedge around the children God chose and loved. Those He loved and loves includes everyone who has lived, will live, is living on planet Earth. These rules for living on a world dying from the rebellion offer us security, offers us a physical reminder of God’s Grace!
As I had written in an earlier post, the attitude concerning becoming an Old Testament Prophet was very revealing. Those listed in the word of God recognized what the call to be a prophet could entail. It wasn’t a glamorous calling, there were no special perks, the pay was nothing to write home about, and some of the things God required of them were not recommendations for signing on! (You can read more about that here.)
Then as God continues to inform Israel of the issues facing them, He informs them there are those among them who carry a part of the responsibility for their circumstances. Their priests. The priests were the guardians of the spiritual, moral, mental health of Israel. That’s quite hard to accomplish when you, as the spiritual leader, are as involved in lust as those you were to protect.
“My people are being destroyed because they don’t know me. It is all your fault, you priests, for you yourselves refuse to know me.” Hosea 4:6a New Living Translation
As God relates this message to Hosea for Israel, His words plead with them to listen. The land is dying and so are the animals. Faith is non-existent; violence rules; murder is rampant. There is no kindness and no knowledge of God in their land. Therefore everything suffers: nature, the animals, birds, everything created by God.
There is a direct link, a connection between knowing God and kindness. Maybe we could even say kindness will only exist where knowledge of God exists. It is through false prophets the people are led from a knowledge of God, lead away from compassion and kindness. The very laws provided by God to foster knowledge of Himself were forgotten causing a disconnect.
One of the most difficult disciplines of relationships is communication, whether it is between spouses, friends, co-workers, or the person down the street (the one you just can’t bear to talk to)! It never changes; we have to talk to each other, and most importantly we need to listen. We especially need to listen to God as He describes Himself, a small quiet voice directing our steps.
Hosea had a choice either to listen or not. God sent a message to Israel to which they could choose to listen or not. You know where this is going. You and I have a choice to make, the same choice Hosea, Israel, and even the priests had to make. Apparently Israel and the priests chose the “wrong door.” Hosea chose God and left the choice of “door” up to God!
As God exercises His Grace in our lives, what once was important becomes less attractive, and all we thought would leave us bored, unable to know joy, unable to discover who we are, does exactly the opposite. It is in the Process of Grace change is made possible. In the Grace process our focus is on God, removed from ourselves. As we remain willing to allow God continued authority in our lives, His Grace is in a constant process of re-creation, reinvention, and transformation. It is changing us into all God desires us to become. His Grace in our process is the work of a lifetime. It is accomplished by the Holy Spirit, our Comforter, who leads us into conviction, confession, repentance, and the joy and wholeness of the New Life that is ours in Jesus.
“But when God, our kind and loving Savior God, stepped in, he saved us from all that. It was all his doing; we had nothing to do with it. He gave us a good bath, and we came out of it new people, washed inside and out by the Holy Spirit. Our Savior Jesus poured out new life so generously. God’s gift has restored our relationship with him and given us back our lives. And there’s more life to come—an eternity of life! You can count on this.” Titus 3:4-8 The Message
In what ways have you seen God reinventing you?
[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]