“But now I will take back the wine and ripened grain I generously provided each harvest season. I will destroy her vineyards and orchards, things she claims her lovers gave her. I will let them grow into tangled thickets where only wild animals will eat the fruit.” Hosea 2:9,12 New Living Testament
Approximately 42 years ago I had my first date with the woman I was to marry! I was quite sure she was the one created for me. My hope, which was more in the realm of a dream at that moment, was we would spend the rest of our lives together. Looking back and trying to recall those first years of wading, then belly flopping into the pool of love, I have no idea how I was so blessed that she could see in me something I still struggle to see! And because of her way of seeing me Joni chose to invest the rest of her life with mine. Even in writing those words a sense of wonder, mystery, and adventure flood my mind.
What will God teach us as we grow into two-become-one? The oneness referred to here can be a difficult concept, it isn’t describing the melding of individual bodies fused together. No, it is an exercise in the miraculous power of God to take two minds and join them into desires that honor their Creator. This two-becoming-one intertwines strengths over weaknesses; my weaknesses are overwhelmed by Joni’s strengths and it is a two way street! The awesome, unfathomable, love invested in each person ever conceived on this the only broken planet, or as CS Lewis named it, “The Silent Planet.”
I profoundly believe God is in charge of all Creation, seen and unseen, known and unknown, real and what we might term unreal, natural and supernatural. We could go on and on adding to this list, but the list is not important. What is important becomes our willingness to step out in faith.
Step out in Faith. If I could have a penny for every time that phrase is used inappropriately, I could own large portions of Canada! Here is a late breaking news headline, Every morning you get out of bed you have just stepped out in faith. It is that exercise in faith that prepares us for the Exercise of Faith we will all face, some sooner than others.
Here’s a unique thought, why don’t we accept the amazing gift of Jesus Christ’s life, death, and resurrection as our own? It is exactly what has been offered to us, to anyone living here, experiencing the rebellion of sin. There it is, the choice. It is placed before everyone who reaches the age of accountability. Who will you choose to serve?
It sits there staring right at us inviting us to choose the gift! Choosing the gift of Jesus, His life, His death, His resurrection life is the only way to receive His process of Grace in us. All any one of us needs to do is say yes, and be wiling to accept God as the authority in our life. This allows the Holy Spirit to remove that which is separating us from all we are promised is ours.
As you read the story of Hosea, you’ll note there is an amazing theme running through every word. God seeks to reveal His love and how far He is willing to go to prove that love. He steps in firstly removing those things Israel believed were payment for services rendered. In this story God is placing before Israel the truth of who provides their wealth. All any of us have is provided to us by God. It is one of the most difficult concepts to grasp. In the business world (in the real world, as some would have it), money, finances, power, and influence make one a person to be reckoned with! We work to pay the bills, have a home, buy food, have clothes. These are the things the world tells us are the reasons we work. We toil and tend to sacrifice our families on the altar of finances.
In the verses above, God reveals what has been Gomer’s motivation, she provides a service and receives goods in exchange. Gomer does her job and she is paid for what she provides. What God is putting before Israel is she (they) hasn’t earned a single penny! All she believes is hers in payment for services rendered was in reality gifts from God. Nothing has changed in a few thousand years. What we believe we have earned is actually given to us by God.
Just as God was sending a direct message to Israel, so He is sending one to us also. There are too many issues which can blind us to our calling in Jesus Christ. If you or I have chosen to become disciples of Jesus, then we choose also to allow Him to use us as He wishes. Remember, we do have a choice. You and I are not being forced to become disciples of Jesus. However, I can’t think of a reason why you wouldn’t want to become a disciple!
God’s words in the book of Hosea offer difficult concepts for us. They tell of actions which are severe and sound cruel to us, yet they are about discipline, eliminating evil. Do you remember your thought process about disciplining children before becoming a parent? I don’t know about you, but before I was a parent I was an expert on how to bring up children in loving discipline! Then something happened that changed everything! I became a father and discovered I didn’t have a clue. Talk about a wake-up call!
God is declaring to Israel correction and discipline are inherent in His love and grace. Many of us discovered when we became parents we had a little better understanding of God’s incredible love! I began to see Calvary in a new way, through the eyes of a father. It was and still is an overpowering vision through the eyes of a Father’s love for His Son! As you contemplate the words seeking to relate how much God invested in us, consider how far He was willing to go rather than live without us!
As this profound message of Hosea challenges your status-quo and moves you out of your box, ask and allow the Holy Spirit to give you His vision. Let Him guide you into His truth that whether it is you or me, He died for one, He died for all, and it really doesn’t matter what I think about anyone belonging. Because in my Bible I am told none of us belong because of sin, and yet we all do belong because of Jesus.
May the words of Hosea’s prophetic message, the vision God spoke through to Israel, speak to us today, now and in power. May He use us boldly to invite others to know Jesus as the Lover of their Soul, their Heart, their Mind, and may all be dedicated to the love of the One who works in us the process of Grace.
“Everything belongs to God, and all things were created by his power. So God did the right thing when he made Jesus perfect by suffering, as Jesus led many of God’s children to be saved and to share in his glory. Jesus and the people he makes holy all belong to the same family. That is why he isn’t ashamed to call them his brothers and sisters.” Hebrews 2: 10-11 Contemporary English Version