Saturday, July 31, 2010

post 4

After reading Hosea 3, I was so overcome with "Why?! Why do you love like this, God?  How can you look at the unfaithful, the betrayers, the liars and take us for yourself?"  And then I came to Hosea 11.  I think I've read this everyday for the last month.  Hosea 11 has been life-changing.  I love Hosea 11.

"When Israel was a child, I loved him,
and out of Egypt I called my son.

The more they were called,
the more they went away;
they kept sacrificing to the false gods
and burning offerings to idols.

Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk;
I took them up by their arms,
but they did not know that I healed them.

I led them with cords of kindness,
with the bands of love,
and I became to them as one who eases the yoke on their jaws,
and I bent down to them and fed them.

My people are bent on turning away from me...

How can I give you up, O Ephraim?
How can I hand you over, O Israel?

My heart recoils within me;
my compassion grows warm and tender.
I will not execute my burning anger;
I will not again destroy you;
for I am God and not a man,
the Holy One in your midst,
and I will not come in wrath."

He's loved us from the beginning.  He considers us His children.  Oh the work He does for us!  "I loved, I called, I taught, I took, I healed, I led, I eased, I bent down, I fed!"  And our response?  We ignorantly and also defiantly run away.  We don't realize all He does, but we also see His authority and bolt.

Then the heart of God speaks.  "How can I give you up, my child?  Your sin against me burns inside me, but my compassion only grows for you.  You are bent on running?  Well, I am bent on loving.  I love you. I will not come in wrath, I will come in love."

Why? Why does He love like this?  Because He is God, not man. 
Men don't love like He loves.  Humans love selfishly.  The Holy One loves selflessly.  
What a privilege to be the receiver of His love.  
What an honor to be carried on His heart.  
What a treasure to be considered His child.
What joy to be held up and fed by Him.

I can't wait to see His face and thank Him for His love.  "Oh, how He loves us"

post 3

Hosea 3, when I first read it, made me cry. 

Hosea Redeems His Wife

The Lord said to me,
“Go again, love a woman who is loved by another man
and is unfaithful to you,
even as the Lord loves the children of Israel,
though they turn to other gods and love themselves.” 
So I bought her.

And I said to her,
“You will dwell as mine for many days.
You shall not play the adulteress, or belong to another man;
so will I also be to you.” 
For the children of Israel...
shall return and seek the Lord their God,
 and they shall come in fear to the Lord
and to know His goodness.

 Go again.  Go again, Hosea.  Do it again.  Forgive her again.  Yes, she is being unfaithful.  Yes, she loves herself.  Yes, she runs from you.  Yes, all of that is wrong, Hosea, but go again.  Go forgive her.

Oh, and she must bought.  With your own money, go buy your wife back.  Don't go in anger, don't retaliate.  Go and keep your commitment to her and remain faithful, even though she has not.  Be good to her, Hosea.  And go redeem your wife.

That, friends, is unconditional love.  Hosea did not love his wife based on her faithfulness or love to him.  God does not love me based on my faithfulness to Him.  He doesn't give me one chance, and then back out.  Or two chances.  Or three.  He comes again.  He loves me again.  He shows me His goodness again.  And He will continue to do so forever

What a picture of the cross!  And what an amazing, passionate reminder that "by grace you have been saved and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God." 

post 2

Hosea 2 is absolutely beautiful.  Following the intesity of Hosea 1, I found it so awe-ing (or whatever the verb for "being in awe" is)

I will make for them a covenant
I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land,
and I will make you lie down in safety.
And I will betroth you to me forever.
I will betroth you to me in righteousness
and in justice,
in steadfast love
and in mercy.
I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness.

And you shall know the Lord.

I will answer the heavens,
and they shall answer the earth,
  and they shall answer [Gomer's child]
and I will sow her for myself in the land.
And I will have mercy on No Mercy,
and I will say to Not My People,  "You are my people";
and he shall say, "You are my God."

 Because of Him - because of His covenant, His character, His work - the sinner is kept safe.  The sinner is bound to God in His righteousness, His justice, His love, His faithfulness.  And now we can know Him.  This isn't simply a bland, emotion-less decision from God.  He is answering the heavens, screaming His justice, announcing to the world "These are My people!  I am sowing them for Myself! They are mine forever!"

That encourages my little heart.  So much.

post 1

Soooo, this is kind of an awkward first blog post.  The topic at least is.  But, I can't stop reading this part of scripture these days.  It has a hold of me (and I even named the blog because of it!)

So.  Hosea 1.  Here we go.

When the Lord first spoke through Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea:
“Go, take to yourself a wife of unfaithfulness and have children of adultery,
for the land commits great unfaithfulness by forsaking the Lord.”  

So he went and took Gomer and she conceived
...and bore a daughter.
And the Lord said to him,
“Call her name No Mercy, 
for I will no more have mercy on the house of Israel,
to forgive them at all."

Then Gomer conceived and bore a son. 
And the Lord said, “Call his name Not My People,
for you are not my people, and I am not your God.”

Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea,
which cannot be measured or numbered.
And in the place where it was said to them,
“You are not my people,” it shall be said to them,Children of the living God.” 

 This passage is so intense.  I can't remember the last time I read something and realized how intense this situation was.  God instructs the adultress and her husband to name their daughter "No Mercy" and their son "Not My People." Yikes.  Jeez.  That is no joke.  But then He says they WILL become His people.  Someday they won't be children of sin, but children of the Living God.