Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Minors

Next to Deuteronomy, I really like the Minor Prophets. That's something you sure don't hear every day, but it's true for me. I have been trying to figure out where to turn next during my morning times reading my Bible, It's been too scattered. I need a book. And I need to go through it from Chapter 1 until the end. Studies are hard for me. I'd much rather just read straight through. Well, I landed back at the Minor Prophets. The Minor Prophets are good because I think they just show God's love and patience and faithfulness on the grandest scale (that we are able to comprehend here) and the rebellion of the Israelites (us) and His pursuit - and the cycle tends to repeat. But that repeat cycle is God's grace.

Hosea 1 starts with the Lord asking Hosea to take a harlot as his wife. A harlot is known to be one who flees - she flees away from her covenant of marriage with her husband and towards other men. God uses Hosea and Gomer to show His relationship with the Israelites. They keep forsaking God, just like a harlot forsakes her husband. They are looking for fulfillment in places other than who God has claimed them to be. She is looking for fulfillment in places (men) than her husband. Did the Israelites think God was too far off to care for them or meet their needs? Did they assume that because He was God and was greater than they could fathom, that they needed to reach for something tangible that made sense to them - something they could see, touch etc? I don't know. I can't answer those questions, but I can say they were agreeing (by turning away) that God wasn't enough for them. Gomer will run in the same way as to say Hosea is not enough for her.  Each child is given a specific name to describe God's relationship with His people. Through the naming of the children, God promises dispersion and a day where "you are not my people,and I am not your God."  Because of God's holiness and their sin, the Israelites were in need of discipline -  He does not delight in sin.. but delights in a pure heart.  The Israelites did not have pure, unblemished devotion to God.

Last night a verse from Luke 12 was mentioned during small group. It blows my mind how verses can be mentioned, and I feel like I've never heard them before. Luke 12:32 says, "Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom." --- This is what the Israelites had failed to grasp. Our God was not withholding anything from them, yet they chose to run in search of other gods. Our God does not withhold anything from us, and yet we continuously pursue those things that we think will fill us. It happens all the time. They didn't trust that God could give them everything they needed. Yet, here we know that in Christ we are given the kingdom. Sinking in. The Father has CHOSEN GLADLY to give YOU the KINGDOM. The Israelites failed to understand that. So yeah, there's that.

I think if Gomer understood the magnitude of Hosea's love for her, then she would not have run away to other men. I think if the Israelites understood the magnitude of God's love for them, they would not have turn to foreign gods. I think if we will understand the magnitude of God's love for us, there will be less doubt, fear, anxiety, idols etc. - the list could go on. And then I was reminded of this in Ephesians 3: "[You] may grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love!" Note: Exclamation point was added for effect! That we would know this love, so we won't run to emptiness and deception. A full assurance of His love is good. 

And I'm going to end on this: Hosea 1 ends with a promise. This is a promise I've never noticed before, but it's certainly there in black and white. It's in verse 11: "And they will appoint for themselves one leader, and they will go up from the land..." And His name will be Jesus. God did not abandon His people forever. His love was with them in exile. His grace brought them back. His compassion sent them Jesus.

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