I am reading an online devotional about Hosea, what a book! The devotional is found on shereadstruth.com. Hosea is one of the prophets of the old testament. It is a story, the life of a man that I would not expect to be found in the bible. I can’t believe that God told one of His prophets to marry a prostitute. It is through their story that I see what God puts up with because of His love for His people. That even transfers to us, today. Through this story, God shows the unfaithfulness of His people. He also shows the love and mercy that He has towards His people. It also shows that He allows us to face our consequences. It shows His desire to forgive us, and to continue to show us His love for us. We are like Hosea’s wife Gomer, it shows the very real relationship that we have with God. We are not faithful, it seems like we are always chasing something and forgetting God, until things get tough. I know that I am unfaithful. Most times I turn to anything other than God, it’s like I forget about Him. I try to do life on my terms, but that never works out well for me. I know this, and when I have found myself walking 180 degrees away from the path that God has for me, I question my sanity. I hope I am not alone in this, that there are others who mentally reprimand themselves for forgetting about God. I mean how can I forget?? He is all around me, and I forget?? what is wrong with me?? This book shows me so clearly the pain and disappointment that God feels as I run to something that I love more than Him. I try to say that I love Him the most, but if that is the case, why do I walk away and live life for myself and by myself. Why do I go to food, chocolate, sugar or T.V. for my comfort or cravings instead of craving the only One who matters. The One we were made to crave, the One who would fill any longing that we think that we have.
God is in a terrible marriage—with us—one He should have divorced from long ago.
He loved us first.
We loved sin more.
He made us without shame.
We dirtied the white dress.
He gave us a covenant.
We didn’t show up to the altar. http://shereadstruth.com/2016/09/09/gods-case-against-israel/
It is terrible what we put God through. We are an unfaithful people. We may not be intentional in our unfaithfulness. I don’t think Gomer was either, or at least not deep down. I believe that her life experiences told her that her desires were worth anything she would have to do, and that to get these things, she would have to sleep with someone to gain her desire. I believe that her self-worth was non-existent. I believe that she thought that all she had to offer was her physical self. I know that there are many who still struggle with this outlook. We judge them, not really understanding what is going on or seeing that we have the same issues. We may not feel like we only have our bodies to offer, but we have learned that we must do something to earn our longings. Whether that would be putting on the mask of everything is great, and I can be your best friend. Or the look at me and my perfection, a false, fake life. We may use money or talent to offer to gain our longings, but we all do something if we are honest. Longings may not be luxuries like Gomer was going for. Our longings could be the praise of men, they could be luxuries, they could be a comfortable life, it could be success, both monetarily, fame, achievement and power. Whatever it is for you doesn’t really matter, the heart of the matter is still the same, an unfaithful heart.
God just wants us to see that in Him all our longings will be met. He wants us to understand, that there is no need that He can not meet. He wants to bless us, to pour life abundantly over us, so much so that we would drown in His love and blessings. The life that He offers is so much, so incredibly much more that our human imaginations can imagine or understand. Why we, why I walk away boggles my mind.
I know that my heart get locked up in the prison of addiction, addiction to gluttony, addiction to acceptance of man over God. I am addicted to the keep up with the Jones’ mentality of this world, the I want more, materialistic way of life. I am also addicted to the lie that I need to do this by myself and for myself. I desperately hold of to the lie that I need to survive, and only I can make that happen for me. Above all else my heart is horribly selfish. I am trapped within this prison of lies and the inability to see the truth in the throes of my passion. I chase down what ever it is that my heart desires with single-minded desperation, and I don’t even see that this is what I am doing, or at least I don’t choose to look at it. I don’t choose to look at it until God puts Himself as a rock in my path and He trips me or I stumble into Him.
These are glorious boulders, beautiful rocks, for they reflect God’s desire to live life with us, His longing to forgive and envelope us into His love. Either way these blockades, change my focus, and places it where it belongs. It reminds me that within God is where I am happiest, where I find life, joy, and incredible poured over me love.
So why does it take this to remind me of who God is and who I am in God? Why do I find myself in the prison of desire, instead of the wide open spaces of God’s love? Why do I seem to run toward to prison of sin? This way of life has made ruins of my life, of my dreams and plans. I am not the woman who I was meant to be. I have lived with self-hatred for so long, it is hard to live a different life, one who has the ability to love myself because God loves me and finds me worthy of love. What is wrong with my perspective? My heart?
I am locked up in the prison of the human condition. Locked up in selfishness. So it begs the question, if I know this, why do I stay there? My head says that I would like to be rescued, but what does my heart say? Do I really want to be rescued? This will be the eternal question I ask myself. Do I really want to be set free from this prison, or from the lies that I have believed all my life? This is something that I will have to wrestle down to the ground my whole life. I will have to discover the truth, and train my heart to see differently, to desire differently. I have to spend a lot of time soaking in God’s goodness, through His presence and His words written to remind me of who He is, and who I am because of His love for me. Only this will change my perspective, to see the truth of it all.
God wants to repair the ruins of my life. In Isaiah 61 It talks about God’s desire to set us free, and rescue us from ourselves, from sin and from a wrong perspective. When He sets us free He promises joy and He promises to rebuild our ruins. Praise God
Isaiah 61The Message (MSG)
Announce Freedom to All Captives
61 1-7 The Spirit of God, the Master, is on me
because God anointed me.
He sent me to preach good news to the poor,
heal the heartbroken,
Announce freedom to all captives,
pardon all prisoners.
God sent me to announce the year of his grace—
a celebration of God’s destruction of our enemies—
and to comfort all who mourn,
To care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion,
give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes,
Messages of joy instead of news of doom,
a praising heart instead of a languid spirit.
Rename them “Oaks of Righteousness”
planted by God to display his glory.
They’ll rebuild the old ruins,
raise a new city out of the wreckage.
They’ll start over on the ruined cities,
take the rubble left behind and make it new.
You’ll hire outsiders to herd your flocks
and foreigners to work your fields,
But you’ll have the title “Priests of God,”
honored as ministers of our God.
You’ll feast on the bounty of nations,
you’ll bask in their glory.
Because you got a double dose of trouble
and more than your share of contempt,
Your inheritance in the land will be doubled
and your joy go on forever.
8-9 “Because I, God, love fair dealing
and hate thievery and crime,
I’ll pay your wages on time and in full,
and establish my eternal covenant with you.
Your descendants will become well-known all over.
Your children in foreign countries
Will be recognized at once
as the people I have blessed.”
10-11 I will sing for joy in God,
explode in praise from deep in my soul!
He dressed me up in a suit of salvation,
he outfitted me in a robe of righteousness,
As a bridegroom who puts on a tuxedo
and a bride a jeweled tiara.
For as the earth bursts with spring wildflowers,
and as a garden cascades with blossoms,
So the Master, God, brings righteousness into full bloom
and puts praise on display before the nations.
So are you like me? Do you want to be rescued? or are you unsure? Most of us would like to say that yes we would love to be rescued, but the evidence of our actions and longings tell a different story. Being rescued means intentionally going to our Maker, The One who loves us the most. It takes changing our focus, taking it off of ourselves and placing it firmly onto The Only One who matters in this life. If we allow ourselves to be rescued that is where we find real life, abundant life. It means choosing to give up our life “desires” in exchange for God’s life and desires for us.
If you look at pictures of ruins, some of them, especially the ancient one can be beautiful and romantic, as we imagine the stories that they hold. Some ruins are painful to see, broken and chaotic, and we cringe. Your prison, your ruins can be beautiful and hard to leave, or they be chaotic and awful. Both of these can be hard to leave for very different reasons. No matter the prison, God is calling you to leave it. Follow His voice, He is calling you to something much better.
The interesting things is that Jesus at the beginning of His ministry read the first three verses of Isaiah 61, This is what He was announcing that He was going to do. Jesus came to be a rescuer, our rescuer. There is no one else who can do the job. It was why He came and gave up His life, and traded in His divine for the human, to rescue us. After He did what He came to do, He took up His divine nature and gave up the human condition. Because He gave us that great gift, He understands us, he understands our human condition, and because of that He paid our price, gave us the ability to turn to Him for our freedom, and He is continually interceding for us, and rescuing us daily from the punishment that we deserve for our selfishness. Are you ready to leave your prison, the ruins that your life is in and take up the mantle of the child of God that you are, if you believe. That is all it takes, belief and a heart turned towards The One who is love and mercy. I hope that you will take Jesus’ hand and leave your prison, your ruins. I am going to keep reaching out, may God remind us of Himself often, may He give us the ability to see Him in a fresh way. May He light our way on the path towards Him and darken the path that leads away from Him. Join me on this journey towards God. I may stumble and turn away, but I pray that God will quickly throw a beautiful, glorious boulder into my path, so that I will again turn in the right direction, towards Him. I am so glad He has seen the human condition and because He has seen our weakness, He offers to be our strength, and He sent His warrior Prince to fight for us. This warrior is His Son Jesus, my Savior and my Deliverer. Grab onto Him and hold on Tight. Praise God!