2007-06-13 / Religion

Recommit your life to God's ways

Rev. James Temples

Hosea 4:1-4; 7:1, 2; 12:6-9; 14:1

Sunday School Lesson Sunday School Lesson "Divine assignments" are not "easy to explain." Through the prophet, God declared, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord." Isaiah 55:8. The acceptance of this fact and principle is the indication of our exercising "faith" in God and his directives, as revealed in his word.

God gave the prophet Hosea a difficult assignment - "Go take unto thee a wife of the whoredoms..." Hosea 1:2c. The "reason" was stated - "for the land hath committed great whoredom." Hosea 1:2d. Thus, the life of this man was to be a "picture" of the backsliding nation, and the continued love of the heavenly father - the creator of the universe.

After the birth of the children of Hosea and Gomer, this woman returned to her "former way of life," and was, finally, placed on the "auction block." The prophet wrote, "So I bought her to me for 15 pieces of silver, and for an homer of barley, and an half homer of barley..." Hosea 3:2. The picture of Israel's relationship with God followed this back-and-forth pattern.

God pictured Israel as his "peculiar treasure unto me above all people" (Exodus 19:5b). As a nation, these people would turn from God to the idols of the nations around them. Thus, God saw this action as "adulterous."

Through the prophet, God said, "Hear the word of the Lord, ye children of Israel: for the Lord hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land." Hosea 4:1. God was aware of all the doings in the land. On the "surface," things "appeared to be going good," while underneath this facade, the "real motives" were not right. "By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood." Hosea 4:2.

The picture that the holy spirit (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21) painted is that of the "land" in an attitude of "mourning." "Therefore shall the land mourn, and every one that dwelleth therein shall languish, with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of the heaven; yea, the fishes of the sea also shall be taken away." Hosea 4:3. The desolation would leave each one with no contact with God. "Yet let no man strive, nor reprove another: for thy people are as they that strive with the priest." Hosea 4:4.

God wanted "the best" for his people. However - as a nation - the Northern Kingdom seemed to be "doing well enough on their own." This was not the assessment from the divine point of view. "When I would have healed Israel, then the iniquity of Ephraim was discovered, and the wickedness of Samaria; for they commit falsehood; and the thief cometh in, and the troop of robbers spoileth without." Hosea 7:1. As with all criminals, "they consider not in their hearts that I remember all their wickedness: now their own doings have beset them about; they are before my face." Hosea 7:2.

The appeal is direct. "Therefore turn thou to thy God: keep mercy and judgment, and wait on thy God continually." Hosea 12:6.

The people of the chosen nation had "taken up the habits" of the Caananites. These early inhabitants of the land were merchants that were not "always honest." "He is a merchant, the balances of deceit are in his hand: he loveth to oppress." Hosea 12:7. This attitude is, still, seen in our day.

Self-assessment is seldom accurate - from the divine perspective. "And Ephraim said, Yet I am become rich, I have found me out substance: in all my labours they shall find none iniquity in me that were sin." Hosea 12:8. Today, there are those who seem to think that "it is all right, if I don't get caught." Humans can see only one dimension of life. 1 Samuel 16:7c.

The constancy of God continues to be the assurance of the seeking heart. "And I that am the Lord thy God from the land of Egypt will yet make thee to dwell in tabernacles, as in the days of the solemn feast." Hosea 12:9.

Again, there can be no question concerning the divine call for the nation to return to their "first love" - to God, himself. The appeal is direct - "O Israel, return unto the Lord thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity." Hosea 14:1. The hearers were not left to their own devices. "Take with you words, and turn to the Lord: say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so shall we render the calves of our lips." Hosea 14:2.

The New Testament writer used this same word picture. As he wrote words of encouragement to believers who were under great persecution and stress, he gave them instructions - using Jesus Christ as the example. Hebrews 13:13, 14. "By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name." Hebrews 13:15.

As Hosea did that which was necessary for the return of his wife to the family, so God has made the provision for the wayward nation to return to himself. This fact is shown to all of the human race that has lost its relation to the creator. The Savior was sent into the world to bring all lost mankind back to that close relationship that God so desires. John 3:16.

Have you, personally, accepted this divine provision? If not, please do so today.

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