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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Hosea 6

One of my favorite books in the Bible is Hosea.  I don't know if it is because of Francine Rivers's Redeeming Love or not, but I get so much from it.

For quite some time, I have been continuously going back to Hosea 6, and getting something new out of it every time.

Tonight, I was reading it, and this is what spoke to me:
Come, let us return to the Lord!  He has torn us to pieces, and now he will heal us.  He has injured us; now he will bandage our wounds.  In just a short time he will restore us, so that we may live in his presence.  Oh, that we might know the Lord!  Let us press on to know him.  He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn... -Hosea 6:1-3

I think that these verses seem contradictory.  God as tearing his children to peices, just to heal them?  I had to think on it, and this is what I came up with.  I know that God is justice.  In him is no darkness, no evil, no wrong.  Because of this, when we sin, the righteousness of God battles against the sin inside of us.  This causes us to be broken down, injured, torn.  His justice tears our flesh to pieces.  But in his mercy, and through his son and his desire to be in relationship with us, he comes down and heals us.  Its funny for me, because the thing that is hardest for me is the most necessary for my relationship with God.  This equation that equals healing and restoration calls for brokenness and injury and tearing up of our flesh and our nature.  It doesn't sound fun, pleasant, lovely, or joyful, and it's not.  But, in these verses, it seems to say that for God to heal us, we must be torn up.  Jesus came for the sick, not the healthy, and that is all of us.  We are all sick, sinful, fleshy.  We just don't all acknowledge it (or at least, I don't do it all of the time).  I would much rather not look at that part of myself.  But to discover God's healing and restoration and to live fully in his presence, I must become broken, show my wounds, admit my downfalls.  God doesn't ask for perfect.  In fact, it seems that here, he's specifically calling for brokenness.  Not that this should be equated to self-hatred.  That's not God.  He is all about showing us what we are and where we need him, and then responding to our cry for him, arriving when we admit our need of his healing, and reaching out to his children that long to be with him.  His desire is to pick us up, put bandaids back on us, and walk hand-in-hand with him.  I don't know if I'll ever be a mature enough Christian to depart from this stage with God.  I don't think I'll ever want to.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Excuses

Jesus called to them, "Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!  And then left their nets at once and followed him.  A little farther up the shore he saw two other brothers... and he called them to come, too.  They immediately followed him, leaving the boat and their father behind. -Matthew 4:19-22

As I read this tonight, I couldn't help but wonder, where are the excuses of these men?  The first ones left their nets, the second ones left their boat and father, and with no excuses, they just followed Jesus.  Nobody really even knew who Jesus was yet.  He was not a rock-star, they hadn't seen him on TV, and he wasn't on a poster on thier bedroom walls.  There was simply Jesus, a compelling man, and a reaction inside of them that propelled them to go.  I think it is pretty amazing that these men have any other response besides obedience.  They could have said, "Ok, man, let me finish this catch, and I'll be right over," or, "No thank you, I only fish for, um, fish.  People aren't really my thing."  There are all kinds of responses to what seems like a ludicrous command.  But no, these men, with very little knowledge of what they were stepping into, followed Jesus and dropped everything they had to live for.

Tonight, I felt the need to get with God.  I knew that I needed his refreshing Word and I have been really busy lately, and haven't just sat down and put everything aside for as long as I feel I should until we have spent time together.  I have some really good excuses, too!  I am putting together a gift for my fiance's birthday.  I am working on a scrapbook.  I'm working out all of the time to lose weight for my wedding day.  I'm working on planning a wedding.  I'm working, period.  My days are full.  But, man, I get it all wrong sometimes.  My excuses are not only selfish, but in themselves, they're not even worth it.  I don't give God what he deserves... definitely not my excuses.  And really, our relationship is so much better without them.