Posts Tagged ‘Hosea’



January 26, 2014

“Jacob was left alone.  And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day.  When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him.  Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.”  But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”  Genesis 32:24-26

slagheap / / CC BY-NC-SA

I watched the video of a wrestling match in Georgia between high school wrestlers, Demetrius de Moors and Michael Lind. (2012 National Sportsmanship Awards – Demetrius de Moors)   The aspect of this wrestling match that makes it noteworthy from the thousands of other wrestling matches that occur every year is that Michael Lind has Down Syndrome.

Michael Lind was a member of his High School wrestling team but had never wrestled in a match.  Demetrius was set to compete in Georgia’s prestigious South Metro Wrestling Tournament and agreed to wrestle Michael in an exhibition match.  If you watch the video, you will see that the struggle was a complete mismatch.  Michael did not stand a chance against a wrestler like Demtrius, but why should he, Michael has Down Syndrome.

The appreciation that I have for Demtrius comes from the mercy that he showed Michael.  He allowed a match to be competitive that was not.  He allowed Michael to contend with him while the match could have been over in seconds.  He made Michael work rather than just rolling on his back.  Demitrius contended with Michael at the level of Michael’s ability for Michael’s good.

Jacob Wrestling with the Angel

This video brought to mind an even greater mismatch and display of mercy in the wrestling match between Jacob and God.  I could not help but think about Jacob and his wrestling match – probably the greatest wrestling match in history.

I am most encouraged by the mercy shown to Jacob in this incredible wrestling match.  Throughout the night, Jacob wrestled with a man on equal terms, but it was never equal.  The prophet Hosea tells us that Jacob was wrestling against God (Hosea 12).  The reality of the greatest wrestling match in history is it could have been over quicker than Demitrius could have pinned Michael.  However, God allowed it to continue all night long.  Why?

God contended all night long at Jacob’s level for Jacob’s good.

Jacob was not a good guy.  Jacob’s successes in life had come by cunning and deceit.  He had been dragging God’s blessing out under all sorts of circumstances.  He had outwitted Esau, Isaac and Laban.  He devised schemes to get blessings them.

I wonder when it was that Jacob realized his opponent was special.  We are not told when Jacob came to an understanding of his opponent but he surely would have know when his hip was supernaturally touched.  Jacob may have thought he was doing pretty well in his own strength – he was holding his own with God (if he knew that).  Jacob never asked for a blessing throughout the entire night of contending with the man.  I wonder if he was trying to earn it on his own.  Maybe, he was trying to force God to bless him.

All God had to do was supernaturally touch his hip and Jacob was defenseless, but God made Jacob work through a long night.  God broke through any delusions that Jacob may have had at the breaking of the day.  Jacob received a new revelation with the rising of the sun on that day – he could not win in his own strength.  At that point, all Jacob could do was hang-on, completely at the mercy of his powerful God, and beg for a blessing.  Jacob was shown that he could never prevail in his strength.

It is only by the power of faith and prayer, reaching with a firm hold on God, to the point of being blessed, that we prove, like Jacob, to be true wrestlers of God.

He strove with the angel and prevailed; he wept and sought his favor.  (Hosea 12:4)

The U.S. Army / / CC BY

I am reminded that God allows and even puts his people into difficult and sometimes impossible situations.  We all have an opportunity to contend in our own strength or prevail upon God.  We can resist, scheme, and manipulate, even against God himself.

However, we are always in a horrible mismatch.

I know that I am too quick to revert to my own strength just as Jacob did.  I have wrestled in my own strength through whole seasons of life.  I am blessed to know that God allowed, in His mercy, the gross mismatch to continue until I was humbled from the delusions of my strength.  I wonder how many times I have actually wrestled against my merciful Lord just to be taught once again that it is He who delivers me; Him and Him alone.

The good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that we can prevail upon God.  It cannot be done through good works or extreme devotion.  We wrestle with God and prevail upon our Father in heaven through faith and prayer.  We live by faith when we seek our Lord with broken hearts, calling upon His favor.

May we be quick to remember how to contend without the need for God to put us on our head.

PRAYER: Lord, I know that I can be a slow learner.  I know that I can be forgetful of lessons that I have already learned.  Thank you for your patience.  Thank you for your mercy that you have shown me while I contended in my own strength.  Father, grant me a teachable heart.  Humble me so that I will come to you in a manner that you will allow me to prevail upon you.  Grant me a faith that relies completely upon you.  Teach me how to do that.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son,  Jesus Christ.   Amen.

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November 20, 2013

“It was I who knew you in the wilderness, in the land of drought; but when they had grazed, they became full, they were filled, and their heart was lifted up; therefore they forgot me.”  Hosea 13:5-6

English: Photograph of Sophie TuckerI’ve been rich and I’ve been poor. Rich is better. ~ Sophie Tucker

Sophie Tucker was one of the most popular entertainers in America during the first half of the 20th century.  She had been rich and she had been poor.  I understand that being rich might have been better for her comfort but was it better for her soul?  I understand that there is nothing inherently wrong with money but there are multiple warnings in the Bible about the hazards of prosperity and wealth.

Issues revolving around money or the lack there of are symptoms of our hunger.

Graham Taylor / / CC BY-SA

I have seen the homes, cars, vacations, clothes of the wealthy and wanted what they have.

I have seen those in retirement, traveling the world, playing golf, living a life of leisure and wanted what they have.

I’ve known times of full accounts when house budgeting was not necessary.

I’ve known the debate of what can be given while still retaining enough to fund obligations.

I have felt the flush of pride at being well compensated for being good at what I do.

Zachary Davies Detroit, Michigan USA / / CC BY

I have felt the despair at watching six-digits of paper net worth burn away like a morning fog.

I’ve experienced the shortened breath when worries steal a room’s oxygen at the implosion of personal finances.

I have done the projections of retirement needs and grimaced at its uncertainty.

I have never known extreme poverty and I have never known extreme wealth.  However, I have known good and bad times.  Within those bounds, I have come to learn that neither wealth nor want has ever satisfied my hunger.

We are all are tempted to satisfy the hunger pain of our flesh.

Those without material comforts are tempted to hope that satisfaction will be found in what they do not have.
Those of moderate wealth are tempted to worry about not having enough.
Those of significant prosperity are tempted to forget the source of all that they have.

My "flavorite" grocery store...

The reality is that money can resolve a lot of physical needs.  I do not know how to function in this world without money but our worlds of physical needs are fraught with temptation.  There are so many sins that can be birthed from the unhealthy cesspool of the love of money; greed, pride, jealously, envy, discontentment, hate, murder, gossip, theft, lying, etc…

A Mazda MPV minivan being donated to a charita...

We would be foolish to disregard the Biblical warnings associated with wealth and prosperity.  The love of money is like a rice cake, it has no nutritional value but it can appease our spiritual hunger for a time.  It can even make us forget God if we feast on it as our souls starve.

We all have a voracious appetite for happiness and money can buy a lot of short-lived happiness.  This reality makes money a strong temptation to snatch the control of our happiness away from God.  I am, like most people, too easily satisfied by material-induced happiness.

I know that I am often too easily satisfied.

I am too easily inclined to embrace the comforts of this world over the rewards of eternity.
I am too resistant to lessons associated with want.

I am too quick to try to appease my appetite for happiness.
I am too slow to trust God to take care of my needs.

I am too content with how my comforts feel, to see joy in loss.
I am too impatient with God’s provisions.

I know how easily I can find myself lost in a love of money.  I don’t think that I am unique to this temptation.

Therefore, we should treat money in the same manner as a glutton treats food; a necessity that must be controlled.  We need clothing, housing and food.  We live in a material world that functions on the basis of money.  Money is a necessity but our appetites for this necessity must always be controlled.

May we never exchange our love of the Creator for a love of the created.  May we never allow a belly full of prosperity cause us to forget our God.

PRAYER: O Lord, you know that I have a deeply rooted love of money.  Father, I need you to kill that unholy love.  Open my eyes to all that draws me away from you.  Remind me that all that is good in my life is a gift from you.  All is yours.  Help me to be a good and faithful steward of all that you have given me, particularly my money.  Help me to be a cheerful and joyful giver.  Help me to glorify you in the times of my want.  Help me to trust you in times of plenty and in times of need.   I pray this in the precious name of your Son,  Jesus Christ.   Amen.



November 19, 2013

“Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up you fallow ground, for it is time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.”  Hosea 10:12

Plowed  FieldOn Sunday, I bundled up for a morning run before Church.   I run along roads that crisscross farm ground.  The harvest has been reaped but the work is not done for these farmers.  Most of the fields were quiet on this Sunday morning but I could see acres of effort spanning out before me.  Fields that were full of corn, wheat, and mint a mere month ago have been plowed, furrowed, and sown for a winter crop.

I was reminded as I ran along these prepared fields that a harvest of value requires an effort in sowing.  It takes no effort to reap an invaluable harvest.  I own a fallow field.  I expended no effort on that field this year.  Yet, I got an incredible harvest of weeds that I will have to burn in the spring.  A harvest of value takes intention and effort.

If I want to harvest the steadfast love of my heavenly Father, then I need to be sowing righteousness.  That takes intention and effort.

There are several steps in the process of sowing for a harvest.  The two main steps involve preparing the soil and planting the seed.  We are told in Hosea that we will reap steadfast love when we plant the seed of righteousness into fallow ground that has been prepared – broken up.  However, man cannot do this process on his own.  No one is capable of both preparing the soil and planting the seed.

Dry harvest-field of Aegilops sp.

Just like a plow breaks apart hard fallow ground, repentance breaks open a person’s heart to allow the seed of righteousness to grow into a harvest of steadfast love.  The seed will never be planted into the hardened soil of an unrepentant heart.  Therefore, every person must come to the Father as a child, with a repentant and humble heart; a heart that has been broken by the reality of its own sin, recognizing its unrighteousness, and need for a Savior.

Man can come to God in repentance but he does not have what is needed to finish the sowing process.  He does not have the seed.  Our works cannot create a seed of righteousness.  God has the seed of eternal life.  God has to rain righteousness upon us .  God, in his grace and mercy, rains his righteousness down upon those who have been called in true repentance to the Son.  In them, in the good soil, the free gift of righteousness is planted through the blood of the Christ.

This is the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ presented long ago in the prophecies of the Old Testament.

Today, everyone sows to something.

Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love. (Hosea 10:12)


For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind. (Hosea 8:7)

The Pharisees tried to sow their own seed of righteousness.  They did not reap a harvest of steadfast love.  In fact, that was Christ’s criticism of the Pharisees.  They did not love God or God’s people.  They loved themselves and the religion that they had created, both of which were detestable to Christ.

But woe to you Pharisees!  For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God.  These you ought to have done, without neglecting  others.  (Luke 11:42)

The result is that they…

…became detestable like the thing they loved. (Hosea 9:10b)

The Pharisees, like so many other people, sowed to the wind and reaped the whirlwind.

There is a harvest in everyone’s life.  There will be a harvest in my life.

It will be either a harvest of righteousness or a whirlwind of judgment.
We all will become like that which we love either righteous or detestable.

Corn field

It is so easy to forget to be sowing.  It is so easy to become lackadaisical about where we set our eyes and start to become focused more on this world than on God, the source of our righteousness, and then wonder why we do not feel the steadfast love of the Father.  We missed the harvest because we failed to sow.

We need to remember that a harvest of value takes intention and effort. 

We have been called to maintain repentant and humble hearts; hearts that stay broken and open to the work of the Spirit in our lives.  We are called to keep our eyes fixed on the things of the Spirit; acknowledging that the seed of righteousness, the fruit of the Spirit, continues to come from the grace and mercy of our heavenly Father.

May we be good and faithful farmers of our souls and reap the harvest of steadfast love.  What have you sown today?

PRAYER: O Lord, I am so inclined to wander.  I am so inclined to becoming proud and unrepentant.  Father, soften my heart.  Help me to stay focused on You in all that I do.  Make me a sower of righteousness.  Grant me a harvest of your steadfast love.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son,  Jesus Christ.   Amen.



November 14, 2013

“When the Lord first spoke through Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea, “Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the Lord.”  Hosea 1:2

“God just wants me to be happy; therefore I am going to do ________________.”

Homosexuality… Fornication… Theft…
Overeating… Laziness… Disrespect…

I have heard these actions used to end this sentence.  This one sentence may just be the most frequently used justification for sin in our generation.

We accept a lie from the bowels of hell when we believe that our earthly happiness trumps the commandments of God.

English: "The whole world smiles with you...

God’s greatest priority is not our earthly happiness.  His sovereign plan is not contingent upon my personal feelings of joy and satisfaction in the circumstances that I find myself.  In fact, God does not want you or I to be happy in our sin.  He wants us miserable in our sin.  He wants to kill the sin of our flesh.

God did not tell Hosea to marry a wife of whoredom because He knew that would make Hosea happy.  God had a purpose for Hosea that was beyond his happiness.  God was going to allow Hosea to be deeply hurt to show how the actions of Israel were hurting Him.  God was calling Hosea to unhappiness so that the beauty of repentance and the renewal of a loving relationship with the Lord would be shown to God’s people.

True happiness is found only in the love of God. 


Photo credit: JesseBarker / / CC BY-NC-ND

If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.  These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.  (John 15:10-11)

We experience the love of God, when we abide in His love.  We abide in His love, when we keep His commandments.  That is when our joy will be full.  It is by our obedience that we can remain joyful in unhappy circumstances.  Our joy is not dictated by circumstances.  Joy is a gift of God to all those who abide in His love.

The escape from unhappiness lies in the loving embrace of God, experienced through our obedience.

God does want me to be happy – in His love.“God just wants me to be happy;
therefore I am going to be obedient to his commandments through all my unhappy circumstances.”

PRAYER: O Lord, you know all the justifications that I have used for my sin.  Thank you for your forgiveness.  Thank you for leading me to repentance and returning me to your love.  Help me to abide in You.  Help me to desire your love more than my happiness.  Help me to endure sadness and disappointment through the hope that you have given me.  Help me to be joyful even if you are taking me through unhappiness.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son,  Jesus Christ.   Amen.

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