Tonight was one of those evenings that I wish I could bottle and live over and over. After work I went for a 3-mile run around the lake near my house, then came home and cooked a big dinner. After dinner, I turned on some classical music and settled in to finish studying Hosea. What a wonderful and yet difficult book to study. I’ve been plugging along with the help of my trusty Believer’s Bible Commentary, along with the study notes in my Bible, and a good bit of flipping back and forth to look up cross references. I think I only “got” a small bit of what’s in there, but what I did understand was a complete blessing. Some of my favorites from tonight (chapters 11-14):
“It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by the arms; but they did not realize it was I who healed them. I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love; I lifted the yoke from their neck and bent down to feed them.” (Hosea 11:3-4)
I love those visual images of a God who is so intimately involved with his people. Of course, these people completely screwed up. But if He treated them like that, I wonder how He treats us? Does He maybe bend down to feed me? I hope I’m not like these people, who did not realize or give Him credit for healing them, but instead insulted Him by worshiping idols.
“For I am God, and not man –the Holy One among you.” (Hosea 11:9b)
Just in case you were wondering who God was… I love that. I love that I serve a poetic God, and yet at times He can be so extremely blunt. It’s like He’s saying, HELLO… I AM NOT MAN. I AM THE GOD OF THE UNIVERSE, SO POWERFUL AND HOLY AND MIGHTY THAT YOU CAN’T EVEN CATCH A GLIMPSE OF MY FACE LEST YOU DIE FROM MY SHEER RADIANCE. IT’S HIGH TIME YOU LISTEN AND GIVE ME THE FEAR THAT I DESERVE!
Sometimes we need to hear that, don’t we? To be reminded that God’s not my genie, not my pet, not just my casual pal. That He leads me with cords of human kindness and bends down to feed me, but that He’s also God and not man, the Holy One among us.
“I will answer him and care for him. I am like a green pine tree; your fruitfulness comes from me.” (Hosea 14:8b)
He really does get all the credit for anything good that comes from me. And, I love any verse where God promises to answer prayers. They’re everywhere in the Bible.
“Who is wise? He will realize these things. Who is discerning? He will understand them. The ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them.” (Hosea 11:9)
Which kind of reminds me of this: “The way of the Lord is a refuge for the righteous, but it is the ruin of those who do evil.” (Proverbs 10:29)
So that’s Hosea. A book that terrifies me, and yet encourages me, wows me, and blesses me.