Thornbushes

January 24, 2017

Hosea 2:1”“But now bring charges against Israel—your mother—
for she is no longer my wife,
and I am no longer her husband.
Tell her to remove the prostitute’s makeup from her face
and the clothing that exposes her breasts.
Otherwise, I will strip her as naked
as she was on the day she was born.
I will leave her to die of thirst,
as in a dry and barren wilderness.
And I will not love her children,
for they were conceived in prostitution.
Their mother is a shameless prostitute
and became pregnant in a shameful way.
She said, ‘I’ll run after other lovers
and sell myself to them for food and water,
for clothing of wool and linen,
and for olive oil and drinks.’

“For this reason I will fence her in with thornbushes.
I will block her path with a wall
to make her lose her way.
When she runs after her lovers,
she won’t be able to catch them.
She will search for them
but not find them.
Then she will think,
‘I might as well return to my husband,
for I was better off with him than I am now.’
She doesn’t realize it was I who gave her everything she has—
the grain, the new wine, the olive oil;
I even gave her silver and gold.
But she gave all my gifts to Baal.

“But now I will take back the ripened grain and new wine
I generously provided each harvest season.
I will take away the wool and linen clothing
I gave her to cover her nakedness.
10 I will strip her naked in public,
while all her lovers look on.
No one will be able
to rescue her from my hands.
11 I will put an end to her annual festivals,
her new moon celebrations, and her Sabbath days—
all her appointed festivals.
12 I will destroy her grapevines and fig trees,
things she claims her lovers gave her.
I will let them grow into tangled thickets,
where only wild animals will eat the fruit.
13 I will punish her for all those times
when she burned incense to her images of Baal,
when she put on her earrings and jewels
and went out to look for her lovers
but forgot all about me,”
says the Lord.

14 “But then I will win her back once again.
I will lead her into the desert
and speak tenderly to her there.
15 I will return her vineyards to her
and transform the Valley of Trouble[b] into a gateway of hope.
She will give herself to me there,
as she did long ago when she was young,
when I freed her from her captivity in Egypt.
16 When that day comes,” says the Lord,
“you will call me ‘my husband’
instead of ‘my master.’[c]
17 O Israel, I will wipe the many names of Baal from your lips,
and you will never mention them again.
18 On that day I will make a covenant
with all the wild animals and the birds of the sky
and the animals that scurry along the ground
so they will not harm you.
I will remove all weapons of war from the land,
all swords and bows,
so you can live unafraid
in peace and safety.
19 I will make you my wife forever,
showing you righteousness and justice,
unfailing love and compassion.
20 I will be faithful to you and make you mine,
and you will finally know me as the Lord.

21 “In that day, I will answer,”
says the Lord.
“I will answer the sky as it pleads for clouds.
And the sky will answer the earth with rain.
22 Then the earth will answer the thirsty cries
of the grain, the grapevines, and the olive trees.
And they in turn will answer,
‘Jezreel’—‘God plants!’
23 At that time I will plant a crop of Israelites
and raise them for myself.
I will show love
to those I called ‘Not loved.’
And to those I called ‘Not my people,’
I will say, ‘Now you are my people.’
And they will reply, ‘You are our God!’””

( New Living Translation Bible)

Ok so I know that there is a lot here for those of you that do not like to read but I used the whole chapter because well there is a lot here. Verse six will be our real starting point but you dear reader need verses 1-5 for context. For those of you that do not know anything about Hosea or the Bible for that matter I will give you some brief history. Hosea was a prophet in the Bible. He lived during the time when Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah were kings of Judah, and Jeroboam son of Jehoash was king of Israel. This was before Israel was carried into captivity. Israel had essentially turned its back on God and had turned to idols. God looked at this idolatry the same as if the nation had sold its self into prostitution. God told Hosea to take a prostitute for a wife so that he could use Hosea’s life as a living example of his love for his people.

Sadly, this same idolatry is prevalent today, especially in the American culture. Isaiah 29:13 “The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught. The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.” Many years later Jesus quotes this same passage in Matthew 15:9 and Mark 7:6. It was a problem two thousand eight hundred years ago and it’s a problem today. Let me explain what I mean. Take a moment and examine your life, ask yourself what is your treasure in life? Is it to bring glory and honor to God or is it selfish dreams and aspirations? Or worse yet do you just let life happen? i.e. TV, social media, entertainment and the like that consume all our time without a true purpose. If you can’t answer that your whole life ambition is to bring honor to God, then it is likely that you have one or several idols that keeps you from a true relationship with our heavenly father. My wonderful wife and I talk about how it is a heart matter with God not so much the action. God wants all of our love and affection because he is a jealous God, and he deserves it.

This zealous jealousy that God has for us is shown in verse six forward in our passage in Hosea. Look again at the passage it says that he will fence her in with thornbushes. I don’t know about you, but I do not think of a pleasant wall when I think of a wall of thornbushes, it actually sounds quite painful. Yet that is how God says he will handle idolatry. Let me ask you something, does it feel like you are being fenced in with thornbushes? Is all of life surrounding you and poking at you? If so it might be time to stop and ask God if there is anything that displeases him in our life.  Hebrews 12:6 “For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.” Your hardship, trial, sickness, or loss could be the Lord calling out to you, pressing you to turn to Him whole heartedly. When we come to that place of brokenness we can truly repent and change our ways. Don’t miss understand me bad times happens to everyone and no one is exempt just because you are surrounded by thorns does not necessarily mean you are in sin. But God will use anything he has to, to call you because he loves you. He will if He has to take every good thing He has given you just to bring you to repentance and fellowship with Him.

As you read this passage in Hosea you will see that God will do whatever it takes to draw you to Himself, but after the brokenness and repentance comes restoration. God can restore what has been lost. The restoration cannot happen however, until we have come to repentance and leave our idols behind. That restoration into fellowship with God is so sweet. It makes a person new.

For all the readers that are Christian and understand what has been written you don’t need to read further. If you are not a Christian but you read this and God is calling out to you here are some things you need to know. Romans 3:23 says “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” And in Romans 3:10 “As the Scriptures say, “No one is righteous–not even one.” No matter how good you are there is no way you can be good enough to get to heaven or even have fellowship with God. Furthermore, Romans 6:23 tells us “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” Death both physical and spiritual is the punishment for sin all our mistakes any wrong the punishment is death. But God came into the world through the man Jesus and died in our place John 3:16 “”For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” Jesus took our punishment upon himself when he died upon the cross. We can have fellowship with God because of the cross. All we have to do is believe in Jesus as the Christ, Savior, Rescuer, Redeemer. We have to confess our sin, our brokenness to him 1 John 1:9 ”But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” If you are willing to take these steps you can have eternal life. Here is a sample of how to pray this prayer wherever you are. “Jesus I confess that I have sinned and I’m sorry. Please forgive me. I believe that you came to earth and died in my place so that I could have eternal life with you. Please come and live inside my heart today.” If you prayed this, thank you and welcome to life now and forever with Jesus. Also please find a local church that teaches from the Bible and get plugged in. You have taken the first step but it will take the rest of your life to grow your relationship with Jesus.

-Chantry

 

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  • juliettsstyleglam January 24, 2017 at 6:03 am

    Amen. The world we live in today is strife with all forms of idolatry. Sometimes we ourselves don’t know. I told myself self the moment I can’t do without something, it has become an idol. Knowing when to say stop, I’m above this, is the beginning of one’s power over the things of the world.

  • Caitlin January 24, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    Very true and especially relevant in today’s day and age xx

    Caitlin, Beauty & Colour