Theme of the Week: Hosea
Bible Verse: “Then the LORD said to me, ‘Go and love your wife again, even though she commits adultery with another lover.’” Hosea 3:1
Scripture Reading: Hosea 3:1-5
In this short chapter, God again commands his prophet to attach himself to an unfaithful woman. Yet this was to be a relationship without benefits. The woman was to remain entirely chaste. Despite her adventurous history, she was to refrain from sexual relations, even with the man who brought her into his home.
Hosea’s tortured love life embodies a message about the religious and political circumstances in Israel at the time. People then were more inclined to worship fertility gods than they were to be true to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Hosea warned that this unfaithfulness would cost them dearly, that for some indefinite season they would not be able to worship any god or be ruled by their own leaders. Forced abstinence.
There are times in most people’s lives when our deeds catch up to us, constraining our freedoms and restricting our ability to pander to our natural inclinations. We get hit where it hurts, be it in our wallets, workplaces or worship centres. Such times confront us with the consequences of our choices.
This can be a good thing.
Like a parent giving a child a time-out in the corner to adjust an attitude, a divinely-orchestrated a withdrawal from indulgence can help any of us to see more clearly and live more wisely. This means shedding our wayward behaviours, and tuning into patterns of living that God endorses and promotes.
The bottom line, in this chapter and in common experience, is that freedom returns God’s people when we “come in awe to the Lord and to his goodness” (3:5). This can take a while, if only because we tend to be quite set in our ways. God, however, is willing to persevere through our stubbornness and return our autonomy when we are ready to handle it.
Prayer: O God, I love to indulge my own desires and control all aspects of my life. Yet I know there are times when my ways are not your ways, and that when I persist in my own strength I run into trouble. Cut me off before I destroy your good work in me. Amen.
These writings were previously published in theStory by Scripture Union. Used with permission.
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