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A God of Mystery

It has been a while since my last post, but it has been a busy Summer! This is my first Summer with our Ardmore youth group and it has been a crazy adventure so far! But in the tiny spots of time that are slower paced I have had time to continue my study of the minor prophets that I started back a few months ago. Right now I am in Hosea and there was this huge contrast in God’s character that just jumped out at me that I hadn’t really found before and I found myself in awe. I’ll try to make this short and to the point (Right).
God is a mysterious God. No question. However, in this book (Hosea) we find God questioning himself. Now this is not the only time in scripture we find this but the contrast of the harsh language that is used for the destruction of the Northern Kingdom and God’s plea for His people is incredible. Check this out with me.

Hosea is God’s mouthpiece for the entirety of the book and he has some serious words for Ephraim of the Northern Kingdom of Israel in specific. He paints a picture of a people who have completely forsaken the Sinai covenant to chase after idols, pleasure, and even the “safety”of foreign powers. God describes His people as whores. Straight up! The term “whoredom” comes up sixteen times in Hosea (Jack Lewis, “The Minor Prophets”)! God compares His relationship with Ephraim as a husband with an unfaithful, adulterous wife chasing after other lovers. This is some really intimate imagery here. So the consequences?

Guys, this is where I encourage you to read this book through to the end. This book is so heartbreaking in that God’s people who were rescued and cared for like newborn children, rebel against him so willingly. God will come and He will shame his people.

” Therefore, I will take back my grain in its time, and my wine in its season; and I will take away my wool and flax, which were to cover her nakedness. Now I will uncover her shame in the sight of her lovers, and no one shall rescue her our of my hand.” –Hosea 2:9-10

But the crazy thing is, is that it seems God is not completely sold on completely destroying them. Again, you need to read the whole book to see just how harsh his language is towards the Israelite people, but check this out.

“Therefore, I will now allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her (about Israel).– Hosea 2:14

I mean, after reading about so much destruction and the pain it will bring these people for several chapters, this kind of language is quite shocking! As mentioned before, Hosea uses a lot of marriage imagery to compare to Israel’s relationship with God but then we see God’s heart again, but in a new light in chapter 11.

“When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son… I led them with cords of human kindness, with bands of love. I was to them like those who lift infants to their cheeks. I bent down to them and fed them.” -Hosea 11:1-5

Oh and this is where it starts to get me. Are you ready? God really questions himself.

“How can I give you up, Ephraim?… My heart recoils within me; my compassion grows warm and tender. I will not execute my fierce anger; for I am God and no mortal, and the Holy One in your midst, and I will not come in wrath.” – Hosea 11:8-9

Now, I’m not here to argue about God’s providence and how God makes up his mind. What I am arguing for is that God’s desire to be intimate and close to His people is so so evident within scripture and this book is a shining example of that desire. How vast and deep is God’s heart for His people that He will go to any length to “allure her” and win her heart back?

So, of course our question is the same as Israel’s question: Are we a people; a church who’s hearts are not wholeheartedly for God’s? Are we authentic in what we give and how we serve in the name of the God that we worship? Do we see that even though God is powerful and to be feared that His heart is devoted to us? More importantly, does this knowledge change the way we do life?

-Chase

 

How Can I Give You Up?