Wednesday, October 22, 2008

God, I have a better idea....

I am reading Hosea right now, thanks to the encouragement of one of the young men on our youth group retreat this past weekend. What a heartbreaking book. The consistency and intensity with which we turn from God is remarkable. God asks Hosea to marry a prostitute, knowing she will betray Hosea again and again with her worldly selfishness, passion for material objects, and willingness to act confidently for her own survival. God uses Hosea as a picture of his faithfulness to provide, even when we are boldly sinful enough to bite the very hand the feeds us, curse the voice that comforts us, and turn from the face that loves us.

Hosea's wife runs to her lovers for their wines and grains and blankets, but they are really gifts from God that she cannot comprehend. They are blessings of God that she turns into worldly acknowledgments of what she gives to her lovers. The very gifts God gives her, even in her sin, are what she uses to justify her depravity.

"She said, 'I will go to my after my lovers, who give me my bread and my water, my fool and my flex, my oil and my drink....For she does not know it was I who gave her the grain, the new wine and the oil, who lavished on her silver and gold , which they used for Baal." -Hoseas 2:5a, 8

I think we are this prostitute more often than we'd like to think; I know I am. We don't acknowledge where blessings came from. We see something come to us and immediately work out in our minds the actions we took to earn it through our work.

The last part of that verse gets me: "[God] lavished on her silver and gold, which they used for Baal." God pours out beautiful things to me--not even things I need for survival, like bread, but silver and gold that I turn and use to serve other gods. How often do we take what we've earned at our jobs (you know, the jobs we work so hard at!) and take that financial blessings to serve other gods: materialism, selfishness, etc.?

This is not what I sat down to write. But it is what God placed on my heart this morning in my own life. ("Placed on my heart?" What does that even mean?) God is teaching me through a very stubborn wall I didn't even realize I'd built slowly over time.

How great is our God? Sing with me.