Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Free fall..

This week at church, Brian and I talked about the story of Hosea and Gomer.  God told the Prophet Hosea to marry Gomer, a prostitute.  After the couple had three children and spent several years together, Gomer left.  She had all she could take of the new family life and returned to the life of a prostitute.  Gomer soon found prositution did not produce what she had hoped.  She was left empty and alone.  God asked Hosea to reclaim Gomer as his wife.  Hosea obeyed and purchased Gomer back for 15 pieces of silver plus other earthly treasures.  I am certain there is significance in the fact that Hosea had to:

  1. Obey God even when it was tough.
  2. Forgive Gomer even when she had betrayed the marriage covenant.
  3. Pay a great deal of money to buy her back.
Life lesson:  obedience, forgiveness, and sacrifice are at the heart of those who love Christ

The story of Hosea is a picture of the love God has for His church.  Jesus exemplified the willingness to submit to God and obey even when it was excruciatingly painful.  Why do we assume obedience should be easy and pain-free?  God repeatedly forgave Israel and repeatedly forgives us for our acts of betrayal.  How can we want forgiveness for our lives, and not extend it to others?  It cost God his greatest treasure to buy us back from eternal death and offer us a new life of real hope.  Why should we believe a life devoted to Christ should not cost us our treasures? 

Lessons from Hosea:

  1. God’s call to obedience should be tough.  I love what Brian said about obedience, “If what God is calling you to doesn’t scare you to death and require complete dependence upon Him, what you are doing for God is probably insulting to Him.”  Obedience is not simple, it should require great faith.  You cannot predict or create God’s plan for your life, it requires a free fall from your will into His.  It should be challenging and stretch you.  Flex your faith muscle, the pain means the muscle is growing stronger!
  2. Forgiveness should be our norm.  Christ always stands ready to forgive when we fail.  We depend upon His forgiveness, because we are not perfect.  To be like Christ, our lives should model a generous forgiveness.  I once heard a pastor say, “Dead people can’t be offended.”  When we die to ourselves, we will not stand offended trying to convince others of how we have been wronged, but instead will view forgiveness as an act of worship as we are made like Christ.
  3. We should be willing to sacrifice.  This doesn’t just mean our time and talents, it means our money.  The life of Jesus screamed sacrifice in every area; we should give until it requires faith for God’s provision.  When we hold back our money, we become like Judas who sold Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.  Isn’t the contrast between Hosea’s sacrifice of 15 pieces of silver to buy back his wayward wife and Judas’ betrayal of the Messiah for 30 pieces of silver so striking!  A great measure of where you heart truly is can be determined by a quick look at your bank records.  Give sacrificially and depend upon Him to make up the difference.  He is faithful!

This story of an obedient prophet named Hosea has great implications for my life.  I am certain he did not understand much of what God called him to do.  However, Hosea could only see the present circumstance and situation.  God could look through the portals of time and see me reading the story and basking in the love of a God who is willing to sacrifice His best gift for a wayward sinner like me.  I am so thankful Hosea obeyed.  I am so thankful God’s forgiveness and grace are big enough for any sin.  I am challenged to allow God to take the reigns of control of my life and obey even when it doesn’t make sense to me.  He has called me to crazy faith.  This lifestyle includes forgiveness readily available.  It also includes the call to give sacrificially even when the cost is higher than what I can afford to pay.  Free falling………

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