Wow! Yesterday's message, based on Wix analytics, struck home with several folk, some off-line expressing agreement, others concern. If you were neither of those, perhaps you'll check it out.
This morning as I opened Hosea, I had hoped to quickly move on, long disciplined to push through some of the most negative gripes of the prophets. After all, it is all about ancient Isreal, right?
If you're just trying to start your day off on the right foot, ancient Isreal's woes, in fact, even today's Isreal, can surely wear you down!
However, the mystery of the Word is such that love is always leaking, if we listen.
I was struck almost immediately by the redemptive nature of Hosea's words in Chapter 2. Yes, at first he continues his rant about this woman assigned to him, driven by lust, faced with constant loss, burning through her provision, even while birthing children. Then suddenly it seems, Grace begins to speak through him.
I found my heart aching as if I had met this woman! I truly have over the years, numerous times. Often listening to their stories, holding them awkwardly as they wept. Some then almost immediately leaving that setting of shameful lament, gripped by the need for some fleeting moment of false security, only to be lured into the arms of another.
Why do we, yes we, both male and female knowingly allow ourselves to prey off each other, maybe not to the degree described, nor even the same vice. For some, perhaps a quite different vice; drugs per se, or the more subtle but equally illicit business deal, for the sake of profit. After all, it's just business, or perhaps, just politics, right?
Herein is where I sensed beauty in Hosea's writings:
“Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. There she will respond as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt. “In that day,” declares the Lord, “you will call me ‘my husband’; you will no longer call me ‘my master.’"
Hosea 2: 14-16 KJV.
Hosea seems inspired as he uses language which his subject would understand: "allure" , a word that connotes tempting, enticing, seductive.
Love always begins where we are, then opens a door of hope.
Why do I know this, before Christ I too lived here, broken, insecure and out of control!
For your reference, the valley of Achor is named after Achan, who was stoned to death there for bringing trouble upon Israel by disobeying God's command. The word "Achor" means "trouble," "affliction," or "taboo". The valley symbolizes the kind of trouble, pain, loss, and destruction that results from disobedience.
Though scripture often gives God a bum rap, we seldom get what we deserve for our storied life styles when apart from grace. I same bum rap, as I believe scripture captures words inspired, as well as the character of the writer.
The writer when hearing from the Spirit, must sort words inspired from their own distain and personal pain, thus scripture povidentially captures us as well as God. I find this intriguing!
Yet, this Being who is love will always be about providing a door of hope at the end of our Achor! Religion, our attempt at framing this Being called God, will more likely tend toward our stoning! Don't confuse the two!
The mystery of the text is baffling until Love is heard from deep down in the heart! Thus the necessity of the Word becoming flesh, so briefly dwelling among us...providing a door of hope!