What kind of person can keep on loving and keep on giving while being spurned and shunned?
That’s what we see happening between the Prophet Hosea and his wife Gomer.
That’s what we see happening between God and Israel.
And that’s what we see happening between God and us.
It’s easy to be critical of Israel and her infatuation with Baal, but isn’t it interesting that we do exactly what Israel did?
We, too, receive good things from God … and then we turn around and offer them to idols.
(Just because we don’t name them “Baal” doesn’t mean they are not idols.)
Our potential idols’ names are:
All those things – everything we allegedly own – is in reality owned by God.
Not just 10% of it, but ALL of it!
Everything we enjoy! It’s all on loan from God!
Ironically, though, all of those things can become idols.
Income? Do we squeak out 10% to give back to Him and feel quite proud of ourselves?
(Read the book Mover of Men and Mountains by R.G. LaTourneau. It will give you a whole new perspective on that!)
Homes? Do we use our homes to bring blessing to others or do we withhold our homes because of the idol of “pride”?
It’s too small. It’s too dusty. It’s not nice enough, we say.
(Years later, I’m still amazed at our daughter and son-in-law. For a short period of their lives, they had five young children and one bedroom. The children all slept in the bedroom, and the parents’ slept in a king-sized bed in the very small living room. Yet they continued to open their home graciously to others – even having friends over for dinner – in spite of their dime-sized kitchen and tiny table. They clearly understood the principle of using the gift of their home — small though it was — to bring glory to God.)
What about career? Garden? Spouse? Children? Do we have a pattern of allowing the pressures of our career and family life keep us from sharing our gifts and from gathering with the body of Christ?
Computers? Cell phones? Do we spend more time on them than we do with the God who gifted us with them? Do we use them to indulge in sinful behaviors?
Heaven forbid that we would allow gifts from the hand of God to be turned into idols!
God created the trees in the forest, placed iron in the ground, and gifted them to man.
He gave man the brains to make an axe and nails from the iron — a gift.
He gave man the energy to cut down trees and the skill to fashion the wood into beams — gifts.
God gave man the cleverness to make a handle from the wood, and head from the iron, and the “know-how” to combine them into an effective hammer.
And what did man do with these gifts?
He took the beams, the nails, and the hammer and nailed Jesus to the Cross …
the place where He willingly stretched out His arms and died …
the place where He took the guilt and penalty of our sin …
the place where He restored the relationship between God and man (if man would but believe and receive it).
We are prone to wander away from this gift-giving God.
But, like Hosea … He keeps on loving. He keeps on giving.
What kind of love is that anyway?
Oh, that we would capture a fresh new glimpse of His ownership over the gifts we enjoy and use each one to serve Him …
with all our heart, with all our mind, and with all our soul. ~Matthew 22:37