Productivity: Creating Conquest not Consequences
Chapters 11–14, are the emotional climax of Hosea's preaching and message to Israel. They look back to the climactic moments in the history of Israel, the Northern Kingdom - both the conquests and the consequences. Chapter 14 looks forward to the day when God's people repent and redirect, a day when He can love them as His people and they can love Him as their one and only true God. All of these chapters bring to a head the constant swing between God's determination to discipline and correct his rebellious and unfaithful people, and his eternal love that clearly reveals His heart to bring salvation and reward for a disciplined and faithful people. We can clearly see the struggle of Hosea to preach and write about both. Hosea knew in spite of the message of judgment and punishment, God would be true to Himself. A Holy and just God, allowing for the present life consequences of rebellion and disobedience, and the holy and loving God the Father, allowing for new starts, overcoming the past, and conquering the future. These chapters give a context to God as if He were wrestling with himself. Yet, in the end, his book rests on the image of a loving, righteous, redeeming and holy father. It will eventually become clear by chapter 14, that God will make provision for the return and conquest of His people. We all must choose whether we will live in and for that conquest, or continue to flounder and fail in our consequences.
Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God, for you have stumbled because of your iniquity. Take with you words and return to the Lord; say to him, "Take away all iniquity; accept what is good, and we will pay with bulls the vows of our lips. Assyria shall not save us; we will not ride on horses; and we will say no more, 'Our God,' to the work of our hands. In you the orphan finds mercy."
Both Israel and Gomer (wife of Hosea), found themselves floundering, failing and unraveling in the face of crippling consequences brought about by their own repeatedly rebellious behavior and deeply flawed choices. Hosea delivered the prophetic word of the Lord to them - the good and the bad. We all want good news - never bad news, and yet in life there is both. The bad news is even worse sometimes when we realize or own up to our contributions in creating our own difficult consequences. Here is the bad news that Hosea delivered not only to Israel, but to his own wife.
Hear the word of the Lord, O children of Israel, for the Lord has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land. There is no faithfulness or steadfast love, and no knowledge of God in the land; there is swearing, lying, murder, stealing, and committing adultery; they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed. Therefore the land mourns, and all who dwell in it languish, and also the beasts of the field and the birds of the heavens, and even the fish of the sea are taken away. Yet let no one contend, and let none accuse, for with YOU is my contention, O priest. You shall stumble by day; the prophet also shall stumble with you by night; and I will destroy your mother. My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.
Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption...
Rebellion and sin have natural and logical consequences that can crush our hopes and dreams, and eventually destroy plans, promise, and progress. Pursuing a life path that habitually feeds and gratifies our flesh will create a sequence of temporal consequences that will keep us from ever reaching the desired and productive outcome we have imagined for our life and legacy. This is on us - not God.
Stay longer -pray harder - dig deeper, because within this tragic message of pending judgments, twists of fate, and the bizarre expectations of Hosea, there remains in place the covenant promise of God - even for the reckless and rebellious people of Israel. Embedded in the story of Hosea there is a word of knowledge and wisdom for us today. What is it? Conquest. Jesus is our covenant promise - He is our Word - He is our Conquest. When we live in good faith and right heart relationship in Christ, then the good news that we want and need to hear comes continually to us through the presence of the Holy Spirit, and conquest of Jesus Christ our Lord! Here is the good news Hosea had to give.
I will heal their apostasy; I will love them freely, for my anger has turned from them. I will be like the dew to Israel; he shall blossom like the lily; he shall take root like the trees of Lebanon; his shoots shall spread out; his beauty shall be like the olive, and his fragrance like Lebanon. They shall return and dwell beneath my shadow; they shall flourish like the grain; they shall blossom like the vine; their fame shall be like the wine of Lebanon.
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, "Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.
Repentant hearts and Redirected Minds have both spiritual and covenant (everlasting) consequences that can restore our hopes and dreams, and rebuild plans, promise and progress. Pursuing a life path that faithfully feeds and nurtures the Spirit will create sequence of eternal conquests that will propel us forward to spiritual conquest, able to fully realize the desired and productive outcomes we have imagined for our life and legacy. This is on God - not us.
1 John 5:1-4
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of
God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world— our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
In the original Hebrew Hosea uses the term shub. Shub simply means "to turn, return or repent. Hosea says God will heal his people's many “turnings." But Hosea's message is clear; People who turn away from God - must return to God. Then God will turn to them with healing and conquest because he can and will love them freely. He will show mercy, He will forgive, He will not hold a grudge, He will save, He will heal, He will redeem, He will lead us to conquest.
Answer God's call, not that of politicians, false gods, or self and neutral gods.
Do not depend on religion to make peace with God - seek real relationship in Christ Jesus, there you will find peace.
Do not reduce God to an emergency default as a fall back to get you out of trouble that you yourself have created.
Talk openly and honestly with God, with no attempt to deceive Him or yourself.
Treat all people with love and justice while you wait for God's salvation and conquest.
Serve the Lord as the only true and living God of the universe.
Give God all the respect, honor, and credit - taking none for yourself.