As biblical and secular history recall the story of Hosea his wife Gomer and the peoples of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, we see in them a common thread. These were individuals and people of hardened heart, weak character, poor behavior and rebellious attitude. As a spiritual example they were unwise, undisciplined, and unfaithful. Biblically we view them unfavorably and use their lifestyle and their life choices as what not to do and how not to live. Yet, we know from oral and biblical traditions God loved them as His children. And although He had to warn, chastise, correct, judge and punish them many times over, we know that in His unending love and sovereign mercy He kept the Covenant promises He made to their forefathers.
For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed," says the Lord, who has compassion on you.
Is the Hosea story a cautionary tale for you and I to carefully consider? Reading and learning of the children of Israel has been important to our understanding not only the heart of God, but also of the heart of humankind - us. Are we in our own humanity not also capable of similar (if not the same) behavior and choices? Just as what we saw in the story of Hosea, Gomer and Israel has shaped what we believe about them, very distinct and real beliefs are shaped by what we see in ourselves and one another. And this my friends is why it so very important to love God with our whole heart and to love our neighbor as ourselves. This is one more significant connection point for us to Hosea and Israel - shaping what people believe about us through what they see in us. There are two strong components to this very outcome based principle. Both should be carefully considered and then consciously committed to our personal process.
One - Some people (family and friends) will never approve or like what they see in us, so what they believe about us will always be twisted and attached to their harsh judgments of us. How do we respond to those people? Simple... Maximize the opportunity to think the right things, say the right things, and do the right things anyway. God will approve you, and if they do not change their heart they will be confronted with the same judgment they used against you.
Two - We have only a small window of life opportunity for people (family and friends) to see in us the things that will influence what they believe about us. Maximize the opportunity to think the right things, say the right things, and do the right things! Use what God has given you to do and be someone that leads the people in your life to faith, hope, and love. God will approve you, and they will change their hearts and will be confronted by the same love that they see in you.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
For years Hosea's people had been a terrible example for people who were known as God's chosen people. As a result, they suffered for generations - it happens. They were judged by God under the old law and promises of His covenant with them. By most standards they are seen in history as an unfaithful and rebellious people - this has shaped what has been believed about them both justly and unjustly. That is a lasting legacy.
If we can faithfully commit to biblical outcome principles we create a legacy template of our own life, love, and faith that can be followed by the people we love most - our children, grandchildren, friends and neighbors. What they see in us will not only shape what they believe about us, but also shape and change what they believe about themselves and our God for years to come. God now see's and evaluates us under the new law and promises of His new covenant with us in Christ Jesus. When you and I live and behave in such a way that our people can truly see Jesus in us then we have shaped what they believe about us. That is a lasting legacy.
On the one hand, a former commandment is set aside because of its weakness and uselessness (for the law made nothing perfect); but on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God. And it was not without an oath. For those who formerly became priests were made such without an oath, but this one was made a priest with an oath by the one who said to him: "The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, 'You are a priest forever.'" This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant.