I've never liked studying history much.
But for some reason, anytime I see a movie, documentary, or article on slavery in the colonies or the Holocaust, it's like I have to know more.
That may sound like a strange admission, but for some reason I am drawn to those two atrocities and I've never been able to articulate why... until today.
You see, my bible reading took me to the book of Hosea. And it was there that I had one of those "Aha," moments.
If you don't know much about Hosea, he was a prophet whom how God told to marry a prostitute. Strange, I know. But God had a purpose. He was trying to give the people of Israel a vivid picture of how they looked to Him.
Well this woman became Hosea's wife. They had three children, and then she left him and returned to her former life. And what I was reading today was right about that point. And God told Hosea to go find his wife...
The Lord said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.” Hosea 3:1
This is just so amazing to me.
God chose His words carefully when He said, "go show your love." He didn't tell Hosea to, "go get her and judge her." He didn't tell him to, "drag her back and make her obey."
But what would you want to do if you were Hosea? I mean, short of NOT going? If it were me, I'd want to just bring her back quietly and ignore her. I'm not big on conflict, so I'd really take my time on this one. But if I was able to 'show her' my love, you can bet that I'd also get around to showing it off in front of others. Like, let me just post a pic of us for everyone to see how great I am for overlooking your cheating. But that's not what Hosea did.
Which then makes me wonder what the wife is thinking. I mean, really. Here is this man you left to go back to prostitution. And he is paying for you... buying you back, even though he's legally your husband.
Obviously she struggled to see herself as a free woman. She had to be filled with doubt, constantly attacked with thoughts of unworthiness from years of being enslaved to prostitution. Think of all the lies running through her head. It's no wonder she returned to her old life.
And as much as I hate to admit it, that's the picture of my life too. I constantly feel like I have to earn my way to a perfect life. All my striving, grasping, begging for attention, likes and followers... when God has already paid the ultimate price and we are free to walk away from everything we chain ourselves to.
There are no rules that bind us.
Only the ones we keep locked up in our minds. They are the ones that own us. The lies that say we aren't enough. The religion that screams we must do more to earn God's love and attention.
So look how God chooses to free us...
“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."
Hosea 2:15 NIV
In order for God to get our attention, He will often get us away from the noise and chaos of what's distracting us. And He'll take us to the wilderness. For me, it's the dry, empty place I've been cursing and complaining about? You too?
But we need to know that it's intentional. It's for our own good! Because it's there that He wants to 'speak tenderly' to us. How BEAUTIFUL is that?
And in that place, He's planning to GIVE to us... to fill us with what we need. But we must be still and listen. We can't continue to run our mouths with complaint or we'll never hear Him. (I'm talking to me as well, by the way!)
Oh how God's ways are unlike anything of this world.
And finally there is this.
And it's this, which God struck my heart today...
“In that day,” declares the Lord,
“you will call me ‘my husband’;
you will no longer call me ‘my master.’
I will remove the names of the Baals from her lips;
no longer will their names be invoked."
Hosea 2:16-17 NIV
This was my lesson... the NEW thing that enlightened. For some reason, God moved me to search the meaning of the word Baal. It means owner. Look how this is in stark contrast to what God wants us to call Him... husband.
He doesn't want us bowing down to Him out of fear, like a slave. That's what it's like when we (and I mean me) worship the things of this world. They keep us oppressed and in bondage, never satisfying.
If you're a slave to a master, you pray because you have to.
If you're a bride to a husband, you talk to Him because you want to.
If you're a slave to a master, you read the rule book to know what not to do.
If you're a bride to a husband, you read the Bible to know Him more.
If you're a slave to a master, you work to avoid punishment.
If you're a bride to a husband, you serve to show Him your love.
If you're a slave to a master, you are owned... in bondage.
If you're a bride to a husband, you are chosen... in freedom.
Oh how God has freed my soul.
Oh how God has lifted my spirit.
Now I see why I've always been so fascinated by the history of slavery and oppression. Could it be, because I keep running back to my old life? Could it be, because I am daily in need of deliverance?
Won't you let Him free you today?
Put it to the test.
Next time you're challenged or concerned about rules or religion, or you find yourself judging other's actions, ask yourself, "Is this causing me to be slave to a master, or bride to a husband?"
The Lord said...
I will betroth you to me forever;
I will betroth you in righteousness and justice,
in love and compassion.
Hosea 2:18 NIV
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