I’ve started studying the book of Hosea and I’m reminded of the great imagery Hosea’s life is for how God treats His children. If you haven’t read the book of Hosea, it’s about a prophet named Hosea (surprise right?) whom God task with an important job. He instructs Hosea to marry a prostitute, yes a prostitute and warns him that she will continually be unfaithful to him, but he’s to keep going after her. Sounds like a fun marriage right? I mean seriously, who wants a relationship with someone, in marriage or friendship, who continues being unfaithful, constantly leaving you because they can’t find contentment? But God has a reason for what seems like a crazy plan. He tells Hosea that his marriage to this prostitute will stand as an example:
“When the Lord began to speak through Hosea, the Lord said to him, “Go, marry a promiscuous woman and have children with her, for like an adulterous wife this land is guilty of unfaithfulness to the Lord” Hosea 1:2
The Israelites, God’s chosen people, were constantly worshiping idols, and living lives that were opposite of what He wanted them to live. Now, we can’t begin to judge the Israelites for their unfaithfulness because we are just like them. We too follow idols in the form of people, places, and things. God will do to us as He did to the Israelites, and that is to strip everything away causing us to realize He is our everything. He will get our attention in any way He can because He’s doesn’t want to lose us, He wants our devotion, which is well deserved for everything He’s done for us. The Israelites began giving credit to Baal, worshipping other gods, giving gifts to their idols, and they forgot all about God and the fact everything they had came from Him. He’s not being mean to the Israelites here, just like He’s not being mean to us when He punishes us for our unfaithfulness. He’s trying to get us to this point:
“Then she will think, I might as well return to my husband, for I was better off with Him than I am now.” Hosea 2:7b
While it’s good to come back to God it’s also important to remember that things were better with God, because He’s the source of our EVERYTHING.
“I will run after other lovers and sell myself to them for food and water, for clothing of wool and linen and for oil and drinks.” Hosea 2:5b
Here’s the underlying reason, I believe we, like Israel, struggle with idol worship: DISCONTENTMENT. We don’t realize what we have before us, we see what others have and want it. The scary point is when we get it and something good happens, or we feel better when we get what they have, then we believe the lie that the thing, place, or person is the source of our joy.
I struggled with this a lot during and after my Disney College Program. I’d credit my happiness with the people I met and the things I got to experience. I had to constantly remind myself, that Disney and the fun I experienced were not the sources of my joy, they were not what gave me a feeling of completion. Disney is just a place, a wonderful place yes, but a place that will one day be gone. God used Disney as a place of growth and encouragement for me, but it wasn’t the source of my hope and joy.
It’s sad the measures God has to go to make us wake up and realize the truth. But just as He did with the Israelites, He’ll do to us when we acknowledge Him as our provider, our One, and Only God.
He’ll redeem us back.
“At that time I will plant a crop of Israelites and raise them for myself. I will show love to those I called ‘Not loved. And to those I called ‘Not my people,’ I will say, ‘Now you are my people.’ And they will reply, ‘You are our God!’” Hosea 2:23
WAYS TO COMBAT DISCONTENT
- Distinguishing the what God uses as tools from the real source of our hope and joy
- God used a lot of great people, experiences, and Disney overall as a place of happiness, hope, and encouragement, but the happiness, hope, and encouragement didn’t come from Disney or the people, it came from God.
- We also need to be grateful for what He’s given us and not look for other avenues to what we’ve asked for but have yet to receive.
- He gives us what we need when we need it, not when we think we need it. This goes back to remembering that our thoughts and His thoughts are on completely different plains.
- “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.” Isaiah 55:8
- We need to pray for eyes to see as He sees and value what He values, NOT seeing things the world tells us we need or valuing what the world values.
- The more time we spend with Him in His Word our perspective will change and become more like His.
Lord, help me not forget that everything I have comes from your blessings. May I categorize things the right way so I don’t become confused and credit the wrong source. You alone are my source of hope, joy, encouragement, and life. Thank you for the tools you use and thank you that when I stumble, you’re ready to receive me back when I come. Amen