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June 17th - Sticks and Stones

Sticks and Stones

(Hosea 1-3)


Hosea and Gomer

Artist Unknown


Sticks and stones can’t mend my bones,

But God’s own Word can save me.

L.A.N.


The Old Testament Hebrews were often enticed by those around them to bow to man-made idols, false gods made of sticks and stones and straw. Of course, these crafted items could not rescue them from danger or provide for their daily needs. How these counterfeit practices must have devastated the heart of the one true God, who eagerly awaited their dependence and worship.


What idols do we bow to today? What false answers do we seek for our needs? On whose plans and purposes will we depend?


Do you believe in arranged marriages? How about a match made in Heaven?


The Old Testament prophet Hosea surely believed. In fact, God instructed Hosea to marry an adulterous woman named Gomer. Many Bible scholars actually believe Gomer was a prostitute. Hosea, on the other hand, would likely have been a legitimate candidate for wearing a purity ring.


Hosea obeyed the Lord and married the promiscuous Gomer, who continued her unfaithfulness even after their nuptials and the beginning of their family together.


Have you ever wondered what others might have thought, to see a godly man like Hosea hooking up with a flagrantly lascivious, immoral and impure woman like Gomer? What sort of gossip must have gone around? What stinging words must have been said? What sticks and stones may have been thrown?


Why would the Lord plan such a thing?


The relationship between the faithful Hosea and the faithless Gomer offers a telling picture of the Lord’s own love for His people. God called the children of Israel to be His own chosen family of men, even as an ancient bridegroom might call and cherish His bride.


Throughout Biblical history, the people of God continually followed cycles of faith and faithlessness, obedience and disobedience, propriety and paganism, truth and falsehood. Despite their failings, the Lord never gave up on His own. He never stopped calling them back to repentance and restoration.


How tempting it may be for us to wag our fingers at the ancient Hebrews for their inconsistency. However, do we do any better? Certainly, none of us achieves complete commitment – at least, not for long – without the Lord’s own power, protection and grace.


Like Hosea’s cherished, but faithless, wife, we are all lured by alluring temptations of many forms. But our adoring Adonai beckons us back into His holy arms with mercy and wholeness.


What love! What grace! What a God.


Will you pray with me?


Precious One,

How we love You.

You have purchased us

From our own desires

And disobedience.

You have called us Your own.

We belong to You.

Hold us close to Your heart,

So that we may know You

And adore You.

Thank You for Your promise

To hold us forever.

How grateful we are

For your never-ending loving-kindness

And your amazing grace.

We are unworthy,

But You are more than worthy.

Amen.


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