I know as I write these stories about the prophets I am being far too brief. The list of things to say far outpaces the spaces I have to write. Maybe someday I will do a verse by verse of one of these prophets. For now though my goal is to show that each of these men have something to say to us today, If we will but listen and hearken to their words our lives will be wonderfully changed. After all isn’t that what should happen when we gaze into the mirror of the Word of God? JE
Statue of the prophet Hosea sculpted by Aleijadinho in front of the church of the sanctuary of Bom Jesus of Matosinhos at Congonhas, Minas Gerais, Brazil Photograph by:(Eric Gaba – Wikimedia Commons user: Sting)
The prophets were men dedicated to unquestioning obedience of the God they served. They had to be. At times He asked much of them.
“When the LORD first began speaking to Israel through Hosea, he said to him, “Go and marry a prostitute, so some of her children will be born to you from other men. This will illustrate the way my people have been untrue to me, openly committing adultery against the LORD by worshiping other gods.” (Hosea 1:2 NLT)
What gets me is not just God’s request but the fact that Hosea went and did what God had told him. What price does God ask of us? If nothing else we have to learn that following God is not for sissies. It takes dedication, obedience and even a willingness to walk with pain in this world.
Yet God does nothing in our lives for sadistic pleasure. Every one of His purposes is redemptive. When God called Hosea to marry Gomer He planned on Gomer’s redemption from prostitution. When Hosea stayed the course, Gomer eventually changed to become the faithful wife. Hosea was blessed himself.
More than that, though, through Hosea, Israel was notified that her adulterous idolatry with the god Baal was going to be judged, not because God hated her, but because He loved her.
God said “She doesn’t realize that it was I who gave her everything she has–the grain, the wine, the olive oil. Even the gold and silver she used in worshiping the god Baal were gifts from me!But now I will take back the wine and ripened grain I generously provided each harvest season. I will take away the linen and wool clothing I gave her to cover her nakedness….I will destroy her vineyards and orchards, things she claims her lovers gave her. I will let them grow into tangled thickets, where only wild animals will eat the fruit. I will punish her for all the times she deserted me, when she burned incense to her images of Baal, put on her earrings and jewels, and went out looking for her lovers,” says the LORD.”But then I will win her back once again. I will lead her out into the desert and speak tenderly to her there. I will return her vineyards to her and transform the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of hope. She will give herself to me there, as she did long ago when she was young, when I freed her from her captivity in Egypt.” (Hosea 2:8,9, 12-15 NLT)
We humans are prone to wandering away from God and so God at times sends us into “the Valley of Trouble” in order to wake us up to the fact that we need Him. You see in the Valley of Trouble our ties to our carnal lovers are severed. Trouble itself is often the removal of things we are too attached to in the first place, things we don’t need and maybe shouldn’t have. But oh how it hurts when those carnal lovers are removed.
A short time ago, I sat with a woman who had lost her home to foreclosure. I expected her to speak bitterly about how God had deserted her.
Instead she said “There are worse things than losing your home. I have God and look at this beautiful apartment the Father has provided for me!”
In her “Valley of Trouble” this woman had found a door of hope. She never said losing her home was a great thing.She did realize there were reasons for it. She refused to be tied to her earthly home more than to her Heavenly Father. She decided that if her home was a carnal lover then she was content to kill it in order to worship Jesus, the lover of her soul. In her attitude of worship she determined that she would not long mourn the loss of her earthly possessions. Instead she asserted her spirit to overcome the loss with love for Christ as a witness and example to her brothers and sisters in the church.
We all have carnal lovers. God is about the business of ripping us away from their arms by any and all means necessary. What is it going to take?