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A Little Walk With God

A daily devotional through the Bible narrated as if walking through the garden east of Eden with God. Scriptures come from a daily reading plan that take you through the Bible in one year, generally coming from The Voice. Our website is http://alittlewalkwithgod.com or http://richardagee.com
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Now displaying: January, 2018

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Thanks for listening.

Richard

Jan 29, 2018

A daily devotional walking through God's word together using The Bible Reading Plan at http://www.bible-reading.com/bible-plan.html. Our website http://alittlewalkwithgod.com.

Bible Reading Plan - www.Bible-Reading.com; The Story, Chapter 19; You Version Bible app Engaging God's Story Reading Plan Days 127 through 133

Since I was a kid I enjoyed art. Off and on, I have tried my hand at various forms of drawing, painting with oils, acrylics, and watercolors. I have a closet full of paper, canvases, brushes, a pretty nice easel, and all the equipment necessary to create masterpieces. Only I’ve never created a masterpiece.

I have several canvases with backgrounds partially finished and some of the subject sketched in, but I’ll have to admit that it has been at least five or six years since I’ve picked up a paint brush. I’m not even sure I know what I was thinking about painting when I first started those projects several years ago. They just sit in the back of the closet gathering dust and waiting for me to pick up the urge to start up my hobby again.

I’ve also purchased just about every cardio piece of equipment that has come out. Stair stepper. Treadmill. Stationary bicycle. Elliptical. I had every intention of starting and keeping up good exercise regimens to stay fit. What I can tell you is that the best coat rack is the stair stepper.

I also have a lot of tools, many of which I really couldn’t put my hands on if you gave me an hour to find them. They are scattered all over the house and garage. I have every intention of organizing them someday because I purchased them to make and fix things. But alas, they have gone the way of many of my hobbies. They were set aside and forgotten.

Unfinished projects. That’s what the prophet Haggai admonished the Israelites for when he wrote to them 2500 years ago. Cyrus let the Israelites go back to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. Isaiah had told them it would happen and even named Cyrus as the benevolent king that would let them do it.

50,000 Israelites set out to do exactly that. They journed over 500 miles to rebuild their temple and reestablish their worship in the house God designed for himself so many centuries earlier. But now sixteen years later, their project stopped. Maybe they got busy on their own houses. Maybe they got busy with their businesses. Maybe they got the sixteen year flu. Whatever the reason, they forgot their mission and quit their work on the temple. Haggai comes on the scene and tells them about their negligence.

The people who returned with Ezra worked well for a few months on the temple but then quit. The temple was still in shambles. The city walls were still down. Those who saw the city looked and wondered why the people didn’t care about their God because they spent their time on their own comforts instead of on worshiping Him. It tells what is important to them. And it wasn’t God.

The same questions can be asked of us. You can look in my closet and know that painting is not really important to me or I would have finished those paintings that are gathering dust. You can look at my tool room and know that making and fixing things really isn’t important to me or my tools would be well organized and well kept. Unfortunately, you can tell exercise isn’t really important to me by putting me on a scale.

But I don’t want the same to be said of me about God. So as we’re about to end this first month of the new year, how do we make sure we keep God first in our lives? What can we do to change our attitude and avoid making God just another project that gets put in the back of the closet this year?

First, we need to remember that God is not a project. God is everything. He is the Creator of all things. He gives us breath and sustenance. He is the one that makes life possible. He gives us the beauty around us and the eyes to see that beauty. God is. And He must be first in our life. He is not a project.

Second, God is not something to be scheduled into our calendar. I think that’s the problem many of us have. We decide we will schedule time for God and try to work Him into our busy schedule. But it can’t work that way. You see that doesn’t let God be the priority in your life. Instead, schedule your busy schedule around God. Make Him the priority in your life. Work your schedule around Him, not the other way around. If He is on your calendar, make other things secondary and push them around, not God. Rearrange their times and dates, not God’s. Let Him be the priority on your calendar.

Third, Remember what Jesus told us, “Seek first, the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things, will be give you as well.” Look for, seek after, long for, race to His finish line, Only when we keep God as our priority can all the rest of life be put in the proper perspective. But when we do, then life prospers. Maybe not in the way the world thinks about prosperity, with gold and silver and shiny beads, but with an intimate relationship with God.

Remember God wants to restore a face-to-face relationship with each of us. He has used His chosen people, the Israelites to show us how to have that intimate relationship. As we look at their history and study their successes and their mistakes, we can see what we must do individually and collectively to find God’s favor in our lives.

God sent Haggai to the ancient nation of Israel to warn them against forgetting their first priority. If we listen to words God gave Haggai and apply them to ourselves, we can avoid the plight of the Israelites. We can remain true to the One, True and Living God. We can be assured a place in the garden He has prepared for us. A place where He will walk with us in the cool of the day to commune with us forever.

What does you calendar look like? Do you work God around your day or do you work your day around God? There is a huge difference in how you approach your calendar and your life as to how you answer that one question. Mull it over to day. Make sure you answer it the way God wants you to answer it.

Jan 22, 2018

A daily devotional walking through God's word together using The Bible Reading Plan at http://www.bible-reading.com/bible-plan.html. Our website http://alittlewalkwithgod.com.

Bible Reading Plan - www.Bible-Reading.com; The Story, Chapter 18; You Version Bible app Engaging God's Story Reading Plan Days 120 through 126

Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are not exactly household names. Maybe Daniel, but certainly not the other three. Of course, if you’ve been around the church for a while, you might have heard the stories of these three young men and their exploits with a furnace. You might remember their refusal to bow and the king’s fury that put them into a furnace so hot that it killed the guards as they approached it. You might remember the fourth figured that appeared in the fire that resumed them from the flames so that they didn’t even smell like smoke.

But I don’t want to talk about Daniel and his escape from the lions’ den today or Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and their escape from the furnace. I want us to recall today that these three young men were exiles in Babylonia. I want us to remember how they got there in the first place. Then I want us to see what God’s upper story then and now tells us.

You’ll recall that the Israelites had every chance to return to God. He sent prophets and priests to try His best to get them to return to Him and follow His teachings, but they refused. They wanted to be like all the other nations around them and so they abandoned God and sought after the gods of the nations around them. Finally God withdrew His protection from the nation He built and they fell first to the Assyrians and then to the Babylonians.

These two ancient civilizations were pretty smart in their capture of their enemies, though. They dispatched their captives to several other nations and instead of putting them in prisons, put them to work. They became farmers and masons and musicians and in the case of the best and brightest, Nebuchadnezzar even brought them into the palace to teach them about the country and its government to make them officials in their new adopted land.

Many don’t realize that the same thing happened to thousands of those imprisoned in World War I and II. They weren’t just kept in prisons, but many were “loaned” to cities and farmers and industries as workers. Many were even paid and became close friends with their “employers”. The goal of the king was to assimilate the young into his kingdom to reduce any resistance. Rather than spark rebellions from poor prison conditions, he gave them meaningful work and good living conditions and showed them a better way to live than they had seen in their homelands under siege.

But one thing these a group of these Israelites failed to do was change their ways with respect to their God. You see, to be totally immersed in the new country meant believing the way the adopted culture believed. It meant adopting their gods as well. Start thinking like the local populace. But some of these Jewish captives, notably people like Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, refused to change their religious habits. They refused to let their faith in their Creator diminish.

Our culture bombards us with information every day trying to get us to ignore our God. The off color jokes at the water cooler, do I participate or stand up for God’s standards of morality and equality among all people? The sexual innuendos toward the waitress by my table mates, do I let it slide or remind them that sex is God’s gift for married couples to enjoy intimacy in their relationships and not to be exploited otherwise? Do I fudge my travel expenses just because everyone else does, or do I provide honest and accurate accounting because God expects it of me?

You see, it doesn’t matter what the culture we live in might think or do because we live here as exiles. We are not of this place. Even though I was born and raised in the United States, my citizenship changed when I accepted Christ as my Lord. I entered a new kingdom and gave sovereignty and allegiance of my life to Jesus. So this place is no longer my home.

Peter tells us we are foreigners and exiles, just passing through this place. If we remember that and don’t get caught up in the culture of this place but remain true to the culture of our Father and His Son, we never need to worry. He will take care of us.

Does that mean we’ll never have trouble? No, by no means. Just look at these three young men. They were probably teenagers when their first test came. Daniel said, “I won’t defile myself by eating the king’s food. Just give us vegetables and water.” Then I love what his three companions told the king when they refused to bow to the golden statue made in his likeness.

“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and He will deliver us from your Majesty’s hand. But even if He does not, we want you to know, you Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

That is faith. That is the testimony of so many thousands of martyrs who have given their lives for Christ through the centuries. It tells of the faith of so many today who are refusing to renounce their faith in Him even though they face the executioner’s blade or bullets. I would like to think my faith is strong enough to refuse to recant if faced with that situation. I’m afraid too many in our culture would not, just as was true in Daniel’s day.

Knowing I don’t belong here helps my faith. Knowing this place is just a temporary stopping point in my journey the garden God is preparing for us helps my faith. Knowing others have gone before me and have had the courage to stand before the crowd and kept their faith when others failed helps me to keep my faith. Knowing that if I can stand firm in the face of adversity that my testimony might help someone else stay strong as well helps me to keep my faith. Knowing God never fails and even though I can’t see how His upper story plays out in my lower story, I have the assurance that if I love Him and obey Him, all things work together for my good and His glory, I can keep my faith no matter what might happen around me.

We can go back to one of those very early lessons we had. Job never knew why he faced the adversities he faced. God never revealed to him the questions Satan raised or the contest God allowed behind the backdrop of heaven. God’s upper story encourages us because we know God will never allow us to face more than we can handle. God’s upper story encourages us because we know in the end we are rewarded for our faithfulness. But like Job, we often cannot see around the bend in the road and may never understand why we face the difficulties in life that come our way. But with God on our side, we can know that a better day is coming. We are only exiles in this world and one day He will come to take us back home to the place He has been preparing for us for an eternity. Take courage as an exile, a foreigner, a child of the King of kings. He will never let you down.

Jan 15, 2018

A daily devotional walking through God's word together using The Bible Reading Plan at http://www.bible-reading.com/bible-plan.html. Our website http://alittlewalkwithgod.com.

Bible Reading Plan - www.Bible-Reading.com; The Story, Chapter 17; You Version Bible app Engaging God's Story Reading Plan Days 113 through 119

In a news report by Jacqui Goddard in Miami from 2011, we read: It was described by President Franklin D.Roosevelt as "a date that will live in infamy", a day on which the slaughter of 2,400 US troops drew America into Second World War and changed the course of history.

Now, on the 70th anniversary of Japan's devastating bombardment of the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbour, Hawaii, evidence has emerged showing that President Franklin D.Roosevelt was warned three days before the attack that the Japanese empire was eyeing up Hawaii with a view to "open conflict."

The information, contained in a declassified memorandum from the Office of Naval Intelligence, adds to proof that Washington dismissed red flags signalling that mass bloodshed was looming and war was imminent.

"In anticipation of possible open conflict with this country, Japan is vigorously utilizing every available agency to secure military, naval and commercial information, paying particular attention to the West Coast, the Panama Canal and the Territory of Hawaii," stated the 26-page memo.

Dated December 4, 1941, marked as confidential, and entitled "Japanese intelligence and propaganda in the United States," it flagged up Japan's surveillance of Hawaii under a section headlined "Methods of Operation and Points of Attack."

If only…

What a different world we might be living in if President Roosevelt and the War Department had paid attention to the intelligence they received about the pending attack. But they couldn’t believe Japan could reach across the Pacific to attack the island paradise where America had its naval base. Their imagination didn’t stretch to the point of Japan’s planes fueling for a one-way flight and all their pilots willing to sacrifice themselves to attack Hawaii knowing there would be no return trip.

What a different world we might be living in if President Bush and the Department of Defense had paid attention to the intelligence they received about the pending attack. But they couldn’t believe Osama bin Laden could destroy national landmarks like the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Their imagination didn’t stretch to the point of hijacking passenger jets and using them as missiles to carry out their terrorist activities.

In our culture we have a hard time understanding the mindset of suicide bombers, kamikaze pilots, terrorist willing to sacrifice their lives for their cause. To us, life is too precious to sacrifice it what we see as such wasteful purposes. So in our innocence or ignorance, we miss some of the signs that might come to us because we cannot imagine the horrific acts men can commit against other men. I think that is probably a good thing in a nation that honors God.

Unfortunately, we are becoming more like those nations around us and we can begin to stretch our imaginations to understand how our vulnerabilities to these acts today. Is it because we have experienced them? Partly. But it’s partly because we are following the pattern we see Jeremiah lamenting as he stood by the roadside and wept as his countrymen were carried away in chains.

You see, Israel had become like the nations around them. Thirty-four of their thirty-nine kings did not follow God’s teachings. Thirty-four of Israel’s thirty-nine kings did evil in God’s sight and led their people to do the same. Thirty-four of Israel’s thirty-nine kings failed to listen to the prophets God sent to turn the nation around and gave them opportunities to make things right with God.

For decades we were known throughout the world as a Christian nation. Founded by our forefathers on Christian principles. In fact, when George Washington was offered a crown, he refused it and an early motto in the country was “no king but King Jesus.” We were a Christian nation. But no more. As you look at the latest census questions, fewer than 50% of our nation claim any religious affiliation at all. Listen to that figure again. Less than 50% claim any religious affiliation. Not Christian, not Muslim, not Hindu, not Buddhist, nothing. 50% of our citizens believe they are their own god. They set their own moral standards and fear no higher power.

Of that 50% that claim some religious affiliation, less than a third attend to their faith on a regular basis, referring to reading, prayer, attendance at their church, temple, or synagogue. That means only 15% of our citizens are actively engaged with a god of any sort, real or false. Is there any wonder why our nation is in the shape it is in? Do we need to question why there is violence in our schools or workplace? Do we need to ask why we have mass killings in our country? It’s not the guns or the explosives or the knives or the weapons of any ilk that cause the problem. Our problem is the hearts of the people who live here.

Jeremiah stood by the road and lamented the tragedy that was happening to Jerusalem as the Babylon continued to exile its citizens. Do we have any Jeremiah’s left who can see what is happening to our nation and will spend time on their knees praying to the God of heaven and earth seeking His guidance for this place? Do we have any Jeremiah’s left who weep over the sins of the people? Do we have any Jeremiah’s left who declare God’s word faithfully even knowing no one will listen?

We need some Jeremiah’s today more than ever. We are in dire need of Christians who weep for our nation as we enter this new year. We need prayer warriors who will lift our leaders and men and women who will speak out for Christ even when they think no one will listen.

As we continue in The Story, I see so many parallels between Israel’s sins, their downfall, and ours as a nation and as individuals, I can’t help but think our future may look a lot like their history if we don’t change our ways. But we can change. We each have choices to make, but we have free will and can make those choices. The question is will we choose life or death? Will we choose the world or God? Will we choose obedience or damnation?

The choice is always ours to make. Make the right ones this year.

You can find me at richardagee.com. I also invite you to join us at San Antonio First Church of the Nazarene on West Avenue in San Antonio to hear more about The Story and our part in it. You can find out more about my church at SAF.church. Thanks for listening. If you enjoyed it, tell a friend. If you didn’t, send me an email and let me know how better to reach out to those around you. Until next week, may God richly bless you as you venture into His story each day.

 

Jan 8, 2018

A daily devotional walking through God's word together using The Bible Reading Plan at http://www.bible-reading.com/bible-plan.html. Our website http://alittlewalkwithgod.com.

Bible Reading Plan - www.Bible-Reading.com; The Story, Chapter 16; You Version Bible app Engaging God's Story Reading Plan Days 106 through 112

We are back to the study of The Story, God’s plan to restore us to a face-to-face relationship with Him as He had with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. He wants desperately to have that kind of intimate relationship with each of us. And He would and did die that He might have it. But relationships are always a two way street. God wants it, but we must want it too. We have a choice and The Story, His word, the Bible shows us His plan to guide us back to Him if we choose to do so.

This week’s readings tell us the story of Hezekiah and the Assyrian army’s plan to conquer Judah. The taunts of Sennacherib's field commander remind me of just how devious Satan can be with us. Remember some of the words he used?

“The gods of the nations we conquered didn’t save them, why do you think your God will save you?”

“Hezekiah tore down all the altars to your god and is making you worship him only in Jerusalem’s temple. Won’t your god be angry with Hezekiah for destroying his places of worship?”

“Surrender and live, we will give you homes, places to work, your sons and daughters can marry and have children in the new land we will take you to. Or you can stay here and starve to death.”

Hezekiah’s subjects heard all those words from the walls as they stood inside Jerusalem and the Assyrian army stood just outside the gates. I expect many of them more than toyed with the idea of passing the guards on the gates and doing exactly what the field commander asked. I expect many of their growling bellies made them long for those gardens promised by their enemy.

Satan works much the same way with us as Sennacherib did in his taunting of those hidden behind the walls of Jerusalem. He tells us half truths and twists the circumstances to make us think he has power to make things happen. He twists phrases to make his lies sound like truth but when you really examine his words, they are empty promises that don’t hold up to reality.

For instance, Satan told Adam and Eve they wouldn’t die if they ate the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden. Partly tree, but only a half truth. They didn’t die physically right away, but we don’t know if they were eternal when created. We know they lived almost a thousand years before they died and death was one of the curses placed on them. We also know they died spiritually immediately. They lost their spiritual innocence as soon as they ate of the forbidden fruit as they disobeyed God’s command.

We hear half truths all the time and Satan tries his best to lure us into the way the world thinks and acts and tells us it’s okey. He wants us to absorb the world’s philosophy. He wants us to accept his moral values. He wants us to think God’s ways are too restrictive and arcane. He wants us, like those behind Jerusalem’s walls to long for the promises he makes to us instead of what God has to offer.

But Hezekiah, his prophets and priests, and the strength of his guard force kept the people loyal to him and to God. They stayed in the city and prayed to the God of the universe. The only one at this point who could possibly do anything about the tragedy that was about to befall them. They had no hope except in God. Surrender to this army really wasn’t an option anymore.

Sure they heard the rhetoric, but they also knew the stories about the brutality of this army and these were the last holdouts that kept these warriors from returning home to their wives and children. These were the last of the rebellious nations that caused them to risk their lives and suffer the harsh environment of a soldier’s life. These people would receive no mercy whether defeated or if they surrendered. The rest of the world would understand the power of Assyria and the consequences of rebellion against her. Yes, only God could save Jerusalem.

The people prayed. God listened. A miracle happened. 185,000 Assyrian soldiers didn’t wake up one morning. We don’t know how they died. We don’t know if God sent some viral disease or something poisoned their food or God sent an angel to kill them. The Bible doesn’t tell us how God performed this miraculous act. We only know that Sennacherib's invincible army was decimated in a single night without a single arrow fired from the walls of Jerusalem or a single sword swung by a Judean soldier. 185,000 Assyrian soldiers just died. The rest slithered home...as fast as they could go.

Then God executed the rest of His plan against Sennacherib and his two sons assassinated him. Assyria soon feel to Babylonia and became a vassal nation to Assyria just as all the other nations of the world had been to her. Sin has its consequences. They will come back to bite you and there is not much you can do about reaping the harvest you sow.

Hezekiah is one of five kings of the thirty-nine who ruled Israel noted as being a good king. All the rest are described as in God’s word. I don’t think any of our presidents have been described as evil in our press, but God tell us 34 of His chosen people’s kings were evil. What an indictment against those who were supposed to be showing us how to have an intimate relationship with God.

But don’t point fingers too fast. The Israelites are still God’s chosen people. It is still the nation He will bless and use to point us to Him and sue to bring us back into a face-to-face relationship with Him. So says His Story, His plan to redeem us from our sins. We’re getting close to those events in His word. The ones that will change the course of history and give each of us the opportunity to live with Him forever.

For now, be careful who you listen to and how you react to those half truths the world yells out to you over the wall. Satan wants desperately to have you open the gates of your heart and mind to him. He wants desperately for you to let him in and let him take charge of your life. You have a choice as to how sits on the throne of your life. It will either be God or Satan. Jesus told us you cannot serve two masters. You must choose one or the other.

Who will it be? God or Satan? It really is your choice. Make sure it’s the right one. Today.

You can find me at richardagee.com. I also invite you to join us at San Antonio First Church of the Nazarene on West Avenue in San Antonio to hear more about The Story and our part in it. You can find out more about my church at SAF.church. Thanks for listening. If you enjoyed it, tell a friend. If you didn’t, send me an email and let me know how better to reach out to those around you. Until next week, may God richly bless you as you venture into His story each day.

 

Jan 1, 2018

Bible Reading Plan - www.Bible-Reading.com; The Story, Chapter 15; You Version Bible app Engaging God's Story Reading Plan Days 99 through 105

Welcome back to our study of The Story, God’s plan to restore us to a face-to-face relationship with Him. If you’ll remember, we have been walking through His word looking at the four movements that permeate the Bible. His word opens with His face-to-face relationship with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden as He walked with them in the cool of the day. They gave up the right to see Him face-to-face when they disobeyed His command to avoid eating from the tree in the middle of the garden, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

From that day forward, God has put in place a plan to bring us back into fellowship with Him. He built a special nation, Israel, to point us to Him and show us how to live in community together and with Him. This is the second movement in God’s story. The nation failed to live up to their side of the covenant God made with them, though, and went into exile in 598 BC and became a vassal of Babylonia. It didn’t become a self-governing nation again until 1948 when Israel’s borders were recognized after World War II. During the intervening 2500 years it fell under the auspices of some other nation’s rule.

The third movement comes in the form of a baby born to a teenage girl in a little village called Bethlehem. He would be called the King of kings and Lord of lords because He is God incarnate. The very Son of God foretold by the prophets centuries earlier. He was part of the Father’s plan to bring us back into that face-to-face relationship God desperately desires to restore with us.

The fourth movement in the story heralds the beginning of the church, the instrument that continues to share the message that God so loved the world that anyone who believes in Jesus as the Son of God would be saved and have everlasting life with Him in His perfect garden. We are part of that fourth movement and have the responsibility of sharing that message. The kingdom has come and we are to share the message with those around us.

The final movement of God’s story tells us of a restored relationship. A new heaven and new earth. A place where the redeemed will live in harmony with God and with each other because there will be no death, no pain, no sickness, no sin, no evil. It will be a perfect place. The place Jesus talks about as the place He is preparing for us to take all those who believe in Him when He returns to take us to be with Him.

So that is the story and today we look at Chapter 15 and what a strange story this is if seen only from our lower story point of view. The book of Hosea would make a terrible B-rated movie. The prophet hears a voice tell him to go marry a prostitute named Gomer.

Well, the first thing I think of when I hear the name, I think of Gomer Pyle from the Andy Griffith show. A little dumber than dirt and always in trouble. Probably not far from the truth in this marriage making idea that comes to Hosea, you might be thinking. But Gomer is a girl, a prostitute. But Hosea hears the voice and heads to the local corner where the call girls hang out. He waits for Gomer to walk by and flutter her eyelids at him, but instead of asking how much, He asks her to marry him. Now that’s a proposition she probably hasn’t heard before. Surprisingly, Gomer marries the prophet.

Things don’t change for Gomer, though. Prophets don’t make much money and she missed the baubles and trinkets her clients gave her. So it isn’t long before she looks up her pimp and goes back to work.

A few months or a few years go by and God tells Hosea to go get Gomer back. Here is that upper story at work again that we just don’t understand. From the lower story, it just doesn’t make sense. We would tell Hosea to cut his losses and run as fast and far away from this prostitute as he can and find a sweet girl with a few morals if he wants to keep his reputation as a holy prophet intact. But God tells Hosea to go back to the red light district and get Gomer back.

Can you imagine the look on her face when she hears the knock on her door expecting another of her clients, opens the door, and sees Hosea on his knees begging her to come back home? She goes reluctantly but still plays the harlot even when she goes back home. Hosea pleads with her more to give up her life of prostitution.

The lower story seems crazy to us. We see a prophet ruining his life chasing after this promiscuous woman. He has two children with her and even their names teach us what a terrible tragedies their marriage held. Their names meant God-scattered and unpitied, Jezreel and Lo-Ruhamah. Kids often live up to their names. How would you like to be Hosea’s kids growing up in their suburb of Jerusalem?

We don’t know the final outcome of Hosea’s marriage. We don’t know if Gomer ever straightened her life out or not. From the tone of the story and the message Hosea gives Israel, it doesn’t sound like it. You see, God used this unlikely lower story to share His upper story with His chosen people and all the nations who would hear about Hosea from that day on. He used Hosea’s life as an example of His indescribable love for us. A love that wants to rescue us from the deepest darkest sins and bring us back into His loving arms. A love that even when we run away from Him, He works diligently to bring us back and restore our relationship with Him.

Too often, like Gomer, we turn our eyes back to the old life and run away from God. We just won’t let Him care for us and provide for us the way He desires. Instead we turn to the pimp of the world thinking that life that leads to our ultimate destruction is more attractive. But like Gomer’s life, filled with temporary glitter and one night stands, it only leads to heartache and death.

We see again in these unlikely characters a lower story that seems to lead to No-wheres-ville. How could God ever use this mess in His march to bring us back to Him. But then in His upper story, we see His plan of redemption unfolding as He seeks the restoration of Israel through the demonstration of this prophet’s unusual life story. God wants us back. God chases us to redeem us. But we still have the final choice to make.

Did Gomer stay with Hosea and live happily ever after? We are not told. I’d like to think so, but we don’t know for sure. She may have wandered back to her life of prostitution. Or she may have straightened out her life and been faithful to Hosea the rest of their lives together. I doubt if it was a happily ever after in either case. The consequences of Gomer’s lifestyle would have continued to follow her through her married life with the snide remarks, the whispered gossip, the sly glances. Life for them as a couple would never be normal.

But God can do something so much better for us. Like Gomer, we may still suffer some of the consequences of the sins we commit before we decide to follow God, but He promises us everlasting life in His perfect garden when we follow Him. He tells us as His followers we will one day live walk with again face-to-face. What a great time that will be.

You can find me at richardagee.com. I also invite you to join us at San Antonio First Church of the Nazarene on West Avenue in San Antonio to hear more about The Story and our part in it. You can find out more about my church at SAF.church. Thanks for listening. If you enjoyed it, tell a friend. If you didn’t, send me an email and let me know how better to reach out to those around you. Until next week, may God richly bless you as you venture into His story each day.

 

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