Return!

“Return, Israel, to the LORD your God. Your sins have been your downfall!” (Hosea 14:1 NIV)

In the seventh chapter of Hosea, the prophet tells us that it is “pride” that keeps people from returning to The Lord. Although, the reference to the Children of Israel then was specifically for them, it is yet applicable to us, today. Understanding what God has said to others who came before us, is critical–knowing why it was said then and how it is applicable now!

When God came down from heaven and hung on the cross–the ultimate sacrifice for sin–He did it for everyone. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only son so whoever believes in Him would be saved and not perish.” (paraphrased) Whoever believes! Are we not all–whoevers?

In times past, God used those who were willing to speak for Him–though their lives were constantly in danger from those who did not believe God. His prophets–or spokespersons warned people time after time of the dangers they would encounter if they did not repent of their sins.

God is yet using those who are willing to be His spokespersons to warn people about their demise if they continue in sin. Why won’t people hear? Their pride and egos get in the way. It is not that they do not know they sin–they have chosen to defy God’s Word to pacify flesh and to do whatever they want to do. These are the people who “think” they are the masters of their own fate and it is pride that gives them the impetus to feel that way. They have forgotten that “pride” is one of the seven things God hates.

When we refuse to obey those in authority–pride opens the door to our downfall. We miss opportunities to achieve all that God desires because we don’t want anyone telling us what to do. Why? Because we think we know better than God! Pride–has led people to public humiliation when they refuse to tell the truth; it has led people to expose their foolishness when they lie and think others are as foolish as they are; it has led to entire nations crumbling and ceasing to exist. Pride–the open door–to destruction.

When are we going to close the door on pride and return to The Lord, obeying Him rather than man?

Man’s wisdom without God’s guidance is fallible at best, and dangerous at most–totally useless. We cannot afford to follow the wisdom of foolish men who allow their pride to make decisions to the detriment of all mankind.

It is time to ignore the foolish pride of men who allow their egos and self-desires to rule over anyone; repent of our sins, and return to God–our Savior and Deliverer! We need to let pride go and let God abide in hearts, in total obedience to Him!

Given Another Chance!

“I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for my anger has turned away from them” (Hosea 14:4 NIV).

In the King James Version, the term waywardness is not used–instead the term “backsliding” is used. Sometimes, varying translations tend to weaken the message and in this segment, I believe that to be true. Backsliding evokes a much stronger image of what it is that God wants us to understand–when we slide back from being obedient to God. Of course, we cannot be a backslider, if we never came to the knowledge of Truth and obeyed God. “Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you…” (Jeremiah 3:14 KJV)

The point that Hosea is making here to the children of Israel is that when we (we are spiritual Israel) repent and call upon the Lord, turning away from the gods we contrive and manufacture with our own hands, He will forgive us and love us, anyway–turning aside His anger from those things we “did” (past tense), not are doing. His mercy is new every morning! When we mess up, we need to ‘fess up, and not to try to dress up our sins in cloaks of deception and lies, because God can see beyond our facade and He knows our hearts. We just to admit we were wrong and repent by turning from whatever it is that keeps us out of relationship with God and grab hold of the new opportunity we have to get things right with Him. We have been given another chance–do not mistake His grace and mercy for accommodation to sin. 

Some of us have been given chance after chance to get it right! God is long suffering, patient, and He wants us to be in position to receive His best. And though He gives us chance after chance to get things right, there will come a time when He will simply close His ears to our cries. Unlike many parents, He will not be our enabler in wrong doing. Whatever we do, the consequence we get is on us-not Him. Turn from those things or those people who keep you from receiving God’s best and live the life He has planned for you!

Father, in the name of Jesus, help us to get to place quickly where we realize we cannot live this life without You. Forgive us for taking Your grace and mercy for granted and provide us another chance to see You for who You truly are.