Saturday, August 5, 2017

Let's elope!

The Word for today:
Hosea 3

mark this: Hosea 2:16
And in that day, declares the LORD, you will call me 'My Husband.'
We often hear about the need to have a personal relationship with God. What does that mean?
Today we're going to swing that phrase around in order to look at it from God's end. Looking at it from his end might help us understand our end.
God doesn't do religion.
Many people enter into a religion with God. But God doesn't know what that means. God doesn't do religion. He enters into a relationship with you. He takes things personally. For example, we often think of sin as something which breaks God's law. But Hosea shows us that sin does not merely break God's law, it breaks his heart.
Hosea shows that God's concern about idolatry is no fussy, religious matter. It is terribly personal. God, the lover, will not share his bride with anyone else.
God's anger and jealousy, expressed so often throughout the Old Testament, reflect his powerful love. He punishes to get his lover's attention. Yet even when she turns her back on him, he sticks with her. He is willing to suffer, in the hope that someday she will change. Hosea knows that God longs not to punish, but to love.
I consistently try to present, as best I can, the glorious poetics of scripture. But as we study God's Word, we have to be careful not to get too literary, not to take things too figuratively. When God describes himself in personal terms--as bridegroom (1), as husband (2)--we should not dismiss these as mere figures of speech! They are words meant to convey love, intimacy, commitment, and responsibility. They are fervent, passionate, and personal.
Isn't it high time we started taking God as personally as he takes us. Isn't it high time we dumped Mom and Dad's fussy old religion. Isn't it high time we eloped:
"Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. (Ephesians 5:31-32)
(1) Matthew 9:15; (2) Hosea 2:16

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