... or our reputation?
H ave you ever found yourself in a situation where you believe G-D may be asking you to do something that goes against everything you once stood for and believed in? Controversy and conflict seem to be knocking from every which way ... and yet ... you cannot seem to ignore the very thing He has put right in front of you ... a bit like "the elephant in the room" that we don't want to see and yet ... there it stands.
Perhaps there is a greater purpose in it all that we just cannot yet see ... something bigger and greater than simply ourselves ... and yet ... you suddenly find yourself bombarded with every "what if" under the sun ... "what will people think?" "what will that look like?" ... "what if it all goes wrong and all eyes are on me?" "How will I explain ... what will that make me look like?" Somewhere deep inside there may even be the hidden truth of "How will it tarnish me or my name?" Every thought and doubt you can possibly imagine comes flooding into that time and space ... suddenly feeling a great pressure like walls closing in and squeezing you beyond belief
... in that time and space it feels like you are trying to swim against the tide ... like standing against a torrent of waves that continually seek to knock you off your feet and cause you to stumble as you fight against the crashing of the waves ... you find yourself desperately trying to pick yourself up only to find yourself tumbling again and again until eventually ... you find yourself lying exhausted at the water's edge, gasping for breath like "a fish out of water" ... you find yourself flat on your back to suddenly realise ...
there is only one way to look - and that is up!
As I sat quietly before the L-RD, listening to song, Hosea suddenly dropped into my heart ... and breathe! Caught off guard and breathless, I turn to Hosea and I begin to read ... WOW!!! Talk about reputations and going against the flow! Have we ever considered how it must have been for Hosea to follow through with what HaShem told him to do? Hosea was one of the 12 minor prophets ... holding the family name of Joshua ... which also points to Yeshua ... Hosea means "salvation." It was a time of great apostasy for G-D's people had departed from the L-RD (Hosea 1:2) and the L-RD Himself says the land committed great harlotry.
So what was it HaShem instructed Hosea to do?
Come ... let us look and see ...
It's all part of the journey
Let's join together to search and find
The G-D who is Just and Fair and Kind
"Sh'ma Y'israel" my tender heart cries!
"The beginning of the word of the L-RD by Hosea. And the L-RD said to Hosea, "Go, take for yourself a wife of harlotry and children of harlotry, for the land has committed great harlotry, departing from the L-RD."
Can we even begin to imagine?!! The One G-D who calls us to be set apart and holy is the very same G-D who calls Hosea to marry a harlot!! In obedience to his G-D, Hosea took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim. I find it incredible to see that her name means "complete" even though the name she carried was "harlot." I found it even more interesting that her father's name, Diblaim, means "two cakes" ... I look to hear the words "two sticks" blow through my spirit (Ezekiel 37:16-17) ... and breathe! When we look a little further at the root meaning, it points to fig cake or a lump of pressed figs. It then goes on to speak of a dwelling together ... to inclose or to dwell with as a husband would a wife ... is this not the heart of our G-D? I look to see the 'marriage ceremony' that took place on Mount Sinai between HaShem and His people ... a covenant relationship offered to His people who in effect say "I DO" to the instructions given on that mountain - Torah! Is it not His heart to dwell in the hearts of His people as we endeavour to walk together with Him while keeping ourselves pure - worshiping Him in spirit and in truth - without the defilement which comes from idolatry/harlotry/adultery. He calls us to be holy as He is holy ...
So ... let's see ... where are we ...
Not only was Hosea instructed to marry a harlot, he was also instructed to have children of harlotry which G-D Himself names ... have you ever looked up the names and what they point to ... or should I say WHO they point to? I tell you, it points to the One True Living G-D ... full of mercy ... gracious and full of compassion ... slow to anger ... even in the midst of all the harlotry, G-D gives a promise to restore ... telling us in Hosea 2:2
"Then the children of Judah and the children of Israel will be gathered together and appoint for themselves one head and they will come up out of the land, for great will be the day of Jezreel ("G-D sows) ... I look and I see the scattered and lost sheep of Israel!
BUT then look!! The next verses proceed by saying "Dispute with your mother! Dispute for she is not My wife! and I AM not her husband." We read on to see what HaShem will allow to happen to the harlot for the sake of her returning to Himself. Do we see it in verse 2:16 ... do we see ... the harlot must go through the process of the wilderness ... isn't that interesting!!! NOT what we like to hear, but amazing none the less!!! Scripture goes on to tell us what that harlot will endure before she finally finds her G-D ... but finds Him AS HUSBAND!!! It is as if she has to walk through the consequences of her having departed from the L-RD, in all its fullness and reality ... the utter desolation and destruction all her lovers have left behind ... she must come to the end of herself to the place where she has NOTHING left. It appears that when she gets to that point, the L-RD steps in ... like rescuing her at the break of dawn ...
I was left breathless by these words found in Hosea 2:16
"Therefore, behold, I AM will lure her and bring her into the wilderness and speak to her heart. And I shall give her vineyards to her from there, and the Valley of Achor for a Door of Hope and she will sing there, as in the days of her youth and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt"
... and it goes on ... such beautiful words ... such beautiful promise! The G-D of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob - the G-D of Israel promising to betroth her forever! And yet ... who does this harlot represent? Was she not called by G-D through Hosea to be a reflection to G-D's very own people ... that by looking at her they would in fact see their very own reflection staring back at them? Almost as if HaShem was holding a life-size 3-D mirror right in front of all the people and asking them ... "look ... tell me ... what do you see?" or maybe the question would be more like "who do you see?"
T here is so much more we can find to talk about in the book of Hosea, but for now, let us get back to the point ...
When G-D is calling us to do something we don't understand ... something that may seem to go against His very character ... the question begging to be asked is ... "whose name are we most concerned about preserving ... His name or our own?"
You see, we can spend our lives building up a reputation and a good name. But if we are not careful, that in itself can actually become an idol ... let us not forget that famous tower where the people declared "let us make us a name" ... While names are very important, there is only one name that is higher than every other name. Of course, we do need to be reminded at times of who it is we are representing ... we are meant to be a reflection to the world of WHO He is through the way we live. But if the One we are representing is actually the very same One who is asking us to do something that we don't understand and we become more worried about our name than His own ... then we can be in danger of missing the bigger picture. And G-D's promise can be seen again at the end of Hosea ...
"I shall heal their backsliding, I shall love them freely, for My anger is turned away from him ..."
And His promise of restoration is for each and everyone of His people today ... but we often find ourselves having to walk through the wilderness to find it ... coming to the end of ourselves and the tower of reputation we seek to build, often doing it without even realising. Hosea married a "woman of reputation" ... forsaking his own name for the One whose name is greater than any other ... GREAT I AM ... that His name would be enthroned in the praise of His people. My heart's cry is that we as His chosen people would come to the end of ourselves ... finding ourselves flat on our back so to speak, but prostrated with our face on the floor ... looking up to find the GREAT I AM luring our hearts back to Him!
And just as a little extra ... do we realise that the word "worship" actually means to fall down or prostrate oneself ... it is SO much more than a song ... it is when we fall down on our knees before our G-D in humble adoration as we come to realise WHO HE IS ... GREAT I AM!! "
HOLY HOLY HOLY ... L-RD G-D ALMIGHTY ... WHO WAS AND IS AND IS TO COME!"
And know this ... whatever you are going through today ... wherever He may be leading you ... wherever you may find yourself ... whatever He may be asking of you even though you may not understand ... even if you are feeling lost in the desert ... if you will take His hand and trust Him to lead you ... you will find Him - and that is the greatest treasure our hearts could ever find!
The same One who has compassion on 'Gomer' is the very same One who has compassion on us when we turn to Him with all our hearts ...
He is G-D! full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth!
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