Not Settling for Sorrow

So, I’m off to the start of new week and some deadlines for meetings that I am working on. I began with a morning breakfast and then spent more of the day on some “office” work related to some of my new duties. This afternoon, I did get outside for some “work” therapy on my landscaping project that I am working on.  As we come to the final day of September we can sense the fall season upon us. However, we have enjoyed some very pleasant weather.

BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY… They do not call to me from their hearts. They just lie on their beds and cry.”          Hosea 7:14 NCV

The Lord is revealing to His people through Hosea how they have played the role of a “prostitute” with other gods. As the message of the Lord comes from His prophet we see words against the people, leaders and priests. All of them were in need of a change in heart.

To the Leaders the Lord said, “They will not give up their deeds and return to their God. They are determined to be unfaithful to  me; they do not know the Lord.” (Hosea 5:4 NCV)

To the Priests the Lord said, You have refused to learn… You have forgotten the teachings of your God... The more priests there are, the more they sin against me.” (Hosea 4:6,7 NCV) The Lord condemns the Priests for tolerating sin in the people, because they profited from the people’s sin sacrifices.

To the people the Lord said, “…The people are not true, not loyal to God, nor do those who live in the land even know him. Cursing, lying, killing, stealing and adultery are everywhere. One murder follows another.” (Hosea 4:1,2 NCV) We can clearly see that Godlessness leads to moral decline.

Even when there seemed to be a willingness to turn to the Lord and to seek Him, the Lord was not impressed. The Lord spoke, Your faithfulness is like a morning mist, like the dew that goes away early in the day.” (Hosea 6:4 NCV) How often we see people with short lived “good intentions.” They try to “do better” but soon fail and get discouraged. That is because we cannot “work” our way into acceptance before the Lord.

The people were suffering from their hardships and wanted them to come to an end. But all they did was, “…lie on their beds and cry…” We see the heart of the Lord in the lament of the prophet Isaiah, “If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea.” (Isa. 48:18 NIV) We see in the words of Paul, “…worldly sorrow brings death.” (2 Corinthians 7:10 NIV)

What is the response that gives hope and new direction? “Calling on the Lord from the heart.” Sincerity of heart is reflected not only in humility, but also in change…change in direction…change in attitudes and actions. “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret…” (2 Cor. 7:10 NIV)

The Lord is not interested in formality and the motions as much as He is a faithful heart of love. Love for God and only God. “I want faithful love, more than I want animal sacrifices.” (Hosea 6:6 NCV) We are to love God with all of our soul, mind and strength.

Growing in the knowledge of the Lord, is our true worship. “I want people to know me, more than I want burnt offerings.” (Hosea 6:6 NCV) The Lord is not just a distant, “arms length” God. He is a “up close and personal” God. The prophet spoke of a time when, “….the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.” (Habakkuk 2:14 NIV)

Jeremiah spoke of a day when, “No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (Jeremiah 31:34 NIV)

Solomon said, “…knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” (Prov.  9:10 NIV) Jesus’ invitation was, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me…” (Matthew 11:29 NIV)

While we serve a God “whose ways are above our ways and whose thoughts are above ours…” (Isa. 55:8,9) We still can stay close to Him in worship and through His Word, learning of Him and growing in our knowledge of the Lord. We can move beyond just knowing “about” God, to knowing what is means to be in relationship with the Lord. As we do our life is changed and our trust in Him grows.