Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Let Those Who are Wise Understand These Things

The Minor Prophets Speak to Today 





“My Children, stay away from idols!
    I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you.
I am like a tree that is always green;

    all your fruit comes from me.”

Let those who are wise understand these things.
 Let those with discernment listen carefully.
The paths of the Lord are true and right,
    and righteous people live by walking in them.
    But in those paths sinners stumble and fall.

Fallen idol

“My Children, stay away from idols!"

Just do it!  That's the way we often present this message. Just stay away. It's as simple as that. But for Israel it was not.

"Stay away from idols" would require a total remake of their social, religious, cultural, economic, and heart lives. Their thinking, their emotions, their physical actions, and their motivation would all be required to change. Now that's pretty tall order! But that's the call of gospel living, too.

No wonder Paul talks about repentance and conversion as  a being transformed.

          Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you,  which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2 NLT

         It doesn't matter whether we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation. Galatians 6:15 NLT

Our lives today mimic the social, cultural, economic, and heart lives of the world's children. In recent years (and - truth be told - over and over again in the past as well), there has been a movement to imitate the cultural, economic, and social world around us in order to be seeker friendly or some similar reason. But what we need is the same thing Israel needed. We need to submit to a total remake of our social, religious, cultural, economic, and heart lives. 

I suspect this is needed in most Western countries as well as Eastern Europe, Russian, and Russia's former co-members in the Soviet Union. 

God's call and warning to us in Hosea parallels our current situation in the church. We need to heed it before it is too late to escape the consequences.

Clearly, we can't just do it!

The task is too big! The task is superhuman! We do not have the strength or will to follow through even if we want this change. So how can this be done?

If you're looking at easy miracles from God, forget it! Something else comes first. And that is what God reminds the Israelites.

"I am the tree that's green. All your fruit comes from me!"


Jesus says the same thing, but he uses a different figure:

          "I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that does not produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more." John 15:1-2

This has been the message in chapter after chapter of Hosea and post after post based on Hosea. This is the negative that preceded this final chapter of the book!

          "You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me." John 15:3-5

Being grafted into the tree/vine which is Christ is the root of transformation. This is the source of the radical change it will take to save the Western and Eastern churches. It does not come from outside ourselves. It is not something we decide to do. It comes from the vine itself as we submit to severe pruning and the call to Israel to stay away from idols. A call from death to severe pruning.

We, of every generation alive and yet to come, are called from death to severe pruning. for:

          The paths of the Lord are true and right and righteous people live by walking in them. But in those paths sinner's stumble and fall - even under grace. Hosea 14:9


"The closing verse presents us with only two alternatives:  Rebel against the Lord and continue to stumble, or return to the Lord and walk securely in his ways. The first choice is foolish; the second choice is wise. But the choices are timeless, and they are before us today."
Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe

This call is coming out to the churches again today, and to us as individuals.

Are we too proud to hear it!


Photo Credits:
"His Master's Voice" by Beverly some rights reserved
Fallen Idol by Albert some rights reserved

No comments:

Post a Comment

Privacy Policy