May 29, 2009


Most of us who are even slightly familiar with the story of Hosea only know the beginning of the story - that God calls Hosea to marry Gomer (a prostitute) so that He can illustrate how His people are "in bed" with other gods and (through Hosea) to show that His love for us is unceasing and unconditional. It's an amazing story. But again, it's only the beginning. It happens so that what the Lord is about to say to His people makes more sense - that they have turned from Him and been seduced by the world.

At The Brook, we're in the middle of a 2-week series called "Treasure". Last week we asked the question - in thinking about all that God has given us - are you living like you're the Rightful Owner (or) the Faithful Manager? This is the foundational question to ask in regards to stewardship.

Another issue that comes up for us as followers of Christ in regards to our "Treasure" is this idea or principle of being "blessed". You hear it preached a lot these days that the Lord wants to "bless" you - you just need to ask Him. Well, this is true. But I think this idea has been grotesquely misconstrued by many who simply want more money. The biblical idea of "blessing" does not by any means always refer to financial reward. In fact, I would dare say that it rarely refers to it in that sense. Jesus meant a great deal when he talked about how difficult it is for a rich person "to enter the Kingdom of Heaven". He knows how difficult it is for us when we get our hands on what we really think we want to actually release our grip and give it away.

So, what does this have to do with Hosea? Good question. As the Lord is beginning to describe in detail how His people have turned away from Him and the discipline that He finds necessary to wake them from the dead spiritually, He says something that cuts straight to the heart of this issue. In Hosea 10:1 it says, "How prosperous Israel is - a luxuriant vine loaded with fruit! But the more wealth the people got, the more they poured it on the altars of foreign gods. The richer the harvests they brought in, the more beautiful the statues and idols they built. The hearts of the people are fickle...."

God knows our hearts. He knows the difference between what we WANT and what we NEED. And yes, there are times that He gives us what we want. But thankfully, He loves us enough to often protect us from actually getting our hands and hearts wrapped around it. He knows our motives - even when we don't! And there are many who actually want more so that they can give it away. The Lord knows their hearts as well. Keep in mind: the Lord is the ultimate steward!

There is much more to say about all of this.
Hope to see you Sunday!

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