Posts Tagged ‘Hosea’

It’s a process, this sowing and reaping thing. Generally, this pairing is used as a metaphor for the bad things that happen in our lives, but of course, good planting makes for good results. Unfortunately, the good seeds seem to grow a lot slower than all the rest.

Hosea 10:12
Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers his righteousness on you.

I’m not really much of a gardener so I’m sure I’ll play havoc with this metaphor but there are some pictures that come to mind. For instance, the last time I tried to prepare and plant a 10×10 foot vegetable garden in my back yard.

Soil preparation was a complete nightmare. We live in one of those developments and didn’t realize how much refuse is buried on a lot before or while they are building a house. I found huge globs of cement, parts of boards, rocks, and even empty cans in that small plot of land I was trying to plow up by hand. And of course, the soil was as hard as could be. We finally had to buy top soil to dig into the original dirt which was worthless (it’s a wonder that grass could grow).

Finally, I got the dirt to look somewhat welcoming to a small starter plant or seed. And this was probably the best part of the process, the actual sowing or planting. Little did I know that the next challenges would be equally daunting: deer from the woods could easily hop over our split rail fence, our dogs and cats liked the new fresh soil for digging and leaving personal gifts, the weeds were indistinguishable from the plants (to my untrained eye), and the Maryland weather offered no assistance whatsoever.

So, after all that, what did I reap? Two broccoli heads, scrawny tomatoes, wilted lettuce, holey peppers, and three carrots of diminutive size. Go ahead and laugh. It’s a willow tree now anyway.

I’m glad the Holy Spirit is a better gardener/farmer than me. Oh, I know, I still have to participate, but I think the overall procedure is in God’s hands if I release my control, my time table, and my expectations.

Just keep doing the “right” thing, as best I can. Again and again and again. Keep trusting. Keep forgiving. Keep asking for forgiveness.

In both Mark 4:8 and 4:20 in the parable of the sower, I am promised a 30-60-100 fold return, but there is no promise about when.

Sowing in the Spirit realm is a marathon, not a sprint.

I love the idea of “unfailing love.” In this phrase is hope and promise, persistence and progress. I am actually living in the midst of unfailing love right now, no matter what my circumstances might try to negate. I have planted with Christ. Now, I must stand and give thanks because those other roads I could have taken, back there in my past, would have destroyed my garden altogether, I’m sure.

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This is what a lot of contract lawyers get paid to do: one to make the covenant and another to find enough loopholes to break it. What contracts or promises do we have to today that are truly binding? Partnerships? Marriage? Last Will and Testament? BFF? Pinky swear?

Galatians 3:15
Brothers, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case [between God and Abraham].

The covenant promise between God and Abraham happened 430 years before the laws were established through Moses. But we are told, it was still rock solid after all that time. In fact, of the three parts of the covenant (land, blessings & a Messianic descendant), it is the third part that created the expectation or anticipation of a savior.

There are two kinds of covenants: conditional and unconditional. In the conditional covenant, both parties must agree and both must live up to their agreement. If either side breaks the covenant, then it is no longer binding. An unconditional covenant only requires the completion or fulfillment of the covenant by one side. The Abrahamic covenant only required God’s participation. Abraham just had to “show up.”

Once this covenant was completed with the arrival of the Messiah, he entered into yet another binding, unconditional covenant: Grace, which would manifest in eternal salvation (our sins covered by the blood sacrifice of the Christ).

Like Abraham, I just have to show up. I just have to say yes to this covenant. This is the contract of redemption.

But for me, the excitement is not in showing up. It’s taking full advantage of the covenant. It’s participating in the process. It’s being present in the story. It’s having a relationship.

Like a marriage, the wedding ceremony is nice and the symbols of rings, kisses and blessings are edifying and even memorable. But it’s what happens later that really counts.

Unlike a marriage, God is willing to take me back again and again when I fall away or stray. Though I be like Gomer [Book of Hosea], my God is patient, and gracious, and loving. This, then, is the covenant of hope.

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When people say, “it’s all in your head,” that’s more true than not. The mind is at the core of who we are. The mind is quite mystical and unpredictable. The mind thrives within, not just in the head, but also in the heart, the gut, and the soul.

Romans 8:6
Now the mind of the flesh [which is sense and reason without the Holy Spirit] is death [death that comprises all the miseries arising from sin, both here and hereafter]. But the mind of the [Holy] Spirit is life and [soul] peace [both now and forever].

The mind is also a lover. The question is with whom or what? The mind can be seduced. The mind can be fooled. The mind can be capricious (changing from one behavior to another). The mind can be a slut or a saint.

Joyce Meyer has an entire video series on the “Battlefield of the Mind” but sometimes I think it’s a little more like “speed dating.” Going from one thing/person to another, the mind is looking for the current fit, the “feel good,” the curious, the challenging, or the appealing.

Thank God the Spirit is patient.

It is in the mind that the story of Hosea and Gomer is truly played out on a regular basis. Gomer, the prostitute, who breaks covenant with her prophet husband, and yet, he forgives her again and again.

My mind is too much like Gomer. I am linked by promise to the Spirit, and yet I stray. Each year, I stray less and less. As my mind becomes more submissive, by choice, to the loving Spirit, the relationship strengthens. My mind is becoming more content.

God is teaching me how to feed my mind with prayer, scripture, music, reading, nature’s beauty, koinonia relationships, love, hope, rest, and solitude. When I feed my mind well, I am not so hungry for the “next new thing.” When I am disciplined and consistent, my mind experiences peace.

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“Break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the Lord, til He comes and rains righteousness on you.” Hosea 10:12, NKJV

This is the first scripture that is used in the Seeking Him bible study that I will be leading over the next 13 weeks. I write it here because I want to remember these beginnings. It is time to break up old ways. It is time to put the sharp plow to the ground that is not bearing fruit. This is not an easy scripture because there is a moment where I must look with honesty at my heart… there are too many fallow areas there. I am busy and yet, I am not fertile. I have experienced barrenness in my life but I have forgotten what that looks like in the heart. I believe it is time to look again… to accept the plow of God’s Spirit.

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