Chasing the Wind

Hosea 11:12-12:14

Sure you would all agree: man was made by God on purpose for a purpose according to God’s design. Number of principles embedded in statement – man’s origin, his ultimate goal, his significance, the means to achieve his goal, all defined by God. Tinker with any one of principles and begin inevitable drift away from God and into disaster. Reject one or more principles and is short drift! Here’s why – if those principles are essential to fabric of mankind’s existence, they cannot simply be discarded. The place they occupy must and will be filled by something… of God’s choosing or the individual’s.

Put another way: “WSC 1 What is the chief end of man? A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.” If correct, man was made to glorify and enjoy, and God gave Word instructing how to rightly do that. So long as God, Jesus, Bible have right place in individual’s life, all is good. But… what happens when tinker with principles? Someone or something else moves in to replace, fill up space rightfully belonging to God and Bible. Individual begins to glorify someone/something other than true God, seek enjoyment from other than what God intends.

Sad truth is – fallen sinful man’s ideas of how to do life may result in some good achievements but ultimately to eternal disaster. And on the way… far less than the ideal God had in mind for us. Many of good things in life that we appreciate invented/designed/manufactured by unbelievers. Thank God for his gracious use of all kinds of means to meet needs of his people. At same time, should cause us sorrow – that such intelligent and capable people should miss out on so much. And… gives insight into true need of unbelievers, equips us to offer right kind of help when given opportunity.

One more application of principle: if man made by God who never changes and not product of evolutionary development, then basic needs of Hosea’s contemporaries and ours essentially the same. Basic problems facing culture of Hosea’s day same ones we deal with – large percentage of people wilfully striving to fill emptiness with wrong things. Use all manner of methods to find satisfaction… except for right one according to God’s design. Hosea uses examples from life of Jacob, Israel’s experience in Canaan to demonstrate need to stop “chasing the wind”, start pursuing God.

A. present conditions v.12-1

surrounded by lies

a culture of deception – overwhelming lack of honesty yet not without hope: Judah (a remnant) still faithful to God

absence of honesty prevalent in both word and deed: lies, deception – will eventually bring total breakdown of a society, cannot function without trust on some level

situational ethics – saw something posted on signboard other day: “ethics is what you do when no one is looking” Richard Shiningthunder Francis, Jehovah Goodbye

basically means do what is best for you in given situation – may be good for others, but greater good for you

moral relativism – another casualty along with ethics: what is good / right for you may not be same for me… so don’t impose your standard on me, that’s being judgmental

pragmatism – in absence of external unchanging standard of right/wrong, whatworks becomes the rule… usually what works for me, to satisfy desires or way of thinking

take heart: was not all Israel that thought/acted that way; same is true now, are still those who follow biblical principles

leads to chasing the wind

unreachable goals because efforts (of goal-setting and pursuing) based on irrational thinking

the most fully rational thinking is what is most closely connected to true reality – viewing and assessing reality from God’s perspective

one chasing wind sets wrong goals because has wrong view of needs and what will satisfy – fails to account for God’s design

also uses wrong means to achieve (or try) goals – God not only ordained the ends, his eternal decree included all means to right ends

more poignant, desired goals have no substance, cannot satisfy

Assyria and Egypt will only destroy, God alone can truly help – because God was determined to judge his people, no earthly power could countermand that

at best, things unbelievers pursue will fail to satisfy need or desire; at worst, will be destructive of health, wealth, family, relationships; if followed to end, will be eternally bad end

B. remember Jacob v.2-6

a supplanter by name and nature

contentious from the womb – desired to gain the advantage, to have something not his by right; then there were methods

repeatedly showed lack of trust in God; tried to achieve goals by own means, including major deception of his father

in that, was following in footsteps of father and grandfather: both tried to deceive those in power about their wife/sister

parents encouraged sinful ways to achieve God-appointed ends

knew what God had in mind for Jacob/Esau, apparently failed to instill need for patient trust in Jacob; then was Rebekah’s complicity in deception of Jacob

a little slow to catch on

still wanted upper hand even after hard lessons in Haran

resented Laban’s deceit – cheated him out of intended wife, cheated him on his wages, tried to keep him enslaved

of course, at same time Jacob not being just in his dealings with Laban; certainly enough blame to go around

surprised by God – “who are you?”

instructed by God to return to Canaan; sent for Esau when he was close, spent night wrestling – expected his brother, found God instead

thought he would get blessing from older brother, realized otherwise when God blessed him – perhaps in return for his honesty: gave right name!

even for all bad behavior Israel could still find God

exhorted to repent, coud not do it on their own – “by the help of your God”

if would do what they knew to be right instead of willful disobedience, depending on God, could expect God to show up

even when God has said he would repay according to deeds, door is still open for repentance – Jacob lived with consequences (limp) and enjoyed God’s blessing

C. conformed or transformed v.7-8

God’s plan for Hebrew children – drive out Canaanites because of gross immorality and idolatry

Lev. 18:3-4According to the doings of the land of Egypt, where you dwelt, you shall not do; and according to the doings of the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you, you shall not do; nor shall you walk in their ordinances. You shall observe My judgments and keep My ordinances, to walk in them: I am the LORD your God.”

then spends 18 verses forbidding all manner of sexual immorality, repeats warning/command: “‘Do not defile yourselves with any of these things; for by all these the nations are defiled, which I am casting out before you.” Lev. 18:24

Jewish people to “purify” the land by their right living in it; instead became like the Canaanites – were conformed to the culture rather than transformed out of it

compares them to dishonest Canaanite businessman – took his immoral lifestyle to work, oppressed his customers same as in personal relationships

had become self-reliant and arrogant – I can take care of myself, no one can accuse me of wrongdoing; ultimate autonomy

is that not like the “church” – conformed to wrong pattern

first 2 chapters of Judges, over and over Jewish tribe did not drive out Canaanite tribe or did not completely drive them out

instead made a deal with them: Judg. 1:28When Israel grew strong, they put the Canaanites to forced labor, but did not drive them out completely.”

church has done same: taken attitude “we can bring these things from world into church and make them serve us/God” – predictably results same for church as Israel, has become like culture it was supposed to resist

D. remember the true God v.9-14

and yet… God does not have genocide in mind – purpose not to utterly destroy his people, rather intends to bring to their senses

God has been their God for generations – brought out of slavery and idol-worship once, will do it again, after repentance

surrounded by false gods, yet true God has spoken… abundantly

cannot use ignorance as excuse – have God’s revealed truth readily accessible, both verbally and committed to writing

again, remember Jacob – he chased idol-worshipers (Gen. 31:19), yet God found him

Jacob not looking for deliverance in right places, even though had heard directly from God; was following God’s instructions and had own backup plan

great example of God’s condescension – patiently works with people where they are, moving them to where he wants them

and… sent Moses to deliver Israel/Jacob from Egypt

yes, Israel cried out to God for deliverance, but what did they really want? seems most wanted to be delivered from slavery in Egypt, not out of Egypt and slavery

did not willingly relinquish desire for goodies and gods of Egypt even when God showed his superiority; yet God still cared for them, did not abandon or destroy in desert

God is merciful, quick to forgive but will not be patient forever… especially with persistently rebellious

like Jacob, bore consequences of his lack of faith for rest of his life… while enjoying blessing upon blessing

those who remain rebels, well, they retain their guilt also and will pay ultimate price for it

Christ’s Church needs to stop chasing the wind and pursue Christ instead. Must have priorities set according to God’s word, follow principles he has given in order to meet his goal for individual and corporate life. Need to be one of voices God uses to bring his truth to the lost, helping them understand God is loving and gracious and merciful…. and just and righteous. When we do that, his Church will grow in strength and likeness to her Head, the Lord Jesus.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s