Restored as Promised

Hosea 14:1-9

“Satire is the use of humour or exaggeration in order to show how foolish or wicked some people’s behaviour or ideas are.” It works… because is element of truth/reality, enough to make it believable.

It finally happened. I always knew it would. After years of trying to do this whole thing called “life” in my own strength, I got a heavenly dose of reality from my Creator. God brought me to a breaking point. He brought me to a crossroads in my life. He made me realize I can’t do this on my own. I’m ready to let go of the illusion of control.

I’m finally ready to completely and totally surrender a small fraction of my life to God.

I write this today as a new woman. I feel like a great weight has been lifted off my shoulders. The emotions I’ve felt over the last 48 hours are indescribably beautiful, after, at long last, I listened to the voices screaming within my spirit and loosened my stubborn grip on a miniscule portion my life, offering it up to God as a pleasing sacrifice.

I’ll never look back. I’ll never be the same. I’m a new woman—that much I know. I reached the end of my rope and gave it all to God. I laid before my Savior and promised Him that while I continue to run the bulk of my life as though He didn’t exist, I’m dedicating this miniature fragment to Him with reckless abandon. Forever.

I’m filled with optimism and hope as I look forward to, for the rest of my life, consecrating a minute piece of my life to Jesus, while keeping the vast majority of it to myself, completely separated from Him, doing with it whatever I please. This is it. No looking back. This tiny piece of my life belongs to you, Jesus. I can’t wait to see how this extraordinary adventure unfolds. (www.babylonbee.com)

Was attitude of Israel in Hosea’s day, is attitude of far too many professing Christians today – want God in their lives… on their terms, not God’s terms. Were cool with God having access to small piece of life – not willing to give up any more territory than absolutely necessary. God didn’t give up on them; instead, stood/stands ready to not just receive, but lead by the hand – here is what you need to do, here is how to do it, here is what to expect for results. And not for that generation only, for all those throughout human history who hear and heed.

Summary is important – call to repentance is call to do what is right because it is right, not because of results. Hosea says the prudent, the righteous walk follow God because his ways are right. Too many want formula for what to do so God will fix their issues… in this life. Are not interested in following/worshiping God because it is the right thing to do. Is ok in our evangelism to include blessings that follow conversion and repentance; must be careful not to make it sales pitch.

A. call to repentance v.1-3

invitation (1a)

not simply suggestion, rather tender plea “O Israel” – God does threaten, sometimes harsh stuff, never empty threats; but… final word through Hosea one of tenderness

is what we would expect after hearing how Hosea treated Gomer – look at chapter 3: bought her back from her slavery, treated her as wife, would eventually have her loyalty

demonstrates compassion – you’re making life harder for yourself than needs to be

didn’t just stand on sidelines, watch people he loved flounder around and make more of mess – pointed out error and solution

notice genuine compassion identifies real problem, doesn’t minimize or make excuses for it – “your sin has been your downfall” NET

explanation (1b)

here’s why life is hard – your choices… not circumstances, not the other guy, not karma; choices for which you are responsible

all of life is black and white – some seems gray because we lack knowledge or understanding, people try to make a lot gray… helps avoid responsibility

choices are not neutral – either please God or displease God since God has “opinion” on everything; choices that please him are those that follow God’s way of doing life… and every other choice is sinful

here’s why life is hard – God’s purpose: by design, sinful choices and behavior leads to difficulty

if sin did not lead to difficulty, would be little incentive to repent / turn back to God; besides, sin means trying to pursue corrupted goal using corrupted methods and tools

“negative” identification of sin as the problem sandwiched between two “positives” – invitation to return, script for how to do it

when we counsel others, should follow same model – need to address sin and at same time offer genuine hope in Gospel

supplication (2-3)

“sample prayer” – notice parallels with example prayer Christ gave to followers

forgive us; be gracious to us; accept our worship – penitent who takes these words takes full ownership of sinful past, acknowledges need for grace and forgiveness, commits to proper worship

articulates true repentance, change of mind, about who they will trust: no longer see world’s solutions as effective

commit to restored relationship – were in effect orphans, fatherless so long as following idols; return to true God means return to Father/child relationship again

B. promised healing v.4-7

“not their self-image that He will heal” Keithley – not long ago, spoke with individual; after 5-10 minutes asked “can’t you say something to make me feel better?”

far too many today content to address symptoms, leave real ailment alone – greatest desire is to continue sinful course of action minus hardship and suffering

individual I spoke with wants to feel better, not necessarily be better; wants spiritual medicine to take as needed, does not really want God

first goal of healing: nature (backsliding)

God’s healing starts at core, with source of problem – change described in both OT and NT is significant and counter-cultural

Ezek. 36:26-27“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.”

2 Cor. 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

new nature, new desires, new results, new emotions, will result in new way of thinking about self and circumstances

gotta pay attention when counseling – don’t spend too much time on symptoms, get to root of the matter and God’s solution

second goal: relationship (love freely, anger turned away)

common way of “recovery” from infraction – probationary period: limited benefits until prove that whatever occurred won’t again

not the way of it with God – true repentance always met with full restoration; God doesn’t hold back waiting to see how we do

God no longer has cause to restrain love and blessing – his anger has achieved its purpose of bringing about repentance

third goal: circumstances – a reversal of hardships that led to repentance

always applies to spiritual blessings, may include temporal blessings as well; as spiritual blessings bear fruit, attitude toward circumstances will change

God may change circumstances, more often changes individual/group in the circumstances by equipping them to relate properly

C. protection from idols v.8

“old” category: perseverance of the saints – true repentance followed by gracious protection… so long as maintain trust in true God

and God does his part to preserve his people,”continues to bring about and nourish in them faith, repentance, love, joy, hope, and all the graces of the Spirit that lead to immortality.” LBCF 17.1

actually more about God’s preserving than saints persevering – yes, we have our essential part, but God’s is far greater

the one wholeheartedly devoted to Christ sees nothing attractive in idols – no imitation can compare to real deal

quality, endurance, quantity promised by false gods never measures up in substance – by design, only Christ can fully satisfy our true need

problem is that apart from God’s intervention people keep pursuing imitations, refuse to acknowledge it will always end in futility

there’s a catch: when we think can successfully resist idols on our own, have just set up an idol to worship… pride

must continually recognize need for dependence on God for all things and in all things – lose sight of that and we’re done

D. summary v.9

Hosea’s prophetic and exemplary ministry primary focus: neighbors in Israel; at same time, God knew it would get written down

God isn’t figuring it out as he goes along – e.g., all that made Hosea who he was part of God’s purpose to use him as his prophet

all who would hear/read Hosea’s prophecy included in God’s purpose when he moved Hosea to act, speak, write

God has always been inclusive – all who come to God on God’s terms without exception will be received

God doesn’t use categories we do – race, social status, gender or orientation, age, worldview; is either righteous or unrighteous, saved or losts, repentant or rebellious

God’s inclusivity is exclusive – only one way, God’s way, to gain audience with him; he receives all who come to him through Christ alone

to be effective witnesses, must have personal house in order first; then start from right origin and proclaim truth

God said “Take these words… receive us graciously” – God meant it and intends to meet us that way when we come to him; is what we must encourage others to do also

Without exception, all who take words and return to the Lord, sincerely of course, will be Restored as Promised. Cannot be like person at beginning – This tiny piece of my life belongs to you, Jesus – must be that Jesus is Lord… and of all parts of our lives.

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