Wednesday, 31 January 2007

God saw their works

"And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.” - Jonah 3v10

What was it that spared the city of Nineveh from the judgement that God had planned? They were certainly on God’s judgement list for their sins – they only had thirty days to repent or destruction was coming. However they heard Jonah’s message and responded – they turned to God.

Some have claimed that the revival was not genuine, that it was only a response to being afraid of God’s wrath. Yet. God spared them from the wrath that was planned for them – something must have happened.

I believe that Nineveh saw a genuine turning to God. Why? Because God saw their works - that they repented of the evil that they had down. True repentance is going to manifest itself in good works. God could not be tricked – He knew that they had repented because their lives changed.

When God works in our hearts there is going to be change. When someone is saved there is going to be a change. True change is ALWAYS marked by good works.

Tuesday, 30 January 2007

Then Jonah arose

“So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days' journey.” - Jonah 3v3

Why did Jonah go this time when God told him to go to Nineveh and preach? Some would say, “If you have just been in a storm, thrown out of a boat, nearly drowned, then swallowed and spit up by a whale you would listen to God the second time as well!”

Perhaps his only motivation was fear of what God might do is he refused again, but it is fairly possible that there may have been another motivation. A few verse previous Jonah talked about his “sacrifice of thanksgiving.” Thanksgiving is best seen when it is put into practice. It is one thing to say “thank you” and quite another to show it by action.

Either way, this time Jonah did what called him to do. Delayed or not, he was now in obedience to God.

Monday, 29 January 2007

I will sacrifice with a voice of thanksgiving

“But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.” - Jonah 2v9

Jonah knew the importance of thanksgiving. A couple of other places in Scripture thanksgiving is referred to as a sacrifice as well. Why is thanksgiving called a sacrifice? Why did Jonah say that he would sacrifice to God with a voice of thanksgiving?

There is a hint in the end of the verse – “salvation is of the Lord.” Jonah knew at this stage that he could not save himself. He had to swallow any pride that would let him think that he could do something about. The sacrifice here is of any pride in self-sufficiency. When that happens all we can do is to give thanks to the only One who can do anything to help.

Sunday, 28 January 2007

When my soul fainted I remembered the Lord

“When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple.” - Jonah 2v7

Jonah had reached rock bottom, literally. He recounted all that had happened. He was at the bottom of the ocean with seaweed wrapped around his head. It was only at the time when his “soul fainted” that he would finally remember and call on His Lord.

Sometimes today people have to reach rock bottom before they look up. The prodigal son was eating pig scraps before he realised what he had done. He finally saw the results of his sin. It was not until then that he would confess and forsake of his sin, repent, and return to his father.

When we see one we care about going further and further down we must not despair and we must keep loving them. It may be that they have to get stuck on the bottom of the ocean with no way up before they will remember and turn back to the Lord. Lets just be sure that we are there for them when that happens.

Saturday, 27 January 2007

Jonah prayed to the Lord his God

“Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish's belly,” - Jonah 2v1

I love how God allows us to personalise Him as our God. It is clear from this little statement here that Jonah was “saved” because the Lord is called His God and he was able to call out to his God in a time of trouble.

When Jonah prayed this prayer he was literally in the depths of despair and also rejoicing in God’s provision. Because of his sin he found himself on the ocean floor before God sent a specially appointed fish to rescue him. More about his dilemma later, but what a blessing to know that Jonah could call on a God who was his in a time of trouble.

Friday, 26 January 2007

The men feared the Lord

“Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the LORD, and made vows.” - Jonah 1v16

The last time I read through Jonah I got really upset with him. I remember using the word “scoundrel” to describe him. I think now that I might have been a little hasty in my judgement.

In Jonah 1v9, Jonah boldly admitted that he knew the Lord, Jehovah. After he convinced the sailors that judgement was coming on them because of his own sin he had to then convince them to throw him out of the boat.

When the sea had calmed they knew that Jonah had told them the truth. As a result they too turned to the true God and feared and worshipped Him. In essence, Jonah told the men enough about His God that they got “saved.”

In spite of his error in trying to run from God he could not deny what was real to him – he had to tell these men about the Lord.

It is exciting to see that even in our times of weakness God can STILL use us!

Thursday, 25 January 2007

I fear the Lord

“And he said unto them, I am a Hebrew; and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land.” - Jonah 1v9

Jonah had plenty of problems that we would not want to emulate. Already we have seen a lack of faith and plenty of cowardice. There is more later in the book.

But here is a positive. Because Jonah was on the ship God allowed a great storm to hit. The pagan sailors tried to figure out which god they angered and how. When they came to Jonah he at least had the courage to admit that his faith was in Yahweh, Whom he acknowledged made the sea and the dry land. Even while running from God Jonah KNEW that he was to blame for he has offended a perfect holy God.

Even in our weakness there is that first step of admitting that we are His. May we at least have the courage to proclaim that He is our God.

Wednesday, 24 January 2007

Jonah arose to flee

“But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.” - Jonah 1v3

How would any of us feel if God called us to a place like Mecca to preach the gospel? How about if God called us to preach at an major Al-Queda headquarters? I think many of us would choose the logical option – run away as fast as we could.

Jonah faced a similar situation. God called him to go and preach to Nineveh, the rich and powerful capital of the vast Assyrian Empire. The worshipped a fish god and the worship included human sacrifice and cruelty. Their enemies were simply tortured and killed. No wonder he ran.

Yet Jonah is going to learn a lesson we all need to learn – you can’t really run from God. That’s what the book of Jonah is all about and there are many lessons there for us, the first being we can’t run from Him.

Tuesday, 23 January 2007

Thence will I bring you down

“Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the LORD.” - Obadiah 1v4

I think it is obvious by now how God feels about pride. Edom were Israel’s enemy, and they had grown in pride over their accomplishments. They had built homes in the mountains around Israel and were very confident in their own power. God said however that he would bring them down because of their pride.

Pride gets lost in itself. It gets so caught up that it makes one think he is invincible. However God lets us know that pride is not forever. “I will bring you down,” said the Lord.

As we look around today it may seem that all the “wrong” people are being exalted. Yet, one day that will change. Man exalts himself and that is temporal. When God exalts us it will be eternal.

I am looking forward to the day when the Lord turns things upside down!

Monday, 22 January 2007

A famine for the word of God

“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:” - Amos 8v11

In times of Israel’s prosperity they repeatedly refused to hear the word of God. The prophets faithfully came and proclaimed it and they refused it. As a result God told them that the day was coming when He would withdraw His word from them and speak to them no longer

Though God no longer totally withdraws His word there is a Bible principle here. At some point God does stop striving with man. When man persists in rejecting God He will stop calling. Man can still be saved on the basis of what He has heard, just like Israel could turn back to God on what the prophets had said.

I don’t know about all of this, but there does seem to be a modern application for nations as well. God seems to open the door of the gospel to certain nations at certain times and for certain period of times. As the nation grows cold and gets “used” to Him they stop listening and eventually God moves on to another land.

One thing is sure – lets take full advantage of God’s word so we never have to worry about the famine!

Sunday, 21 January 2007

I was a shepherd

“Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah, I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet's son; but I was a herdsman, and a gatherer of sycamore fruit:” - Amos 7v14

Who does God use? Wouldn’t it “make sense” for God to use the noble statesmen and the powerbrokers of the world? Wouldn’t it “make sense” for God to use films stars and famous athletes? In our minds it would, and, on occasion He does use these kind of people.

I Corinthians 1 tells us that it is rare that He does so. God knows man’s natural proclivity to take credit for what He does. For the most part the strong, noble, able, and the mighty could well think that they did things for God in their own power.

The vast majority of us are more like Amos - nobody famous, not from a long line of well-known Christians with a proven track record. Most of us are just like him, nothing more than sheepherders and fruit-pickers.

Why does God do this? Why does He use the “least-likely” individuals to do His work? It just doesn’t make any sense; or does it?

Most of know that there is nothing we can do for Him. When He does it only He will receive the glory. Men could look at us and think that we are who we are by our own power. When God uses the weak and lowly however they see Him and are drawn to Him.

Praise God for using a sycamore picker like me!

Friday, 19 January 2007

I hate your feast days

“I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies… But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream.” - Amos 5v21,24

Over and over God makes it very clear what is important to Him when it comes to worship and our walk with Him. We tend to think He likes it when we do everything right at church, say our prayers, do all of the expected things, and accede to all the rules and rituals. When we see people like our first response is to think how spiritual they are and that they must be right with God. We can even fool ourselves into thinking this if we have it all “right.”

When all of our “religiosity” is not backed with justice and righteousness God makes it very clear how He feels – “I hate, I despise your feast days…I don’t hear your songs, etc.”
We can be so caught up in “doing it right” that we forget to really “do it right.” God says we really evidence our faith by letting justice and righteousness flow out of our lives. One of the true test of our faith is how we treat others and how we conduct our lives. “Be just with others, and do what is really ‘right’” is what really pleases God.

Thursday, 18 January 2007

Hate the evil, love the good

“Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the LORD, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken. Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the LORD God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph.” - Amos 5v14-15

We live in a day when the lines between good and evil are blurred. Even Christians seem to have difficulty seeing what is good and what is evil and sometimes don’t understand that “never the twain shall meet. The mixing of evil and good causes a luke-warmness that we know makes God sick.

What do we as Christians do about it? What does God say? God made something clear to Israel that is just as valid today – “Hate the evil and love the good.” He uses two very strong terms so that there is no confusion. He doesn’t say “Dislike the evil and like the good.” He doesn’t say, “Use the evil if it helps you to achieved good.” He says, “Hate the evil, love the good.”

If we want to prove our love to Him we must have his perspective on evil and good. What is it so hard for us the follow His instructions. If we were to be honest we would have to admit that part of the reason is that though we may love the good, we don’t REALLY hate the evil.

We are to love all men, but we are to HATE the evil which is part of their lives. We must not coddle evil, or even give it credence. Evil deserves one response from us – hatred.

Wednesday, 17 January 2007

Seek Me and live

“For thus saith the LORD unto the house of Israel, Seek ye me, and ye shall live:” - Amos 5v4

Amos, like the other prophets, is full of God’s wrath and warnings about His coming judgement. If God did not intervene and offer them hope His destruction would come and man would deserve it.

Man has two choices – life and death. There are all kinds of methods man has tried to find life, but only one way works. God could have laid out all kinds of conditions and made it dependent on man to keep them.

Praise God that He did not lay down a list of requirements. I know I could have never kept them. Praise God it is the this simple – “Seek me and you will live!”

Tuesday, 16 January 2007

The Lord will shelter His people

“The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.” - Joel 3v16

The day is going to come when God’s wrath will be poured out in full measure on the earth. Sin will have its consequences. The “heavens will roar and shake” as God “finally” pours out the fullness of His perfect justice. The world without Him is without any hope.

Yet God’s people have hope, or a shelter of protection, as the NKJV puts it. He will be our shelter, our hope in the midst of His wrath. Here the promise is for Israel, but through the finished work of Christ God has graciously offered the same hope to all who will put their faith in Him.

There is great comfort in the knowledge that we have hope, we have a shelter. If not for this the whole “end time” scenario could bring great fear. Even in death we have the hope of His perfect shelter.

“The Lord’s our Rock in Him we hide, a shelter in the time of storm.”

Monday, 15 January 2007

Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved

“And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.” - Joel 2v32

Since time immemorial man has cried out in his own way, “What must I do to be saved?” Admittedly there are some who are so messed up that they don’t even realise that they need “saved” or delivered, but for the most part man ahs always tried to get back to God.

Man has tried everything from peace offerings to human sacrifice, and from abstinence to self-mutilation in order to make God happy.

God makes it a lot simpler – “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Praise God for that marvellous news! Not one of us would have any hope if we had to depend on ourselves. Here God is specifically talking about Israel’s deliverance, but Paul applied this to salvation.

I am so grateful that 30 some years ago I was able to call upon His name and be saved!

Sunday, 14 January 2007

The Lord will do great things

“Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice: for the LORD will do great things.” - Joel 2v21

How do we find encouragement in times when it seems like it is just going to be hard to do the right thing?

God gives some words of encouragement to His people.

  • Don’t be afraid
  • Be glad
  • Rejoice

How can we do this? We can do it with utmost confidence that God is going to do great things. The problem is that too often we don’t really believe that God is going to do great things, we have reasoned things out in our own minds that the future is too difficult and that we must find our own solution.

How do we know God is going to do great things? He has a proven track record – He already has done marvellous things in the past and He does not change.

As we face our tasks this week, may we do so without fear, with gladness and joy, because God is going to do great things!

Saturday, 13 January 2007

Where is their God?

“Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O LORD, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?” - Joel 2v17

There are many, many people who are never going to read a tract or pick up a Bible. As we serve the Lord we soon find out that one of the main ways that anyone is going to know anything about God is the way we show Him to them. When we call ourselves “Christian” we are saying that we are “Christ-like” showing the world an imperfect image of Him.

Most of the prophets wrote to a nation in trouble. They had wandered far from God, and by doing so gave the enemies and the other nations a reason to question God’s very existence. When they lived like the nations the nations began to think that they were not different, so would even question if God existed or if He had any power. God called them back to Himself for their own good and to show His mighty power so that others might turn to Him.

What happens today when we live like the world? What happens when there is no difference and we act like we are under their control?

For one thing people who know we are believers begin to doubt the reality of our God, or His power to change their lives. Our witness becomes useless, or even worse it may become a mockery of God! Think about all of our family, friends, and neighbours that we would like to be saved. When we act just like them and do not show the power of God, might they not well say – “Where is their God?”

Friday, 12 January 2007

Rend your hearts

“And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.” - Joel 2v13

Ritualism and outward observances of sorrow and supposed repentance have always been a part of religious practice. When someone feels guilty or is threatened with punishment they will do almost anything to achieve penance, or at least to purge their guilty conscience.

Israel was no different – they tried everything to placate a holy God. They sat in sackcloth and ashes. They tore their clothes in sorrow and a semblance of repentance. The problem was that nothing was really taking place in their hearts.

God’s nature is clearly stated. He is gracious, merciful, and slow to anger, of great kindness, and He will relent of His judgement. People try to complicate matters, but God takes it a step deeper. If we really want to avail of His mercy, grace, kindness, and patience the rending must go deep that just tearing our clothes. God says “Rend your hearts…” Real change must take place in the heart, not on the surface. True repentance is inward, not outward.

Thursday, 11 January 2007

The ways of the Lord are right

“Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the LORD are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein.” - Hosea 14v9

All through the book of Hosea we see the mercy and grace of God as He pleads for people to turn to Him, or turn back to Him. Even at the very end He issues one last call for people to do right.

When it comes right down to it it is quite simple – God’s way is right – the righteous can walk in His way, but the wicked are going to stumble there. Eventually those who are not made righteous, as we know now by the blood of Christ, are going to suffer destruction since God’s way is perfect.

It really just makes sense – God is righteous, the righteous walk with him, the unrighteous will fall.
The wonderful thing is that God offers His righteousness to all who will accept His free gift.

Wednesday, 10 January 2007

I will heal their backsliding

“I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him.” - Hosea 14v4

Hosea is an amazing book. Over and over we read of impending judgement, bit then there are words of love and mercy. We learn a lot about the character of God in this book.

I think this is a beautiful picture, “I will heal their backslidings and love them freely.” I can almost see the image of the prodigal son’s father looking out over the fields waiting and yearning for his erring son to come home. When he sees him the fathers rushes to him and greets him with tears and open arms.

God loves His children. All He is waiting for is their repentance, to put away their sin, and return to Him. He is waiting with open arms to love them freely. It is never too late to forsake our sin, repent, and turn back to His loving arms. He is just waiting to welcome backsliders home!

Tuesday, 9 January 2007

You have fallen by your iniquity

“O Israel, return unto the LORD thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity.” - Hosea 14v1

Sometimes God can take things that we make so complicated and make them so simples. There are books, CDs, DVDs, and seminars all talking about why Christians struggle, stumble, and fall in their sin. They all seem be looking for a quick way out or a quick fix. We all try to figure out how we find ourselves in this situation. Just like with Adam and Eve it always seem to be somebody else’s fault. Maybe it’s our parents, or the wicked world around us, or our spouse and kids, or the miserable job we have that led us to this mess. Surely, there must be a reason why I am where I am today.

God tells us in Hosea what it is that causes us to stumble and fall. No need to make it complicated – God put it this way, “You have fallen because of your sin.”

That’s it – when we stumble or fall spiritually it is because we have sinned. It is our fault, there is no one to blame but ourselves.

Monday, 8 January 2007

I will redeem them from death

“I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.” - Hosea 13v14

Many times in the Old Testament God uses teachings and prophecies with a two-fold purpose. One is immediate and the other is for future reference. Here God is promising to redeem Israel from their captivity, but there was a future application that Paul referred to in 1 Corinthians 15 when he wrote – “So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”

It is clear here that Hosea’s comments were a harbinger of the day when Jesus Christ would redeem us from death. Death and the grave were finally, totally conquered by Christ. Today, because of His work we well and truly have nothing to fear. Praise God that the greatest enemy to man, death and the grave, have no power over us!

Sunday, 7 January 2007

Wait on your God continually

“Therefore turn thou to thy God: keep mercy and judgment, and wait on thy God continually.” - Hosea 12v6

Reading Hosea 11 and the first part of chapter 12 gives us a real picture of the heart of God in relation to judgement.

“How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? how shall I deliver thee, Israel? how shall I make thee as Admah? how shall I set thee as Zeboim? mine heart is turned within me, my repentings are kindled together.” It is obvious that God does not cherish judgement. He must judge because He His holy and perfect. In order to avert God’s judgement Israel has some simple instructions:

  • Turn to God
  • Show mercy and judgement
  • Wait on God continually

God does not require sacrifice and burnt offerings for a right relationship. All He wants if for people to turn to Him, prove it by acting in mercy and judgement, and waiting in the Lord. This is a great example of His love and compassion. Yes, God is Holy. Yes, His must judge sin, but He has a heart of compassion, and to put it words we understand, it breaks His heart to have to carry out judgement.

Saturday, 6 January 2007

Bent on backsliding

“And my people are bent to backsliding from me: though they called them to the most High, none at all would exalt him.” - Hosea 11v7

There is little sadder than to watch a person who is bent on his backsliding. Here it was an entire nation who decided to ignore God’s love and pleading and continue on in their sin. While all along there is an outward appearance of calling on the Lord, none would exalt Him in their lives by repenting of and forsaking their sin.

Sadly we are not exempt from the same situation today. There are those of God’s people who know they are sinning, who know that God offers restoration of fellowship, but they are bent on their backsliding. What a tragic situation to be in!

May we walk so close to the Lord that when backsliding starts we are swift to restore fellowship with Him.

Friday, 5 January 2007

I taught Ephraim to walk

“I taught Ephraim also to go, taking them by their arms; but they knew not that I healed them. I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love: and I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their jaws, and I laid meat unto them. He shall not return into the land of Egypt, but the Assyrian shall be his king, because they refused to return.” - Hosea 11v3-5

I doubt there is any picture as precious as a parent teaching a child to walk, drawing them in love, and stooping down to feed them. Here in Hosea the picture is almost heart breaking. God did all of this for Israel, but the refused to stay faithful to Him.

There is a precious principle here though. We get just a glimpse of how God treats His children. As Christians we have been adopted into His family. He talks about His tender care for us in the New Testament, but this is a beautiful picture. He tenderly teaches us the walk in Him, and lovingly feeds us with His word. Lets me sure that we don’t reject it as Ephraim did.

Thursday, 4 January 2007

Break up the fallow ground

“Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.” - Hosea 10v12

It is amazing how often we are reminded that God is the God of second chances. Israel’s sin was so grievous that God likened it to adultery and whoredom. They totally had been caught up in their sin, but still God offers them a “way out.”

In the midst of all this God lays out the principle to get things sorted:

Sow righteousness so that you can reap mercy
Break up your fallow ground
Seek the Lord till He answers

God is offering His help, but like Israel we have a part to play in setting things right. When we are settled in our sin we need to begin to sow righteousness instead of sin and unrighteousness, that way God can show us the full extent of His mercy.
Far too often we go through life happy with our fallow ground. The fields of our hearts lay unused and going back to week. It is time for us the break up the fallow grounds of our hearts and allow God to prosper our lives.

Wednesday, 3 January 2007

They did not cry with their hearts

And they have not cried unto me with their heart, when they howled upon their beds: they assemble themselves for corn and wine, and they rebel against me.” - Hosea 7v14

Why is that God’s people all through history seem to turn to God, but then go right back to their sin? Why would Paul write in Romans 7 that in our flesh we battle with sins and doing the things we don’t want while we don’t do the things we should? Why is there a lifelong struggle with sin? Is there any hope.

I think there is. Paul wrote that only Christ could deliver him from the body of death. The reason for constantly losing the battle appears to be the same as it was for Israel here. Israel called out to God, but it was not from their hearts, instead it was a selfish howling.

We are not going to see God work in our hearts and see victory until we call out to Him from our hearts. When we call from our hearts it is because we are convinced that we must have His help. Anything else is just working from the flesh.

Tuesday, 2 January 2007

Mercy, and not sacrifice

“For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” - Hosea 6v6

What does God desire from His people. There are far too many churches and far too many people who would say that God requires us to abide by a certain set of rules, to dress a certain way, and keep a list of permissible place to attend and avoid.

Israel had the same mindset – the most important thing they could do was to offer sacrifices and burnt offerings, keeping to a legalist code. Legalism may seem like a harsh word, but that is what it is when we put a “code of practice” to a place God never intended it to be. The Jews did it, and some folks today are just a guilty.

What does God desire? In this passage He says He desires mercy and knowing Him above all the rest. I recently saw a video to a song called “Does Anybody Hear Her?” The story is of a girl running in the wrong direction and the Christians who are too busy doing their “Christian thing” to notice her. “Under every steeple all the lost and lonely people are searching for the hope that’s tucked away in you and me…” aptly describes what is going on in far too many lives. We are far too busy doing “church stuff” to be aware of the needs to show God’s mercy to the needy around us.

There is nothing wrong with our “church stuff” but we are missing it if we don’t truly seek to know God and show His mercy to others. That’s what He desires – the “church stuff” will fall into place if we know God and seek to show His mercy.

Monday, 1 January 2007

Till they acknowledge their offence

“I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offense, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early.” - Hosea 5v15

God will not totally forsake His people. In the case of Israel God would not cast them off, but He would remove His blessings from them as long as they remained in their sin. God is so holy that He cannot tolerate sin in any sense. In this case Israel remained God’s people, but He withdrew His blessing until they turned back to Him and repented. He allowed them to be afflicted to bring about their repentance.

Once we get saved we belong to Him, we are His children. He is not going to cast us of, but if we continue in out sin we cannot expect God to pour out His blessings. God does not cast us off either, but we may expect Him to withhold His blessings until we forsake our sin and turn to Him.