“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 5:15

     When we walk with the Lord, our difficulties should both drive us to our knees and direct our feet toward Home (Lk. 15:1-1-19).

     Israel had played the harlot.  She, like some lady-of-the-night standing on the street corner, had run to other “lovers” (nations) to meet her needs.  And, in the process she’d even begun worshipping their pagan, carved and cast idols, forgetting the One Who’d called her by His Name and repeatedly revealed Himself faithful (2:13).


     Yet, through the prophet, Hosea, whose name means “salvation,” the God of Abraham revealed to what lengths He was willing to go to show His Love to us, His People.  That’s why he instructed the young prophet to marry a cultic prostitute named Gomer (Hos. 1:2-3a), have three children by her (1:4-9) and suffer the humiliation of having to buy her back off a slave block after she returned to her old way-of- life (3:1-2).


     Throughout his half-century ministry Hosea’s message was three- fold:  God abhors the sins of His People; Judgment is sure; but His loyal love never changes.

     Likewise, the Lord God demonstrated there is “Love in His wrath and wrath in His Love” by “giving them up to their sinful ways”— something which still takes place today (Rom. 1:18-32).  He knew then, even as He knows now, that most often we will not look up until we’ve gone down (Ps. 107:26-30).  But, praise His Holy Name, He “gives us up to our sinful ways” (Rom. 1:24, 26, 28), but never “gives up on us.”  Hallelujah!!


     Dear Pilgrim, what difficulties are you going through right now that are tempting you to shake your fist toward Heaven, growing bitter in the process?  Have you spent time in prayer asking the Lord to show you if those “fiery trials” are satanic oppression or Divine afflictions?  Do you constantly find yourself running into those proverbial “brick walls” and closed doors, but have failed to stop and ask why?  Could it be the Lord is trying to tell you something?



     “The ones the Lord loves He chastens (Heb. ‘paideuo’—‘to train up a child, educate, discipline by punishment, instruct, etc.’) and scourges (Heb. ‘mastigoo’—‘to flog, whip, plague, squeeze, chew on, etc.’) every son whom He receives” (Heb. 12:6; Prov. 3:12).  Likewise, we should always remember He will not discipline someone else’s child (Heb. 12:8).


     That’s why we should “give thanks in all things” (I Thess. 5:18)—even when everything’s falling apart—for the Heavenly Father loves us too much to leave us alone when we’ve strayed from Him.  Just as He allowed Jonah to run only as far as He wanted him to, so will He “hedge up our way with thorns and make a wall so we cannot find our paths” (Hos. 2:6).


     Why does He do this?  Simply because He loves us.  And, He doesn’t want us to move from being a “fertile, fruitful field that is blessed by Him into a barren, cursed field that’s full of thorns and thistles” (Heb. 6:7-8).  Thank You, Lord, for our afflictions—for “in our afflictions we will seek You early (Heb. ‘shachar’—‘earnestly, painstakingly, diligently, etc.’).”

By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated February 26, 2010

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