The following is something I read from the Tenth Avenue North Website. It is from Mike's Journal dated Feb 3rd, 2009.
Challenging and powerful words.
“Come, let us return to the LORD.
He has torn us to pieces
but he will heal us;
he has injured us
but he will bind up our wounds.”
Excuse me, what?!!
Who has torn us?
Who has injured us?
Wait a second there Hosea, didn’t you mean to say Satan has torn us?
Or maybe bad people?
You sure that’s not a typo or something?
Personally, I think one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to reconcile in my head
and my heart is this idea that a loving, merciful, compassionate God
would hurt me.
And not on accident either, but purposefully and willfully.
God will unapologetically tear me into pieces so that He can heal me.
And I suppose it isn’t so terribly surprising coming from a prophet who was made
to marry a harlot. If anyone would know something about being hurt by the
Lord it would be him right?
I don’t know if you know the story, but
I mean, just put yourself in his place for a second.
There you are. The man. The dude. You’re the prophet over all of Israel, and
you’ve been keeping yourself pure, praying every day for the woman that God will
give to you and then He finally speaks, but its not at all what you were hoping for.
Hosea: “Yeah Lord?”
God: “It’s time.”
Hosea: “Ahhhh Yeaaahhh! That’s what I was hoping you were gonna say.
Time for a wife right Lord?”
God: “Yes Hosea, it’s time for a wife.”
Hosea: “Ooohh, I can’t wait!!! Just tell me though God, is she hot and holy?
Cuz you know, I’ve been keeping myself pure, and I just know you’re gonna
reward me with a wife that’s hot and holy. That’s all I’m asking for because,
hey, that’s what I deserve right?”
God: “Well, not exactly. I don’t think she’s quite what you had in mind.”
Hosea: “Wait, what? …..Oh… I see! She’s even hotter and holier than I thought!
Oh yeah Lord, I know how you work!
God: “Well, no.”
Hosea: “What you mean, no?”
God: “Hosea, I don’t know how to tell you this, well, of course I know how to tell you this,
I’m God, it’s just, well….she’s a prostitute.”
God: “Prostitute. Whore. Lady of the Night.”
Hosea: No, no, I know what it is, but a PROSTITUTE!!!
God: Yeah, I know that’s not what you were planning, but its what I was planning, so you’re
gonna marry her.
Hosea: “I’m gonna do what?”
God: “you’re gonna marry her, but then of course, she’ll cheat on you, and sell herself
so you’ll have to go buy her back.”
Hosea: “Go what?”
“Yeah, you’re going to forgive her and buy her back and when she cheats on you again
and has children with other lovers you’re going to love them and take her back again.”
Hosea: “Come again?”
God: “you’re going to love her kids and take her back.”
Long awkward silence
Hosea: “What’s her name?”
Hosea: “Oh Come on!!!”
Now I apologize if you’re name is Gomer, but you do have to admit,
it’s a rather unfortunate name, and an even more unfortunate situation.
But the Bible records that it did happen.
Maybe not exactly like that, but God did tell Hosea to marry an adulterous wife.
And the reason that the Lord supplies in Hosea 3
Is that their marriage was to show us how he loves his people.
He loves his people like an adulterous wife.
And the story is so insanely beautiful when you see it from that angle,
but when you look at it from Hosea’s angle it’s just plain crazy.
Think about what you’d say if your pastor got up in front of the congregation and
announced that he was about to marry a whore. What would your response be?
Now, I’m not suggesting that every one go out and marry someone from the local
street corner, but I am saying that it is evident that God will do whatever He has to do
to bring you to a place where all you want is Him.
He’ll break you, He’ll hurt you, He’ll ruin your plans, and He’ll tear you into pieces,
and He’ll do it all out of a perfect holy love.
And look, I know that sounds crazy, but think about it for a moment.
A lot of people want to use God to give them something other than Himself.
If we’re honest, we’ll admit that we all do it on some level.
For instance, we don’t have sex until we’re married, because then God owes us a virgin.
We give 10% of our income to a church, because then God owes us prosperity and wealth.
We pray and pray and pray, and then God owes it to us to answer and give us what we want.
And in all those cases, Jesus is no longer the end, but simply a means to something else.
You’ve got to see that in Hosea’s case, or perhaps in the case
of that one friend of yours who thinks marriage is the goal of their existence.
Don’t laugh. It might be you.
But if you think about it, It would actually be unloving of God to go
and make our marriage perfect and make that person fulfill our every hope and dream.
Because that person will die.
That marriage will end, and if your whole life and existence and joy depends on another
human being, you will inevitably be in for heartache.
Just read the Twilight series (it’s true. I’ve read it, though I’m not proud of it)
and see how the heroine Bella, how her entire life falls apart when her vampire
lover leaves her. Put simply, If our joy rests entirely upon human love or
vampire love, or any other kind of earthly love for that matter,
then one day, our joy will be destroyed.
Is this making sense?
Of course, marriage is just one example.
Money. Security. Fame. Obedience. Sex. Drugs. Worship Music.
If our hope is set in anything but the living person of Christ, then we’re just setting ourselves
up for failure. And so God, in his infinite and everlasting love, will do whatever He has to do
to break, bend and conform his people’s hearts to Him.
He will no longer be the means to some other end, but the end Himself.
Like a surgeon who has to cut you open,
so God must tear us apart to create in us a new heart.
A heart that is obsessed with Him alone.
But unlike a doctor, He doesn’t just use a knife. He uses the most bizarre people,
circumstances, and tragedies to change our hearts until they only treasure Him.
He will break us down.
And it will be painful, scary, and altogether beautiful.
Friends, if the Lord is tearing down your world today,
if all the walls on your so carefully constructed plans are caving in on themselves,
then ask Him in faith, God, are you my treasure?
And if you find the answer is no, then ask Him to bring it on.
Break out the scalpel. Tear down the walls. Let loose the storms.
Ask Him to do whatever He has to do, until you can proclaim with the psalmist,
“Whom have in heaven but you,
and earth has nothing I desire besides you.”
All this world is fading away anyway right?
Then take heart.
This life is not about succeeding.
It’s not about changing the world.
It’s not about living with purpose, or leaving a legacy
or making the maximum impact with your life.
It’s actually not even about living your life for God.
Did you hear me?
Don’t live your life for God.
Live your life because God.
Because He has loved us, redeemed us, and because He is all that our hearts are longing for.
It’s no longer about what you do with your life at all, because He is your life.
May He do whatever it takes to open our eyes to see that.
He is the means and He is the end. And everything in between is from his hand.
It can be terrifying at times, I know, but its worth it.
Believe me, and I guess more importantly believe Him.
It’s worth it.
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing
with the glory that will be revealed in us.”
“”Come, let us return to the LORD.
He has torn us to pieces
but he will heal us;
he has injured us
but he will bind up our wounds.
2 After two days he will revive us;
on the third day he will restore us,
that we may live in his presence.
3 Let us acknowledge the LORD;
let us press on to acknowledge him.
As surely as the sun rises,
he will appear;
he will come to us like the winter rains,
like the spring rains that water the earth.”