A recent preparation for a talk at our Wild At Heart taster evening led me on a verse chase through the Thompson Chain reference Bible for students and under the heading: 'Forsaking God' led me to Hosea 2:5.
I started the scriptural journey reflecting on how we are made in God's image and, as such and due to the fall, are left with a deep longing in our soul for God - Psalm 42:1-2 'As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?'
A longing that nothing in this world will ever satisfy (Jeremiah 2:13). The message of Hosea is of God's unconditional love for us in the face of our faithless wandering, in the book realistically and so painfully characterised by Hosea's unfaithful wife.
In chapter 2 verse 5 'She said, "I will go after my lovers, who give me my food and my water,
my wool and my linen, my oil and my drink."'
The Hebrew word 'Meahabim' translated 'I will go after' denotes INTENSE PASSIONATE LOVE. She goes after the things of this world with a strength of desire that is so single-minded and fervid it is shocking. The Hebrew is plural meaning literally that she goes full on after these sinful loves. Not that the things in and of themselves are sinful but that she is striving after them to meet the deepest longing of her heart. She is turning deliberately from God to these things to seek slaking of her desperate thirst for life.
They were never designed to satisfy her in that way, OR YOU! The verse above is about us all. We 'all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God' (Rmns 3:23), a glory that was designed in us, that we were made for. A glory that we seek in desperate independent ways, in any way we can outside of God. Our sheer determination to make life work outside of God is inbuilt and shocking in its extremity.
All of us. Even when we believe, even when we turn to God and become followers. The ingrained patterns of living this way take years to work through, as C.S.Lewis said: 'There are many great things in Christianity that cannot be understood until after you've gone a certain distance along the Christian road.' I think one of those things is often properly understanding the grip the old self has on us, properly crucifying the false self - to stop hiding behind the fig leaves: to stop seeking to desperately live independently of God. In order to be rooted and established in Christ (Eph 3:17; Col 2:7) God must needs be help us root out the old. It is deeply rooted in our personality, in our styles of living, in the thousand decisions we make in a day. It is a journey he takes us on to walking in step with him.
The first step is to repent and turn from our independence. Then walk daily, battle daily, fight daily, strive daily, seek him daily with an INTENSE PASSIONATE LOVE.
God loves you that way. You were born into a world at war and have intensely loved other lovers - lesser lovers. You have been born again. Channel you love - intensely and passionately - toward God and living for him. You will never regret the LIFE which will fill you when you do this. Turn from the old, crucify it, embrace the new man, your new heart, your new name.
Love God and live free. Jesus came so you could have life in all its fullness.
But be aware that you have an enemy who seeks to 'steal, kill and destroy' (Jn 10:10). Join the battle friend: walk daily, battle daily, fight daily, strive daily, seek him daily with an INTENSE PASSIONATE LOVE.