April 19, 2018
"Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers his righteousness on you." Hosea 10:12 (NIV)
God wants us to get some things settled in our heart. One of the most crucial is deciding whether we are all-in when it comes to our relationship with Him. Do we want to walk in the fullness of His love and His plans? Or, do we want to spend our lives chasing after the world's empty pleasures?
Why not push the limits, live for the now and worry about eternity later?
The enemy is very strategic with his plans to derail and distract us. He's clever by making his temptations seem so harmless.
The problem is that we miss the whole point of our existence, the very purpose for which we were created. God made us for the relationship of His perfect love. But if we're always chasing after other things, we'll never experience the fullness of that love. There's a big difference between a half-hearted approach to God and whole-hearted devotion.
That half-hearted approach is where we find God's people in a passage of Scripture I have been studying recently.
Hosea 10 opens with the initial appearance that all is well for the Israelites. They're flourishing and in a season of plenty. (Hosea 10:1) Anyone looking at them from the outside would probably assume God is pleased with them and greatly blessing them. But Hosea lets the Israelites know God is anything but pleased with them, and their season of plenty and fruitfulness is about to be replaced with one of destruction and barrenness.
Hosea 10:2 explains the reason, "Their heart is deceitful, and now they must bear their guilt. The LORD will demolish their altars and destroy their sacred stones."
The Hebrew word for "deceit" is חָלַק, ḥālaq (pronunced "Ha ‒ Lack") and means "divided, smooth, or slippery."
God didn't have their whole heart.
Their hearts were deceived and divided. Instead of worshipping God with their whole heart, the Israelites turned to their pagan altars. (Hosea 10:1) Instead of trusting in the Lord, they put their faith in their rebellious and evil kings. (Hosea 10:3-4, 7)
They ignored God's warnings to tear down their altars - failing to realize that divided affections will always be detrimental to their life of devotion. And as they chased after their idols, they wandered away from their covenant relationship with the Lord.
Thankfully, God is gracious in the midst of our wandering - beckoning us back home, calling us to repentance, offering us the chance to begin again.
He holds out hope to the Israelites and to us in Hosea 10:12: "Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers righteousness on you."
I don't want us to miss the original Hebrew meaning of the word "seek" in this verse. The word is דָּרַשׁ, dāraš (pronounced "Da ‒ Rash") is translated as "turning to the Lord." I love that! Can't you just hear the Father's voice calling out to His people? Calling out to us?
As if He's saying ... "My wayward and wandering children, turn back! Turn to Me! The path you are on is one that leads to destruction. One I cannot bless. But it's not too late! You haven't wandered too far. You can stop right now, right where you are, and return to Me. You can make wise and holy choices. Starting now. You can sow better seed. Today. Draw near to Me once again, and I will draw near to you. Repent of your sins and receive the fullness of My mercy, grace and forgiveness. Welcome Me even into the parts of your heart that have perhaps been hard and resistant to Me. Turn to Me. Seek Me. You will find Me waiting and ready to move in your life with amazing grace, unending love and incredible power."
Oh how I pray we will answer His call today. Let's seek God like never before. Let's turn to Him, follow Him and offer Him all that we are and all that we have.
Father God, please forgive me. You know how my heart can get so divided and stretched and pulled in a million directions. Thank You for reminding me that You want every single piece of my heart. Please reveal anything I have been turning to instead of You. Teach me to rely on Your strength and power in the areas where I am weak. My deepest desire is to follow hard after You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 86:11, "Teach me your way, LORD, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name." (NIV)
The enemy wants us to feel discouraged and defeated when we realize we have been living lives of half-hearted devotion to the Lord. But God wants us to turn to His Word for wisdom, hope and a fresh start! That's why we want to invite you to join Lysa TerKeurst and the First 5 Writing Team, who continue to study the minor prophets of the Old Testament. Join us for the next First 5 study, Return to Refuge, starting May 7! Click here to learn more.
Find out if Lysa TerKeurst is speaking in a town near you soon here.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Would you say God has your whole heart? Is there anything you have been looking to for comfort, for hope, for fulfillment more than Him? How can you purposefully turn back toward Him today? Let us know in the comments!
© 2018 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.