Thursday, January 31, 2019

Hosea, Day 18: Hosea 9 - Why is it Good for Sin to Have Heavy Consequences?

Why is it Good for Sin to Have Heavy Consequences? 
Hosea, Day 18

Rejoice not, O Israel!
    Exult not like the peoples;
for you have played the whore, forsaking your God.
    You have loved a prostitute's wages
    on all threshing floors.
Threshing floor and wine vat shall not feed them,
    and the new wine shall fail them.
They shall not remain in the land of the Lord,
    but Ephraim shall return to Egypt,
    and they shall eat unclean food in Assyria.

The days of punishment have come;
    the days of recompense have come;
    Israel shall know it.
The prophet is a fool;
    the man of the spirit is mad,
because of your great iniquity
    and great hatred.

They have deeply corrupted themselves
    as in the days of Gibeah:
he will remember their iniquity;
    he will punish their sins.

Like grapes in the wilderness,
    I found Israel.
Like the first fruit on the fig tree
    in its first season,
    I saw your fathers.
But they came to Baal-peor
    and consecrated themselves to the thing of shame,
    and became detestable like the thing they loved.
Ephraim's glory shall fly away like a bird—
    no birth, no pregnancy, no conception!
Even if they bring up children,
    I will bereave them till none is left.
Woe to them
    when I depart from them!

Ephraim is stricken;
    their root is dried up;
    they shall bear no fruit.
Even though they give birth,
    I will put their beloved children to death.
My God will reject them
    because they have not listened to him;
    they shall be wanderers among the nations.

 - selected verses from Hosea 9, ESV

Imagine a husband who goes to his wife and tells her, "I no longer feel like being faithful to you. I'm going to go out to bars and clubs to pick up other women. Sometimes I will go home with those women and, at other times, I will bring them home here. But I still want to be married to you and to continue on like a normal married couple."

Such a husband would be horrible and would not be worthy of the title husband. Do you know what would be even worse? A wife who would accept that from her husband and go on living with him as though nothing were wrong. Such a response from a wife would not be love but hatred, an utter indifference to whether her husband is faithful or not.

The Lord said He was Israel's husband, her faithful covenant protector and provider. Yet Israel decided to be a spiritual prostitute. Even more insulting than her unfaithfulness to the Lord was Israel's expectation that the Lord would continue to bless, protect, and provide for her, just as He always had. If He agreed to those terms, what kind of husband would the Lord be?

Have you ever suffered serious consequences from your sin? I know I have. At the time, such consequences were unwelcome and bitter to take. Yet, looking back, I now see that the Lord was loving me through those consequences. He was turning me from my sin to repentance. He was drawing me back to Himself.

Are you in a place where you think you're getting away with your sin, suffering no consequences from repeated willful disobedience to the Lord? If so, you should be very concerned. Your heart is hardening toward your Lord. Sin is becoming easier, and your love for Christ is growing cold. Cry to God for the mercy of repentance, the grace of a broken heart.

If you are suffering some deep consequences for your sin, don't take this as rejection from God but as love. He is breaking you so He can heal you. Turn to Him for the mercy you need. Don't ask for relief from the consequences but for forgiveness for your sin. See your sin as the problem and the Lord will respond with loving mercy. 

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