Sometimes I find that sitting down to read the Word of God isn’t easy to do. I get distracted, my thoughts are here, there, and everywhere, and, I find myself growing frustrated that I’m not more disciplined. Then, this happens – He loves me anyway – and blesses me with truth about His truth. Lately, as I have been moving through Psalm 1 (at a snail’s pace it seems) I am beginning to see how much I miss when I rush through a reading just to say, “yay, I got my daily word in!” Last year, in one of my classes, we talked about how spiritual disciplines become more of a duty instead of devotion. I get busy, grow increasingly tired as the school year moves along, and I lose sight of the richness of grace and power found in His law; I forget how beautiful it is to abide within its safety. Psalm 1:2 pricked my hurried heart this morning about that very thing. When all is well, and the light is shining (day,) when the Holy Spirit’s comfort surrounds me, I need to carefully consider the forcefully compelling teachings and facts (law) He has laid before me in His word, focusing on their truth and power. I need to mentally plan (meditate) a strategy– an offensive battle plan constructed from His law; and, in unison, when the final part of the day comes, the darkness falls, night has come and it’s time to defend my soul and the souls of those around me, I will remember the day’s mediations, I will focus my thoughts toward their truth and power. The day and night become a force to be reckoned with when I make them both a dwelling place firmly fixed upon the Him. God’s word is full of treasure, and this morning, while the light shines, He is reminding me of that faithful fact. So, when the night falls, and the black of midnight tries to assail my soul, may I find myself securely planted amid the strength of His word!
But his delight in in the law of the Lord, and in His law he mediates both day and night. Psalm 1:2
God’s favor rests upon His children when we separate ourselves from the enemy camp. (Ps. 1:1) God delights to stay connected to us, but many times, we find our plans and purpose being influenced by all the wrong things. To desire His divine protection, and long for a right relationship with our Father is where victory lies.
I am beginning to understand more and more just how important it is to be a steward that seeks to take great pleasure in the Lord’s word and will, and not take counsel from, or tarry among the negative and disrespectful influences of the enemy. It may be, learning a pilgrim's walk with God is harder than one would realize, but totally doable through Jesus (all things remember?) And, although this world is not my home, (Heb. 13:14) as a Christian, I am never to act as judge and jury of others, this is not what loving Him is about - rather, I am to rejoice in His grace, understanding that it is He who is my Savior, and live my life in such a manner that others see His redeeming and powerful love. (Acts 22:15, John 3:16, Heb. 9:12)
Although it was hard to take in at first, His word enlightened and moved me today, and gave me a sense of direction and peace - and even though obedience is often difficult, therein lies the reward – a walk to remember.
Psalm 1:1-2 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly , nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord and he mediates in it both day and night.
What a beautiful thing, this love our Father has for us. It overwhelms me, there are no words to describe it. I'm thankful that He hears me in the morning, during the day, the evening and even in the wee hours of the night. His favor surrounds me like a shield. (Ps. 5:12) I'm thankful He will guide me, teach me, and lead me along the path of life, knowing I am a stranger in a foreign land, and I don't know where I'm going on most days. I'm grateful He delights to deliver me, longs to bring me joy and dances with pleasure at the thought of me. What??? He rejoices over me, with singing?? (Zeph. 3:17) Again, what a good good Father I have, one that makes me feel so special, nurtured and loved. I love the mere mention of His name, my heart overflows with joy today because He loves me. (Ps. 5:11c)
From the beginning of Hosea's account, the very subject he addresses is infused with the uncomfortable theme of sexual debauchery. Nevertheless, reading it through the lense of spiritual context helps to bring a richness to the text that transcends the nature of the content. Teaching the passages of Hosea would require honesty, and a brave approach from beginning to end, because of the truth contained in this prophet of God's message. One of the most provocative portions for me stands out in the juxtaposition of Chapter 2, 4-5 and verses 14, 19-20,23 -
“Bring charges against your mother, bring charges; For she is not My wife, nor am I her Husband! Let her put away her harlotries from her sight, And her adulteries from between her breasts; Lest I strip her naked And expose her, as in the day she was born, And make her like a wilderness, And set her like a dry land, And slay her with thirst. “I will not have mercy on her children, For they are the children of harlotry. For their mother has played the harlot; She who conceived them has behaved shamefully. For she said, ‘I will go after my lovers, Who give me my bread and my water, My wool and my linen, My oil and my drink.
“Therefore, behold, I will allure her, Will bring her into the wilderness, And speak comfort to her. “I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me In righteousness and justice, In lovingkindness and mercy; I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness, And you shall know the Lord ."
Hosea had been obedient to marry Gomer because of His love for God, not necessarily out of a true love for Gomer, yet, at the end of it all, this has shifted. The words he uses to explain what transpired is full of emotion, righteous anger, tenderness and surrender, which is a beautiful picture of God's adoration toward His children. Hosea promises a betrothal of faithfulness that I am quite certain Gomer had never experienced, and, I dare say, it was also likely did not feel worthy of it either. God is divine and He loves us just because. To know that before redemption, we were slaves to sin, prostitutes of the flesh, God could have, with all justification, left us there. Nevertheless, just as Hosea bought Gomer off the auction block "with fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a lethech of barley" (3:2) God bought us back too, except our debt was forgiven at a much steeper price - His only Son's blood - definitely a love I had never known before, and I am certain I am not worthy of.
When I read how the Lord said to Hosea, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by a lover and is committing adultery, just like the love of the Lord for the children of Israel, who look to other gods and love the raisin cakes of the pagans.
I cannot help but recall this verse from the Psalms, "He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me." (18:19) The fact that His love for His children is so complete is the most provocative thing of all - shockingly wonderful !
I'm really bad about letting my voicemail get full, so, tonite, as I was emptying it out, I listened to ones that I had saved several months back. As I listened to a familiar voice, it struck me that the only truth I can count on is Jesus loves me, beyond that, life is a risky business. Nonetheless, it's a beautiful adventure of trusting that He is "faithful to establish, strengthen and guard us from the evil one," (2 Thess. 3:3) and that He has "fashioned all of our days." (Ps. 139:16b) "Why should I worry, why should I fear - when the very same Jesus is always near...," especially when stepping out on faith with an open heart? Hurt and disappointments; mistakes and sadness are just as much a part of this life as joy and love, and excitement and peace are. Learning to trust Him with my heart and life is a process. I'm sure thankful that everyone of His promises are Yes and Amen in Christ Jesus - I can count on them, cause the Bible tells me so.
I love the Word of God, it is so full of treasures. We could never have enough time to seek them all out - they are too vast. But when we do seek, we are promised that we will find. Let me explain. As I was going though my Bible study today, the author encouraged us to take one of the verses from the readings and personalize it. When I came across Acts 11:23-24, I began writing it out (inserting my name in key parts) and man, did it ever make my soul wiggle with conviction and excitement. How many times had I heard sermons preached about "the encourager," Barnabas - too many to recount; but today, those verses became priceless jewels to my heart. Barnabas testimony became very real to me because I have seen the grace of God, and I long to be an encourager for Christ like he was. I pray to grow, and become a woman of deep faith and full of the Holy Spirit, a woman with a testimony that makes a difference, leading people to look to Jesus. I am not always the student of the Word that I should be, nevertheless, He is always the faithful provider of truth, forgiveness and grace when I seek Him. As I encourage all of us to be in His word, I am reminded that it is our Father's good pleasure to give us the kingdom, (Luke 12:32) and His word is where wisdom and direction are found. (James 1:5, Prov. 3:5-6) So, let's go hunt some treasure, shall we?
When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should cleave unto the Lord. For he was a good man full of the Holy Ghost and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. (Acts 11:23-24)