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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Called to Relationship

Hosea had to have been given one of the toughest assignments in history. This prophet was called by God to marry a prostitute. His mission: to be the loving husband of a faithless wife. In the days before morality plays and reality TV, God was painting a portrait in living flesh through the drama this family suffered.

The whole point is summed up in Hosea 2:16 “And in that day, declares the Lord, you will call me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer will you call me ‘My Baal.’
Baal meant “lord.” Think of the different degree of intimacy implied here. A Baal wants only obedience and obeisance. A husband wants relationship.
God has plenty of creatures to worship Him. Cherubim and Seraphim abound in heaven with the sole purpose of praise and worship 24/7/365. Don’t get me wrong, He delights in our worship, but that isn’t why mankind was created.
One of the coolest things about coming to a relationship and knowing the Lord, not just about Him, is that we are bound to worship Him. How can we not when we realize how truly incredibly, amazingly wonderful He is.

He designed us for relationship. I believe He wants to go back to those early days with Adam and Eve when they walked together in the cool of the day. He knows us, and He wants us to seek to know Him. To choose Him above all others as our bridegroom.
As our Lord he could dictate our devotion, but that’s about as satisfying as forcing your kids to say: “I love you” after they have been punished. If it’s not voluntary, it loses value.
God valued the relationship potential He has with each of us. His death on the cross was engineered to restore us to a place where, spiritually we could once again be ushered into His presence and the relationship could be restored to its rightful position.
People sacrifice for relationships all the time. They give up jobs to stay close to someone they love. Or maybe they work extra hours to provide for their children. Some people are willing to sacrifice their dignity just for the chance at a relationship with someone of the opposite sex.
What are you willing to sacrifice in order to be foster your relationship with the creator of heaven and Earth? The one who has wooed you through the eons. He who will never leave you or forsake you. Who wrote a book full of love letters to you. He calls you precious and beloved.

14 comments:

  1. That was so beautiful, Lisa. And I learned something new today.

    The whole point is summed up in Hosea 2:16 “And in that day, declares the Lord, you will call me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer will you call me ‘My Baal.’

    As you probably know, I love to write on this topic too, but I never stumbled upon that gem before.

    In fact, it's hard to find words like "intimacy" and "passion" in the Bible unless you go to a newer translation like the message.

    But this is a very beautiful portrait of God's desire for intimacy. I never saw that in the story of Hosea before in quite that light.

    Thanks, Lisa.

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  2. Thanks, Dina. It never ceases to amaze me how many layers there are in every verse. Amazing, infinite.

    Probably the most popular christian romance novel of all time, Francine Rivers's Redeeming Love is a retelling of the story of Hosea and Gomer, and therefore, by extension, a portrait of God's love. It's an incredible story and if you haven't ever read it, I recommend you hie thyself to the store and pick up a copy asap. Luckily for you it was recently re-released.

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  3. I have read it. It's one of my all time favorite books.

    Lisa, we used your post as a family devotional this morning. The kids were very interested and had great questions. Of course I avoided the actual word "prostitute" because I didn't want to explain that to my seven year old, but the older ones understood the full implication and were amazed by the story.

    Also, I will be posting on a similar issue for our "What's Love Got To Do With It" theme on Wednesday. I will be talking about how intimacy and sexuality interrelate and how we can learn about God's plan for our sexuality through the image of the church as the bride of Christ.

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  4. Hi Lisa,
    I echo Dina's sentiments. You asked:
    What are you willing to sacrifice in order to foster your relationship with the creator of heaven and Earth?

    That seems a difficult question for me. I think it's because any sacrifice I make next to Jesus dying on the cross seems insignificant.

    I think for me personally it's spending my time with God. I value my time a lot, but it's hard to imagine that as a sacrifice when I get so much out of it.

    Thanks for this post, Lisa. And I agree that Redeeming Love is awesome. Francine Rivers has such great talent. What a remarkable story on the book of Hosea. I'm so glad I wasn't named Gomer.:)

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  5. Aw, Dina that made my day. I figured you had read Redeeming Love. That was more a public service announcement!

    Jill, I'm so with you. Parting with my time is so tough for me. It just seems like there are so many voices clamoring for it. So many competing priorities.

    I'm pretty darn happy not to be called Gomer too.

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  6. This was a beautiful post today, Lisa, and the photos are a beautiful addition. I read this early and came back more than once. This is a great start to our love posts this month.

    When I did the study of the Tabernacle through Beth Moore's study "A woman's heart: God's dwelling place" I got a better understanding of just how much God wants our fellowship and love. He's the only one that can fill the void in our hearts and lives.

    I really love our Inkwell Sunday devotionals. Good idea...whoever thought of it!

    BTW my pipes thawed out at 4pm.
    Running Water! such a modern convenience!

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  7. Good post! I need to meditate on this a bit.
    Thanks and blessings,
    Karen

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  8. Thanks for the comments, Deb. I have got to find that devotion. I'm so glad you're back to the 20th century.

    Karen, thanks for stopping by. We always love to see you around the Inkwell.

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  9. Hi Lisa. This was beautiful. I love that God calls me precious and beloved. It's amazing to be loved that much, and it's even more amazing that God has that much room in his heart.

    I agree, Redeeming Love is a wonderful book.

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  10. Lovely post, Lisa. What a precious verse that is, truly one to cling to. I got a little teared up.

    God gave His all for me, and yet I'm never satisfied. I whine, whimper and groan my way through things rather than give them to Him joyfully. What a great reminder to relish the relationship He's offered me.

    Hi Karen! Love seeing you at the Inkwell!

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  11. Hi Susie and Suzie,

    Have I mentioned lately what a blessing you ladies are to me? Love you all. Thanks for taking time to comment today.

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  12. I like the image of Jesus as the bridegroom. There's a hymn: Rejoice, rejoice believers, and let your lights appear; the evening is advancing, and darker night is near. The bridegroom is arising and soon is drawing nigh. Up, pray and watch and wrestle; at midnight comes the cry.
    (2nd verse) The watchers on the mountain proclaim the bridegroom near; go forth as he approaches with alleluias clear. The marriage feast is waiting; the gates wide open stand. Arise, O heirs of glory; the bridegroom is at hand!

    I love singing that one in Advent. I like that you said "husband" means relationship, not dominance.

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  13. I don't think I've ever heard that hymn, Mary, but I love the words. Thank you for sharing that.

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  14. Aw Lisa, I really like this post. It's one of those deep-thinking posts you do so well. :)

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