Saturday, April 24, 2010
The Turning, Thoughts on Hosea 14 (condensed)
Come fully back to me
because your sins have made you fall!
(God was addressing the tribe of Ephraim)
Come back to the Lord
and say these words to him:
"Take away all our sin
and kindly receive us,
and we will keep the promises we made to you.
No country on Earth can save us,
nor will we trust in houses, banks or the government.
We will not esteem as divine what we ourselves have made."
Our gracious Lord says,
"I will forgive them for leaving me
and will love them freely,
because I am not angry with them anymore.
I will be like the dew to saturate my chosen ones
and they will blossom with the beauty of the lily,
their roots will be as firm as the great cedar.
They will be like spreading branches,
like the beautiful olive trees
and the fragrant cedar.
My people will again live under my protection.
They will grow like the grain,
they will bloom like a vine,
and they will be as famous as the bouquet of a prized wine!
Do not look for my replacement. I, the Lord, am the one who answers your prayers and watches over you. I am an evergreen tree; from me is your fruit found.
A wise person will know these things,
and an understanding person will take them to heart."
"I AM an evergreen tree, from me is your fruit found."
The fruit of this evergreen is eternal. It does not pass away. It cannot be precious one day and common the next. This has all the permanence that worldly treasures lack.
I believe God is telling those who will listen that at this moment of confusion and loss, of financial uncertainty and fog, of a lean time in many households, businesses and ministries, HE will bring the dew to sustain us. Even more so that we will in these lean times spread out our branches, heavy with fruit and fragrance.
Living in Alaska we don't often get fruit that tastes like what is appears to be. It may look like a peach or a tomato but it usually tastes like cardboard. And we sure pay a dear price for such tasteless fare.
When John David went to basic training in Georgia I told him to eat some peaches. He told me a story of how they were on a run one day and the most luscious and compelling fragrance saturated the air...peaches...ripe on a tree. JD and a few friends waited until lights out and sneaked back to find the tree and eat their fill. He said he had never known that a peach could taste like that.
I believe our Father wants us to lift our branches and reveal His sweet and eternal fruit to a world hungry for something real. In days of drought our roots will have moisture. In days of lack our branches will be full. No prosperity gospel just something God is telling us to be. How will that be possible in times of such difficulty? I AM.
I will dream of fruit, I will cup my leaves to catch the dew of heaven, spread my branches and release His fragrance. What is broken, barren and unproductive I will let go of. What is lost I won't spend time looking for. I will be too occupied with what is ahead of me to concern myself with what is done. Spring, summer, fall and winter there will be PEACHES because I am His!
Remember Jesus walked around with thousands of fish and fresh loaves of warm bread inside of Him and He knew it. The only difference today is that we don't know they are inside of us. We may suspect they are crammed into some persons we credit with more spirituality than us but inside of us? Never!
Look at the beginning of Hosea. God is not addressing the College of Cardinals. He is not addressing the Overseer of the Church of God. He is talking to a tribe He had called by name (the tribe of Ephraim) had Himself named "Double Fruit" who then forgot Him, messed up and were counterfeiters! Sounds like us.
So when God says, "My people will again live under my protection. They will grow like the grain, they will bloom like a vine, and they will be as famous as the bouquet of a prized wine," He is looking ahead for us and calling those things which are not as though they were. He is looking at nothing and saying to it, "I AM!"
He is looking at our empty bank accounts and our empty branches and is reminding them that He smells peaches. He is asking us to turn once and for all from the things that get in the way and go into partnership with Him with a whole heart. We will find the fish only AFTER we leave our own nets. After we say, "Yes.'
The clock is ticking and the hour is late. He is coming back just as he said.
LORD, I lift my empty branches and I am saying, Yes!"
...A wise person will know these things, and an understanding person will take them to heart.