Studying Hosea – Undivided Love

 

“Teach me your way O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.” Psalm 86:11

 

What does God feel when our love is divided?  When we spend time on our personal endeavors and pursuing our personal achievements, allocating more time and energy in these pursuits, how is God affected?  This thought came to me last night when I sat down to study His word, and ended up becoming distracted with increasing the SEO on some of my web sites.  I had the intentions of devoting this time to God, but instead my attention and love was divided and targetted toward personal endeavors.

I love studying the Old Testement because it reveals to us many personality  traits of God, “I AM”.  The God of Abraham, Father of Israel, close friend and revelation of prophets, Husband to those that He loves.  God looks at us as a bride because this is the way that we are to love Him – as a new bride, forever a newly wed caught in the snares of puppy love and infatuation.  And why should we not?  If someday, I am married to a man that loves me in the totality of the way and strength that God loves me, I believe I would be insane not to fall more in love with him everyday.  One aspect of God that is revealed in books like Hosea is His intense jealousy and desire for undivided love.   When our love is divided, He views this as an adulterous marriage.  God is jealous for our hearts because He knows that only in singleness of heart and love for Him will we have what is best for us. Only when everything comes second, will we be given the desires of our hearts, and only then will our aspirations come to full fruition.

In Hosea 2, Israel had come to love God in an adulterous way.  This nation and it’s people did not worship God with singleness of heart.  They had begun to create idols with their own works, their own hands.  God said that they were called by Him ‘Lo-Ammi’ (not my people) instead of ‘children of the living God’.   Hosea 2:2, God states “Let her remove the adulterous look from her face and the unfaithfulness from between her breasts”.  See the peoples’ gaze was not intent and solely focused on God, and their heart was divided.  They did not do all things for the glory of God.  Their works and worship had become about them– their glory, their success.

Then He goes on to say in Hosea 2:3 “Otherwise I will strip her naked…turn her into a parched land and slay her with thirst.”  We all know about this.  Have you ever been “stripped” by God?  Have you ever experienced that moment when you realize you are not all that (and a bag of chips).  Your weaknesses are out there for all to see.  If you are God’s child, then in these moments, you become tender.  You become thirsty.  You realize God’s place in your life, and you need Him.  In that moment you long for Him more than ever because He is your refuge, source, and comfort.

I will not show my love to her children because they are children of adultery, Hosea 2:4

Psalms 37:4-5 says that if you delight yourself  in the Lord that He will give you the desires of your heart. If you commit your ways to the Lord, and trust in Him that He will bring you success in these desires.  Hosea 2:4 gives us the flip-side: If you pursue your own desires first and take delight in things other than Him, He will show no love to the “children” of your efforts.  When God does not show His love to your efforts, it goes on to say that He will block your baph and wall you in so that you cannot find your way.  You will chase after lovers but not find them.  These lovers are those things that you are giving higher priority to God.  Those things that you devote more time and energy.  What would that be for you?  Your children, husband, cleanliness of your home, career, new business, working out at the gym, even church.  Now don’t get me wrong church is important.  But are you spending the same amount of time pursuing intimacy with God?  Do you find yourself staying up late and getting up early to spend more time with Him.  Or are you staying up late working on other things and getting up early to get a head start on work or the house/kids?

God says that he will “ruin” that which was your hard-earned pay from you other lovers (Hosea 2:12).  All of that time that you are investing in these endeavors- that which you are giving higher priority to your time with God- will be devoured.   I would rather be ruined for God than by God.  How about you? You will never regret spending your energy and effort on discovering Him.  His character, personality, and love is endless…boundless.  And as you put Him first and delight in Him, your dreams will come true.  The difference is- they will come to pass not by your strength but by God’s power.  Your dreams realized will become a gift from God in return for your undivided love.

I recommend that you read the end of Hosea where God turns from hurt, angry and vengeful to loving and accepting.  This chapter in Hosea shows so many facets of God.  In the end of this chapter, He reveals that his anger and jealousy is only rooted in such an intense love.  He has an intense desire to “betroth us in faithfulness” (Hosea 2:20),  to “plant us for Himself”,  to call us “His people” and to hear us in return call out “You are my God!”(Hosea 2:23)

Prayer:

God, You are my God! And I have no other before You.  I love You.  I love you because of your intense love for me.  I am always on your mind, and you are always seeking to win over my heart.  Your desire is to give me the desire of my heart, but your desire is that I would delight in You.  Father, melt away the distractions that would keep me from being ruined for you. Because I don’t want to ruined by you.  Give me faith to trust that in seeking you and forsaking other things, You will do what is best for me.  God, begin to work in my life.  As I am delighting in you, as I am seeking you with an undivided heart, I ask you now with boldness, give me the desires of my heart, Father.  For I am yours.  And yours alone.  Thank you for your love and the grace that will allow me today to do ALL things for your glory.

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