Posts Tagged ‘outrageous’

This is  a study that I first wrote before Nisa’s birth and before the present trial that God has placed in our path.  More than ever the depth of God’s love for His people as illustrated by Hosea’s call and response to that call inspires my heart and lets me rest in the knowledge of His Grace.

“When the LORD first spoke through Hosea, the LORD said to Hosea, “Go, take to yourself a wife of harlotry and have children of harlotry ; for the land commits flagrant harlotry, forsaking the LORD.”  So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.”  Hosea 1:2-3

Then the LORD said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by her husband, yet an adulteress, even as the LORD loves the sons of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love raisin cakes.”  Hosea 3:1

Hosea is first and foremost a love story.  It is a live action representation of the redemptive love story called The Bible.  When I first read this amazing story I glossed over these two passages.  I did not really conceive of what God was asking of Hosea.

It is in chapter three that the reality of Hosea’s call becomes clear. Suddenly all of the technical sniping about the legal ramifications and the arguments over interpretation seem shallow.  Hosea was called by God to create in life a wonderful picture of His love for us, the love that culminated on a cross outside of Jerusalem and was fulfilled by an empty tomb!  It is a love that is sacrificial, one that accepts rejection and seeks redemption.  It is love that forgives offense and pursues atonement but it is a love that recognizes the requirements of holiness and demands a response.  It is a love that understands that in the absence of that response destruction comes.

“Sow with a view to righteousness, Reap in accordance with kindness; Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to seek the LORD Until He comes to rain righteousness on you.  You have plowed wickedness, you have reaped injustice, You have eaten the fruit of lies.  Because you have trusted in your way, in your numerous warriors”  Hosea 10:12-13

In this case I like the NIV’s translation of CHECED (rendered kindness by the NAS), “unfailing love”.  I think this considers well the overall theme of Hosea.

“Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love…”

This foreshadows Jesus’ response to the Pharisees in Matthew 22 when asked what the greatest commandment was.  “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind soul…You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

The formula is simple: Righteous living = Love.  God called Hosea to graphically demonstrate this love, the love of Righteousness.  He also calls us to love the un-lovable and shows us that this can be done without sacrificing righteousness.  Hosea never accepted and/or condoned her sin but he went and loved her, went and redeemed her where she was at.  In just the same way Christ came to our sorry estate and loved us, redeemed us.  Now he waits for our response.  Just as Hosea required a response from Gomer,

Then I said to her, “You shall stay with me for many days.  You shall not play the harlot, nor shall you have a man; so I will also be toward you.”  Hosea 3:3

Here the story of Hosea ends and the application to Israel begins.

“Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; whoever is discerning, let him know them.  For the ways of the Lord are right, And the righteousness will walk in them, but transgressors will stumble in them.”  Hosea 14:9

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Joe is one of the homeless guys that frequent TLH for a meal and a place to sit for a few minutes.  He is perhaps one of the most difficult of the people in our community to deal with and he just might be the most honest.  From the title you might think that Joe has been hateful, rude or mean to me or even destructive to TLH.  This could not be further from the truth.  Joe is appreciative of the meals we provide and the moments of rest and relaxation that he experiences in his otherwise very mobile day.  He has always been mostly polite, at least by his own standards (on occasion his colorful language and energetic demeanor has worried my immediate neighbors that he is being less than kind).  Even when he arrives less than sober he has always been respectful to me and the property.  So then why is Joe so difficult for me?  Joe hates God.

He clearly believes in God.  On more than one occasion he has acknowledged my relationship with God asking me to present to Him the long list of wrongs that plague Joe’s life.  He blames God for everything negative that has ever happened to him and sees only a cruel being who refuses to intervene in any kind of positive way in his life.  While this type of external locus of control is not unusual in today’s society, I have not run into too many people who so squarely place their animosity on God.

So then what do I do with this man?  What would I do with someone who hated my wife with a deep-seated passionate hatred?  This man literally hates the purpose of my entire life.  He hates the Spirit that indwells me and the savior to whom I owe everything.  It would perhaps be easier if my wife or myself or even my children were the object of his animosity.

You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I tell you:  Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.  He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?  Are not even the tax collectors doing that?  And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others?  Do not even pagans do that?  Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  Matthew 5:43-48

I have often heard that last phrase pulled out of context and misused.  Jesus is specifically referring to love.  He is establishing a concept that John would later develop as a major theme of all his writings.  God is love.  The Greek word here for perfect is τελειος which carries the idea of completeness.  God’s love is complete, without gaps, without limitations and without exceptions and more importantly we are called to love in the same way.

So as Joe walked away and yelled @#$%% you God, even as my heart cringed and my pride bristled at this man’s arrogance  I was quietly corrected by the Holy Spirit, “Sam, forgive him, he does not know what he is doing.”  My pride deflated and my heart melted as the heart of God for this man flooded me.  “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Thank you Lord for continuing to teach me, for continuing to bear with me.  Give me your love for all the “Joe’s” out there.  Develop in me Your heart and Your perfection at Loving the Haters.

If you can, add Joe to your daily prayer list.  He has a hard life and maybe it needs to get harder before he can see the truth.  Pray that his heart is softened and that whether it is through TLH or another godly place he receives the truth that will penetrate the fog of deception that he is surrounded by.

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I am so excited for what God has brought to myself and my family this summer.  Last week I had the privilege of sharing BLAST with a great group of leaders and junior highers at BCC.  This week Allana and the kids are having a blast at Sonquest Rainforest VBS.  The blessings have already started to rain down and the summer is barely started.

Monday we head to Toledo and The Lewis House ( .  We are ready for God to do great things and are excited to spend this time with our family in Christ there.  God has been amazing as he has opened the way for us to serve Him.  At the end of July we head out for our great western sweep.  It will be an exciting time of seeing friends and family but even more Allana and I believe it will be a time of ministry.  We are looking forward to sharing our faith and taking hold of ministry opportunities that God puts in our path.  I am sure after our month at The Lewis House we will be Spiritually pumped and overflowing with joy to share both with those who don’t know Him as Lord and Savior and with our brothers and sisters in Christ!  We are ready for all the “outrageous” things God has for us! ( maybe with the help of the Holy Spirit I will be ready for all the OUTRAGEOUS things God has for us!)


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