Hedges and Walls

I'm starting a study of the minor prophets and hope to share with you some of what I'm gleaning. Hope you are blessed by it!

For their mother has played the whore; she who conceived them has acted shamefully. For she said, ‘I will go after my lovers, who give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.’ Therefore I will hedge up her way with thorns, and I will build a wall against her, so that she cannot find her paths. She shall pursue her lovers but not overtake them, and she shall seek them but shall not find them. Then she shall say, ‘I will go and return to my first husband, for it was better for me then than now.’ (Hosea 2:5-7 ESV)

Have you ever heard someone say that when God closes a door He opens a window?  Usually that statement is shared a friend  is explaining that if God didn't allow that, He has something different in mind.  Often we assume that when God prevents something from happening He has something better for us.

As I read the previous verse, it occurred to me that often when God puts a hardship in our way, it's because He's longing for us to stop pursuing things other than Himself.  In the book of Hosea, God asks the prophet to go and marry a prostitute, one who will not be faithful, to symbolize how His people Israel are treating Him.  He wants to make it so clear so they will see and return.  In chapter 2 God outlines the things He will do to get them to come back to Him:

  • v 3, 10 exposure, dryness, thirst
  • v 4 no compassion
  • v6 a way hedged with thorns, a wall to block the path
  • v9 no food, wine, or clothing
  • v. 11 no more joy or celebrations
  • v. 12 destruction of what she has earned by dishonest means
Israel was pursuing her lovers, the Baals.  She was claiming (v. 5) that they provided for her when in fact it was the Lord (v.8). So let me ask you an honest question friend, do you put stock in something other than God for your success and comfort? Do you rely on your looks or intelligence to get ahead? Do you use your personality or material possessions to sway people to listen or follow you? Then you are worshiping a Baal.  It might be the alter of fitness, promotion, your bank account, how many likes on Facebook...anything that you attribute your blessings to other than God is what the bible would call an idol.  For we were created to be worshipers.  You can worship idols and be put to shame (Psalm 97:9) or seek the true source of life and provision (John 4:23).  

Now I'm not saying that when something bad happens to you it is because you are leaning on something other than God.  The entire book of Job discusses how God at times uses trials to prove faithfulness...only you, through the insight of the Holy Spirit, can determine if maybe God is keeping you from something you are after because it is not Him you are pursing and it has become ultimate over Him.

When God says no, does that mean He is not loving?  Or like a good father, is He hoping we will get tired of what doesn't satisfy and return to Him.  All God allows in the life of His children is intended to bring us in relationship with Him,  The "yes" and the "no" are all for us to run to Him, in joy and in repentance.  

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