I sat down to get into God’s word and opened my Bible to Judges because I committed myself to reading through it while we are studying Gideon with Priscilla Shirer. My mind did not go to anything else for my time this morning, so I started reading. Then I clearly discerned, “You did not ask Me where I want you to read this morning?”
“Okay, Lord. I will finish this chapter and then ask,” I foolishly reply. A couple of verses later, I knew that was silly and it was not working for me, so I stopped: “Okay, Lord. Where do You want me to read this morning?”
*!&^%, = confusion. “Lord, there isn’t a book of Hezekiah, is there (looking to make sure)? Am I supposed to do a word study on him? Where do You want me to read?”
So I go to Hosea, and there is Hezekiah as confirmation. Hosea prophesied for God during the days of numerous kings, one of which was Hezekiah. Here I find God speaking to me for our nation who is walking in the ways of Israel, just as they did in the days of Hosea.
The things God speaks to Hosea for those of his day are being spoken to the people of our land in our day. Here is what I see:
Our land, as in the land of Israel in Hosea’s day, is guilty of “flagrant harlotry,” forsaking Jehovah-God as LORD. Even in the church, many of us hold to a form of godliness, but deny its Power (2 Timothy 3:5). In all of history, Jehovah has not sat still for such behavior. He will not tarry long when we fall to following after other things as if they are our God and the one who blesses our lives.
Our nation, whether or not we want to hear and believe it, is under the disciplining hand of Jehovah-God. People don’t often like to hear that, but God disciplines those He loves, especially those who are sons. That is scriptural (Hebrews 12). All that we are going through, and that which is yet to come our way, is being allowed by God for the purpose of getting our attention and allowing us opportunity to see that all those other gods and / or the people or resource we look to as in the place of a god have failed. We have walked out from under the protective cover of God as a nation.
There are two ways I know of in which we come out from under the protective cover and provision of God: one is to walk out from under through sin and refusing His will in our lives. The second way we find ourselves outside the protective cover of God is for Him to lift His hand away from us for some eternal purpose of His own. With these, even though we walk out of the hedge of His protection by our choice, there is most often still a grace cover that limits the consequence of our coming out from under our Protection. As example, we see this in the book of Job and in God’s work of deliverance for Israel, taking them from Egypt to the land of promise, and in the cycle of Israel found all throughout the book of Judges. But with sin issues, where we deny Jehovah as the one and only true God, the hedge is removed more and more until we repent, as God releases us, giving us over to our own way. Right now God’s hedge is greatly removed from our land, and, as in the land of Egypt in Moses day, God is removing the hedge in areas where we rely on false gods, revealing their inadequacy and His supremacy.
Through the book of Hosea today, here is what God is revealing to me:
God is “removing the bow” – the power – of our nation. He is sowing weakness in us until we realize Who our true Power is and return to Him. We are not strong in ourselves as a nation. We are strong because of Jehovah-God’s grace to us. Until we realize and return to Him who is our strength, our bow – our economic and military power in the earth will be weak.
God has also removed His hand of provision from us as a nation. Crops will continue to fail us as a nation. Our clothing needs will go unmet more and more. I have found myself lately, as I shop for new clothing, making sure I buy things I will enjoy wearing for a while, things I sense will last me.
As our power fails, we will not find pity from God or others. God is the one who has given us favor in the earth, but we continue to show signs of thinking we earned the favor and position we have in the world. Others have looked up to us because God has given us favor as a people who believe in Jehovah-God through a faith that walks that belief out and reveals itself through integrity as His people. We have walked out from under God’s favor and He has lifted His hand of grace, therefore we will find no pity nor aid from those who would normally have compassion toward us because of God’s favor.
We, who have been known as a godly, Christian nation, now are being called, “not My people”, not because that is what God wants, but because we have walked away from serving Him alone as God. We as a nation are not walking as His image bearers, fully trusting in and committed to Him. As a nation, we are taking away the right of the people of God to serve Him, express Him, and be what we are called to be, and this is being done for the sake of those who serve other gods, or profess no god at all. And God’s people are too often cowering under the pressure of laws and regulations that deny Him as God and require us to be silent in our beliefs and faith. A government entity who professes many gods or no god, leads a nation to the same.
As in generations past, God has kept a remnant for Himself and that remnant in our nation is growing and making itself known, taking its stand on godliness that obeys Jehovah’s will and pleasure above that of man. God’s hand of provision and grace remains with the remnant. But as a nation, we have left our first love, giving ground to false gods who are rising up to greatness in the land through the numbers who are following them. We have removed Jehovah from government and schools, and are being pushed to remove Him from society as a whole. Thus, Jehovah-God is removing His hand of grace and favor from us as a nation.
This fact is seen on the news every day. There are signs in the news that consistently reveal that we have surrendered to being a nation of many gods. Jehovah will not give His glory to another. Thus His hand of discipline is upon our land and God says to us, “You are not My people and I am not your God.” We are no longer a godly, Christian nation. The covenant with and alliance of Jehovah in our nation is broken as we see other gods given power in our land, and see our land weakened, God, letting the seeds of weakness have full sway in the land, His hand of power and grace removed from us.
Even so, people-of-God, Jehovah leaves to us hope in Him. He tells us, who are of the remnant to remind one another that we ARE His people and we are pitied—given grace with mercy—and to do so with hope filled assurance that God will succeed in turning our nation back to Himself. No matter how hopeless it looks to us, hope in God to do the impossible sustains us, so we must earnestly, expectantly hope in God and work toward seeing hope fulfilled. Like for Israel in the day of Hosea, as God lifted His hand from the nation, He did so for the good of the nation, to lead them back to reliance on Him alone, and He let Hosea know early in his ministry that they would turn back to Him to be called “His pitied / graced people” anew.
The difficulty that is upon us is there to reveal to all the land that our false gods over us are impotent. God will use the remnant to reveal His power, glory, and sufficiency. God’s hand of protection will be powerfully and recognizably over those of the remnant; His grace sufficient will be recognized as our obvious supply; and His peace that passes understanding will cause us to stand out as we remember our God and put our trust in Him alone.
As I read on in Hosea, these things stand out to me:
God will hedge the way of the harlot with thorns so she cannot go on the paths she desires, but will be herded into the paths of His design. This stubborn stance we see going on in congress that has our government shutdown is a hedge of thorns. Pray the thorns of God will stand firm so as to be used of God to take us as a nation where we need to be, to that place where He is found waiting for our return to Him as God-alone.
If you, like I, have loved ones who are chasing after the false gods of the day: happiness, wealth, mother earth, or more, take courage. Those who are running after their false gods will find no satisfaction. Their dissatisfaction will turn them back to the Faithful One anew.
One thing I note is that our nakedness as a nation will be revealed. All those things we do in secret and try to hide will come out in the open and our lewdness will be found out from the top down. No one will be able to rescue those ensnared in God’s hand of discipline, and that which is our “gaiety” will be removed. There will be no happiness in our ungodly pursuits; only discontent, discord, and dissatisfaction until only deprivation, destitution and deficiency remain to those who refuse Him His rightful place in our life and land.
Even the righteous who truly seek after Father-Jehovah are being led of God to tell their darkest secrets and how God led them to repentance and victory over sin. It is not easy to do, but as we get real with God, with ourselves, and with others, God is revealed, and those in need of Him, see Him as He is and realize their only true Help is in Jehovah-Yeshua.
This post though separate from the focus on who we are in Christ fits with it as it introduces our next stop on the road of discovering what those belonging to God as His possession look like. We are “real”. See you in the next post of Darlene’s Ponderings.