Day 2

Not My People

from the Hosea reading plan


Hosea 2:1-13, Ezekiel 21:1-7

BY Guest Writer

Text: Hosea 2:1-13, Ezekiel 21:1-7

When I was in college, I volunteered as a Young Life leader. That meant I spent my afternoons driving to a local high school, only to awkwardly walk through the cafeteria, trying to befriend high school girls, and eventually, tell them about Jesus.

Every summer, we took hoards of high schoolers to a camp in Colorado, where we promised they’d have the “best week of their lives.” Midnight obstacle courses, pool parties, and delicious family-style meals were all punctuated by “club,” a gathering where we’d scream songs at the top of our lungs, and then later quiet down and listen to a speaker talk about God and this man called Jesus. About three days in, the speaker stopped talking about God and started talking about sin, something he told hundreds of teenagers they were powerless to fix.

That day was never fun. And neither is today’s passage from Hosea.  

Had I read these verses a few years ago, I would have written a true but shallow reflection. Something about how angry God gets at our sin, and how grateful we should be for Jesus. Back then, I knew I was an adulterer theoretically. But practically speaking, I’d done a pretty good job of following the rules.

Now, here I am, reading these verses with new eyes, on the other side of a marathon of misplaced affections. Angry at God and threatening to sabotage my relationships and even my marriage, I chased down false loves I knew were off limits to me: a job that took me away from home, clothes and experiences that were out of my budget, a belief that freedom existed outside the walls of my life rather than within them. I ran hard. God wasn’t giving me what I wanted, so I pursued other gods instead.

Now, here I am, reading from God’s Word, “This is what the Lord says: I am against you” (Ezekiel 21:3). Are there any more terrifying words? But when I am pursuing sin, I need the Lord to oppose me. I need the Lord to intervene.

On a Saturday in April, sitting in a grassy field in the middle of Tennessee, I held a cell phone to my ear and cried my eyes out to a dear friend who had watched me choose that futile path. “I’ve been running for so long,” I cried to her. And her response came slowly, softly. “That’s the thing about God. When you’re running, He’s in hot pursuit. And He will take you down.”

Let me say this from firsthand experience: getting taken down by God doesn’t always feel good. The New Testament tells us that God’s kindness leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4). But that kindness, in the moment, may not always feel so kind. It can be mortifying. Embarrassing. Oftentimes, it is public, because our Lord is the King of bringing things from darkness into the light (Luke 1:79).

He could turn us back to Him with a soft and tender hand, and often, He does. But sometimes, His kindness comes with thornbushes, with walls in our way (Hosea 2:6). With shipwrecks and blindness and the belly of a whale. He turns us back with Calvary—the bloodiest kindness of all.

That’s what made those days in Colorado so powerful: watching teenagers learn the joy of a grace that is greater than our sin. God has once and for all redeemed our lives with the cross. We are His. And because He is holy and loving, and because we are His children, He will not tolerate our false gods or sit idly by while we run from Him.

Praise God, He takes us down.

SRT-Hosea16-Instagram2s


Claire Gibson is a freelance writer and editor whose work has been featured both locally and nationally in publications including The Washington Post, and Entrepreneur Magazine. An Army kid who grew up at West Point, New York, Claire is currently growing roots in Nashville, Tennessee. She loves her husband, Patrick, and their dog, Winnie.

Post Comments (156)

156 thoughts on "Not My People"

  1. Rebecca Warren says:

    I’m currently in college serving as a young life leader as well and so that quickly caught my attention! I love that I get to walk with girls in high school and to share about Jesus and His grace upon grace! Praise God that he is a God who will wreck us for the things that break His heart. Thank you for writing this!

  2. Lindsey says:

    My affections are misplaced. My heart, only satisfied in God’s love, indulges in anything, but Him. Why do I pick up my phone and scroll thoughtlessly? Still empty. Why do I browse the aisles of Target and fill a basket that can’t fill my soul? Why do I begin my day and fill it with meaningless actions when I could start my day with the One who could make those daily actions have eternal significance? Grasping for anything and everything yet more empty than before. And all God wants me to do is rest. Just rest in Him.

    1. this comment really spoke to me; i can identify 100%! we need to constantly be re-focusing and redirecting our attention back to the one who is the giver of all life.

    2. Beverly says:

      As I ended my devotions in prayer, these are the very things I asked God to help me relinquish. However, I couldn’t put to word my thoughts! You have done so so eloquently that I was able to understand and see my prayer laid out as if it were I who wrote the words. Thank you!

  3. Abbey says:

    So convicting. “Looking for clothes or experiences outside of my budget” something I usually felt guilty about but figured was an innocent way to deal with stress or discomfort. Not just that but it shines a light on other things like getting wrapped up in a book or my phone… All things that seem innocent- that I’ve sought some form of comfort from aside from God.
    Thank God that he gives us mercy and forgiveness with confession and repentance.

  4. Mary Kate says:

    Sometimes I feel like I am in the place of Gomer….looking for another “vice” to save me. Whether it be a person/relationship, material things, alcohol, or whatever it is. But when it seems NOTHING or NO ONE is coming to my rescue…I know that’s God telling me to just rely totally and completely on HIM! That’s His tough love! When your down to nothing, God is up to something!!! ❤️❤️

  5. Ebony says:

    What I found to be most interesting are the following statements: God has once and for all redeemed our lives with the cross. We are his. And because he is holy and loving, and because we are his children, He will not tolerate our false gods or sit idly by while we run from him. That last bit about sitting idly by, and the mention earlier on in Claire’s post about God being in hot pursuit when we take off running, that is an image I have never considered before. And it makes me think about a conversation I’ve had with my mother, who has recently turned back to Jesus after eight years of running herself (HALLELUJAH!!!). She said she’d always known God was placing people in her life, or circumstances along her paths, to turn her back to him, which she ignored for a long time. And today, I am realizing I’ve been guilty of the same – wishing to bail and allow my faith to remain stagnant when I haven’t received what I want, or when things get hard. Thank you Claire, God bless you, and God bless the brave women in these comments sharing their vulnerabilities!

    1. Ashley Fairbanks says:

      Amen!

  6. Korri says:

    My favorite line: “a belief that freedom existed outside the walls of my life rather than within them.”

  7. alwayssunnysteph says:

    Over the past 6 months He has stripped me naked. To the bare bones. He has, at the same time, guided me gently back to Him. This is the first time in my life I’ve had the desire to get to know God and read his word. He led me to your website in the strangest of ways and Hosea is my first study guide. Wow! Thank you, Lord, for taking me down and leading me back to you.

  8. Kara says:

    Such a feeling of humbleness came over me reading this. Praise!

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