Day 8

God’s Judgment

from the Hosea reading plan


Hosea 5:1-15, Isaiah 29:15-16, Revelation 3:19

BY Amanda Bible Williams

Text: Hosea 5:1-15, Isaiah 29:15-16, Revelation 3:19

We’d picked out the brown velvet curtains at Ikea not long after we got married, and hemmed them with the iron-on adhesive strip that came in the package. They hung in our first home and then in our second, even though they were about a foot too short with the higher ceilings and taller windows. I always meant to get around to changing them, or at least mending the falling-out hem; but come 2009, I decided I didn’t mind.

She was 2 years old that year, with wild, thin hair that stuck straight up and a smile so bright it could knock you out. Those too-short curtains were the perfect hiding place for her new favorite game: hide and seek.

I have a few precious minutes of video of the usual scene: our little girl hiding conspicuously behind the brown dining room curtains, her pink sneakers poking out at the bottom and her giggle audible from the other side of the room. Her papa would sneak up slowly and the giggles would get louder, and she would squeal with delight as he threw back the curtain. Hiding was fun, but the true joy was being found.

Hosea chapter 5 is a painful read. Israel was playing hide and seek with her God, but this was no game. The people’s very lives were at stake, yet they kept turning to dead idols that reaped only destruction and desolation.

God warned them through the prophet. His tone, gentle and wooing in the first chapters, had become booming, insistent, firm. The call from the Lord was clear: Come back to Me. If you run, disaster awaits. I’m not saying it might destroy you; I’m saying it will.

Yet Israel was “determined to follow what is worthless” (v. 11). In verse 4, the prophet proclaimed:

“Their actions do not allow them
to return to their God,
for a spirit of promiscuity is among them,
and they do not know the Lord.”

The sin did not disqualify them from returning and repenting; it kept them from returning and repenting. God’s warning to Israel was His mercy to them; so was His discipline. God turned away so that they might turn back to Him (v. 15).

The priests and the people of Israel hid in their idolatry and their sacrifices, hoping their rituals might hide their hearts. But there is no hiding from God. He sees all; and, even more, He knows all (v. 3). But as we often do, Israel hid anyway, their tell-tale sneakers sticking out from under the curtains of their sin. We hide, believing we know better, believing we and our “little-g” gods can outsmart the one true God.

We hide, but He seeks us out. He seeks us out so that we will seek Him.

Israel’s attempts at deceiving God resulted in her injury, just as He said it would. She turned to her little-g gods for healing (v. 13), and God kept pursuing. Like a lion, He prowled in guard of her heart, doing whatever it took to frustrate her desires for lesser loves, to thwart her attempts to run and hide (v. 14).

Are you hiding today? I am. I feel the Holy Spirit calling my heart to return from places where I’ve gone to hide from my sin, to hide from my own brokenness. Hear our God speak words of hard, merciful truth to us, His children:

I know you, He says. You are not hidden from me.
You turn to false loves, but they cannot cure you. They cannot heal your wounds.
Seek me. Return and repent (vv. 3, 14-15, my paraphrase).

Dear friend, there is joy in having the darkest parts of our hearts uncovered by our merciful Father. Surrender to the knowledge that you are known. You’ve been found out, you’ve been found, and you are loved.

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Post Comments (69)

69 thoughts on "God’s Judgment"

  1. Shelbs says:

    For a while now, I have felt God call me to missions. Especially this week I feel like I’ve heard Him tell me that I need to be obedient. The problem is that I am clinging to my life here at OSU and the satisfaction my parents have in me as I pursue a degree. I am just not sure what God is wanting out of me and definitely need a lot of prayer while discerning exactly what He is asking out of me!

    “Israel’s attempts at deceiving God resulted in her injury, just as He said it would. She turned to her little-g gods for healing (v. 13), and God kept pursuing. Like a lion, He prowled in guard of her heart, doing whatever it took to frustrate her desires for lesser loves, to thwart her attempts to run and hide (v. 14).”

    My prayer is that I stop hiding from God and follow His call!

    1. S.T. says:

      Please do follow his call if you truly believe he’s calling you. I’m about to go on mission for almost a year, but just 10-12 months ago, I refused to even consider it. In my sin and stubbornness, I gave God a solid “no” in my heart when I felt his call to go, but in his gracious mercy and sovereignty, he turned that no into a yes, and here I am…leaving in two days. Pursue him diligently and he will lead you, and remember that you are safe and secure in obedience to his will for your life.

    2. Jess says:

      I know this is weeks later, but my job is a missions coach! For an organization called TEAM. Feel free to reach out on the website and someone will walk with you through discerning next steps. We love helping people discern their call and heart toward missions – whatever that looks like! http://www.team.org

    3. Brooklyn says:

      Sweet girl, I was in your position last year. I was back in my home state planning on going to school and then God put dropping out of college and moving halfway across the country on my heart. A few months later, with lack of support from my parents, I moved from Wyoming to California. Now, a year later, my intentions of going back to school were again interrupted by God’s greater plan. Instead of going to school this year, I am getting ready to be train in missions through an organization called YWAM (Youth With a Mission). Even though my parents are less than supportive about me not getting a degree right now, God always mends that brokenness because I am being faithful and obedient to His plan for my life.

      I am so praying for you and your heart for missions sister. I hope God makes the direction you are supposed to follow SO abundantly clear that you just can’t ignore the fire he’s put in your heart. Even though it may seem impossible, the last year of my life is living proof that thats where Gods hand is easily seen. Experience the joy of being found by Him and run willingly and with so much trust that He will carry you through.

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