Saturday, August 20, 2011

We are soiled, yet saved

My dear Readers,
  My mom recently allowed me to read "Redeeming Love" by Francine Rivers. It is a fictionalized version of the book of Hosea, told in the story of Michael Hosea, who was told by God to marry Angel, a soiled dove. Wow- what an amazing book! I studied Hosea while I read, and it really made the words come alive.
   For any of you who have read neither, the book of Hosea (found in the Old Testament)  starts out with God commanding a prophet, Hosea, to marry a prostitute- Gomer. Imagine hearing that from the Lord! Hosea must have been shocked and in doubt. And yet, God had a beautiful plan. He used this to show how the people of Israel had prostituted their love out to man-made 'gods'. And through this story, we can look at ourselves as Israel- God is constantly calling out to us, and yet we don't answer. He sent His son down for us- we had Him crucified. We sell ourselves to lust, bitterness, hatred, and depression. We are so busy with our own messed up lives, we can't let God in. And yet, He says "I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for my anger has turned away from them. I will be like a dew to Israel; he will blossom like a lily." (Hosea 14:4-5)
  If we would just turn to God, He could get our lives straightened out!  And God feels that way toward Israel after this all has happened-"...They practice deceit, thieves break into houses, bandits rob in the streets, but they do not realize that I remember all their evil deeds. Their sins engulf them, they are always before me." (Hosea 7:1-2)   
 "I trained them and strengthened them, but they plot evil against me. They do not return the the Most High; they are like a faulty blow. Their leaders will fall by the sword because of their insolent words. For this they will be ridiculed in the land of Egypt." (Hosea 7:15-16)

   And He still loves them. He still loves US. He says "How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel? How can I treat you like Admah? How can I make you like Zeboliim? My heart is changed within me; all my compassion is aroused. I will not carry out my fierce anger, nor will I turn and devastate Ephraim.  For I am God, and not man- the Holy One among you. I will not come in wrath." (Hosea 11:8-9)

  That is beautiful. Every time we do something wrong, God still loves us. He will always love us, no matter how many times we return to the bed of the adulteress. And He does not love as humans love. His love is an unfailing, eternal love.
   In the book "Redeeming Love", there is another message. Every where Angel goes, she is persecuted. Everyone assumes she is still soiled, even though Michael's love, God's love, has made her clean. She feels she has to be a prostitute forever because no one is letting her change- she doesn't deserve to change.  And that has a whole blog post right there, but I'm going to go ahead and address it.  If every time someone makes a decision to change- whether it's leaving prostitution or choosing to obey your elders-, we continue to see the ugly, black marks of sin on their foreheads, then, chances are- they won't stay changed very long! Our sins are just as bad as their sins, and we should support and love them, as Jesus would. He gave us the task to love one another- so let's start living it.
   No matter how strongly opposed you are to divorce, abortion, homosexuality, etc, you can't hate every single person you know who's done that.  My mom phrases it this way- "Love the sinner, hate the sin".
 We are all sinners saved by Grace, and one of us is no better or worse than the other. So let's start striving to be more Christ-like. Let's show the world how much God loves them, and that He will come back for each little lost lamb- no matter how many times they stray. Your Blogger,

  P.S.- Many children today are sold into the sex trade because their parents are too poor to feed them.  After reading this book, I realize the horrors of prostitution. Little girls are scarred and abused, left hurting forever.  No one should have to endure this.  Here is a link talking about children forced into prostitution around the world and ways you can help. link   Pray for these dear ones whose lives are a nightmare! And next time you want to judge someone- don't. You never know what kind of things put them in the circumstances they are today in. Instead, show them the Bright Morning Star and the love He has for them!