Wednesday, 13 July 2011
Warrior Bride - Pt 2 - Hosea, The Prophet
Hosea, The Prophet
Coming from our original picture of our Glorious Warrior Bride and her Beloved Commander/Bridegroom, we find that there is becoming a greater depth of intimacy and communication as we get closer to our goal. We can hear clearer that sweet whisper and the battle cry of the one our hearts long to behold. Can it be that we hear these calls in the clamor of our everyday? In the midst of deadlines, children, bills, and all sorts of other commitments, how can that voice be heard above the noise? At times we are so busy doing our good works and showing those around us how much we hear from God, that His voice can actually get drowned out.
In the midst of another very human picture comes an example of how great the communication must be between the Bridegroom and His Warrior Bride. The Book of Hosea contains one of the most vivid pictures to be found in the entire Old Testament. This prophet was given the job of voicing and having a role in the picture of redemption and the redeeming love of the Bridegroom for His Bride. As the debate rages on as to whether or not Hosea knew his wife to be a harlot, or whether in fact he married her at all – the story being allegorical, we cannot allow ourselves to lose sight of the marvelous picture that our Bridegroom has given us.
A picture that all of us understand. Young, old, Jewish, Gentile, Old Testament, New Testament or today right now, we all understand marriage and its vows. It is a relevant picture. The Children of Israel had been unfaithful time and time again. The wickedness of the leadership was legendary. An evil king would take over and at every corner suddenly there were monuments to false gods. The sacrificing of children among them was taking place as a regular occurrence. The precious temple ornaments and worship utensils were flagrantly misused and defiled.
Interspersed throughout the years of wickedness a godly king would be established, and he would tear down all the idols and temples and every altar of worship, trying to re-establish the temple of Yahweh, their one true God. Even after everything that God had done for them, the Children of Israel still were fickle in the obedience and devotion. This seems to be the theme for the entire Old Testament. The struggle between godly and ungodly leadership leads to a people who are becoming blinded to the truth.
All of this is elementary. We have heard of the grumbling and complaining of the Children of Israel most of our church lives. Being a prophet during this time would have been one of the most challenging callings ever. Having to remain constant in a constantly changing world. Having to have an ear to the Voice of the One True God, while the world is clamoring for attention. Having to maintain the vision given from the heart of God, while all around them their eyes are being filled with sights of pagan rituals and children being sacrificed to false gods.
Doesn’t that describe our situation today and what we are to be? Don’t we need that single-mindedness in the face of constant change? Isn’t our sight sometimes clouded by the sights around us, instead of maintaining the vision we have received from the heart of God?
The prophet of the Old Testament was one who was called to re-align people to the truth. The truth of their ways, the truth of who God was, and the truth of what their wickedness was costing them. While serving a different function today, I believe the prophetic message is the same.
If we could perhaps take a deeper look into the life of Hosea, for a moment, we might see that there is relevance for us today beyond the issue of marriage vows and the significance of taking an unfaithful partner back to our lives. Certainly not wanting to take away any of the strength of this passage and how it relates to marriages today, I believe that preparations for becoming the kind of Bride our Bridegroom is returning for can be clearly seen.
There is a level, of course, where we can place ourselves in the position of having been the one who has disregarded all the things that God has given us before, and at the first hint of trouble turned and run away. In all of our honesty, we all are unfaithful to our call and to the one who has called us. We would like to ‘set our eyes on the prize’, but distraction seems to have a louder voice. Like the Children of Israel, before too long, we are serving masters in our lives we didn’t even know we had. And yet still, our Beloved Bridegroom purchases us back. He brings us to the desert and strips us of all the ornaments we have received while looking to our own way.
Even as Christians, even as saints, we get dirty from the places where we live, and some of the places where we live are fraught with challenge and pain. Our Beloved wants to make our ‘Valley of Trouble into a Door of Hope’ (2:14, 15). He wants to adorn us Himself. It is to Him alone our gifts should be given.
Looking into the prophetic heart carries us into a place where our Commander has our ear. In intercession, we have our Beloved’s ear and we trust Him with our petition. With a prophetic heart, which we are told to desire, we are trusted with the battle plan. We have the confidence of our Commander, that what He needs us to relay, we will. Going one step further into the life of this prophet gives us an indication of what it is going to take to make eternal differences. Not all of us are being called to marry a prostitute just to prove God’s point. Not all of us have the ear of the nation to show them the error of their ways. In fact, I would say almost none of us fit into either category.
The truth of the matter however, is that whatever it is that God has asked us to say or do, needs to be done. Just as in the life of Abraham, the level of communication of those looking towards reigning with our Bridegroom must be constant.
Has God asked you to take a stand in some way? In your heart of hearts you would do anything for God, anything He asked you to, but does fear have a louder voice? Does the fear of your family, your church, your Board Members, have you bound to not take that deeper step? Has God spoken to you about something you need to do that might wreak havoc in your position? Is the voice inside calling you to something that is outside of your comfort zone? Most of us on the surface would be quick to say that we would follow and are following the mandate we have been given. Looking to our hearts, maybe there are areas that we have been fighting to hold on to that we need stripped away?
If we take the story at face value, there was nothing glorious about what Hosea did. In the natural, one would expect a prophet to have a ‘godly’ wife, one who was faithful, at the very least one who was supportive and made no mistakes. In the natural, marrying a prostitute probably did nothing for his social standing. But in following the voice of God, Hosea met the challenge, swallowed his pride and even bought her back after she walked away.
I know the areas in my heart that are being challenged. The truth is we all have them. We will all have them until the day comes where we stand complete as we make up that Glorious Warrior Bride, without any spot or wrinkle. The imperative point is the willingness to listen to His voice. Once again, it comes down to the level of communication we have and the amount of truth we will let ourselves hear from His heart.
There is much to be learned from the journeys of the Children of Israel, but I believe even more can be gleaned from the lives of the prophets and those to whom the Voice of the Bridegroom is an familiar as their own. They made the choices to hear that Voice. They made the choices to see the visions. They made the choices to sacrifice their own agenda, for the agenda of the one they served.
“I press on toward the goal for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”