My Bible lay open on my lap.
Reference materials spread out on the couch and open on the computer.
Grasping for understanding I search pages and pages.
Recently, our ladies Bible study began to study the Minor Prophets. We began our journey in Hosea. Truth is I hadn’t studied the Minor Prophets before. If I am being 100% honest I haven’t read them through all the way. I get caught up in the abstract pictures and historical references I don’t understand.
The blessing of being a Bible study teacher is you learn so much. So much more than is every taught or discussed in your group. And God shows you so much of Himself when you are on a quest to show Him to others.
There I sat. Bible open. Searching.
And there in the pages. In the verses. In the words. There in what has been called “outdated”. There. I found a very vivid picture of the world that marches on just outside my front door. A society strayed far from God. Searching for answers under their own steam and on their own terms. A society to prideful to repent.
But just as I was ready to wag my finger at the world and shake my head at the sad state of affairs in our culture, God pricked my soul.
I began to dig into the original language (Hebrew). There I found where my Bible said “corrupt,” the Hebrew says…God says… “defiled.” Where my Bible says “rebel”, the Hebrew says…God says… “entangling with demons.”
I began to see a picture of God, painted so plainly. Arms open, blessings at the ready, His heart set on His children. And where are they? Seeking what feels good, what numbs us, answers that come easy and require nothing of us. Where are they? Mired in their own sin.
It is an ugly word. One that we gloss over, leave out or pretend we don’t do.
A commentary I read this week said that Hosea is one of the least preached books of the Bible (if not the least) because it deals with sin and churches don’t want to touch that.
But, as one of my sweet Bible study friends said this week, “If we don’t talk about sin, we don’t need a Savior.” So true.
It makes me unclean…defiled…not Holy. Not of God. Not able to come near God.
When I push against God (rebel) and choose my own pleasures or my own way…He sees it as entangling with demons. Demons!
How easy it is to read about the Israelites and see how wrong they got it! How easy it is to look at the world around us and see where people are getting it wrong!
How wriggle-in-your-chair, let’s-talk-about-something-else uncomfortable it is to talk about our own sin. To face our choices that don’t equal God.
Really, I suppose it comes down to simple math as sit to add up my day.
God, I chose to overeat today — to fill up on something that wasn’t You.
me + overeat ≠ God
God, I chose to get angry and growl under my breath at the driver in front of me – to be ruled by emotions, not by my God of love.
me + road rage ≠ God
God, I chose to lie to my family member today about whether we can visit this weekend – to turn away from Truth to make me feel more comfortable.
me + lies ≠ God
God, I chose to get on Facebook before I sought Your Face this morning – to choose anything over God…hello idolatry.
me + idols ≠ God
Wrestling with our own sin is uncomfortable and something most of us simply don’t do. We pray for forgiveness, “God, forgive all I did today” or just “know” that we are saved and we don’t have to deal with that. But God says otherwise.
For today. First step. Deal with it. Lay it all out there. Name each sin. Take responsibility for everything you’ve done that does not add God to your life – big or small, private or public, spoken or thought. It is going to be uncomfortable. I can promise that.
But God, promises forgiveness. Restoration. Healing. To remove your sin and see you as His righteous, holy child! And if you stick with it, really go through this thing with God, you’ll find doing His math is the most amazing math you’ll ever do….
me + repentance (truly taking responsibility for and turning away from sin) = Grace
Read that again
me + repentance = Grace, Forgiveness, Mercy, Love….Jesus!!