You don’t know me anymore

Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I will reject you from serving as My priest. Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I will also forget your sons. 

Ouch – that’s gotta hurt.  God is telling his people that He is going to reject them since they have forgotten Him.  Oh, and their sons too.  It’s not like God didn’t put effort into the relationship; He pursued Israel over and over again.   But Israel didn’t try to know Him or even try to follow His instructions.  They weren’t studying His commands, exercising any discernment, and had no wisdom.

Let me offer this picture of a husband and wife.  After all, this is the picture God is using in the book of Hosea to describe His relationship with Israel.  Now in most of the books we read and movies we watch today, it is the husband who checks out of the marriage.  Not always, but that’s pretty standard.  He gets busy with his job, his friends, his hobbies, and forgets to pursue his wife.  Then one day (seemingly out of the blue to him) she says, “you don’t know me anymore.”  What?  I don’t know you?  Didn’t I spend all those years dating you and spending hours on the phone?  How can you say that I don’t know you?

There is an obvious disconnect here.  Where’s the breakdown?  Here’s the deal: it’s not that he never knew her, it’s that he STOPPED knowing her.   In the same way, God’s people stopped knowing Him.  They stopped listening to His words, following His commands, and pursuing His relationship.  The result: perishing.  And things aren’t a whole lot different today.  If you don’t pursue God and your relationship with Him, the same thing will happen to you, too.  You will feel like His voice is shriveling up and His Word is a bunch of text on a page.  So you’ve got to pursue Him!  If you don’t, you will find that hope perishes from your life.  Faith perishes.  Love perishes.  You perish.  The last thing I want to hear from my God is, “you don’t know me anymore.”  Oh… and I also don’t want to perish.

Too many wives!

1 Kings 11:1-3 King Solomon loved many foreign women in addition to Pharaoh’s daughter: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women from the nations that the LORD had told the Israelites about, “Do not intermarry with them, and they must not intermarry with you, because they will turn you away from Me to their gods.” Solomon was deeply attached to these women and loved them. He had 700 wives who were princesses and 300 concubines, and they turned his heart away from the LORD. 

Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived.  He could solve a problem like nobody’s business.  He solved all the kingdom’s problems and people from all over the world came to him for advice.  The Lord blessed him with riches beyond compare and power that would blow your mind.  But Solomon had a weakness.  1 Kings 11:1-3 tells us that Solomon loved foreign women.  These were women who served other gods and influenced him to do the same.  What is even crazier is that Solomon had 1,000 wives!  Um… that’s not very wise.  Now tell me please, do you really  need much wisdom to know that 1,000 wives is too many?  What was Solomon thinking?  Or was he?

Which leads me to my takeaway for the day.  Is there a place in our life that is a blind spot?  It’s that place that we rationalize, justify, excuse, and handle with kids gloves.  It is a place that God has been clear on, but we prefer the fog to the clear skies.   You can have all the wisdom in the world and still let your flesh fool you.  It happened to Solomon and it can happen to you.  Which is why we must pay attention to the Holy Spirit’s leading in our life.  We need to pay attention when He quickens our spirit and reveals our sin.  Solomon paid a dear price: he lost the spiritual inheritance for his children and grandchildren.  So let’s be aware of our weaknesses and ask the Lord to help us.  Ask him to lead you into paths of righteousness.  And one more thing: one wife is enough.

Guys, stop trying to fix her

1 Samuel 1:8 Elkanah her husband would say to her, “Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?”

The scenario is somewhat familiar.  The wife is hurting, frustrated, hopeless, and downhearted.  She can’t take it anymore.  Then the husband comes in and assesses the situation.  “Okay, we’ve got a sad wife here. Time to problem solve.”  He treats her like something broken that needs to be fixed. He tries to get her to stop crying.  He offers her something to eat.  He asks her a question about their relationship.  But he just can’t seem to fix this problem.

Okay, husbands – you all know you have done the same thing.  Your wife presents you with a problem and you move into problem solving mode.  Surely she wants you to fix it.  Unfortunately, you are probably wrong.  What she probably wants is for you to listen.  And what she definitely needs is for you to take her burdens to the Lord.  So guys, stop trying to fix her.  Instead go to the Lord.

You see Hannah had a problem and Elkanah couldn’t fix it.  There is nothing in his power he could do.  He couldn’t think of a solution; he couldn’t come up with an answer.  The only solution to Hannah’s distress was the Lord.  Whether it be her desire to have children or her identity, it could only be found in the Lord.  But we so often try to fix things that only God can do.  We rack our brains and throw out worthless ideas because that’s all we’ve got.  God, however, has all the answers.  Better yet, He has the power to deliver those answers.  So let God be God.  Let Him be the one we run to with our deepest needs the way Hannah did.  If we do, we will surely find all that we need is in Him.

Married for a day… like Britney Spears

Colossians 2:6-7 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

Imagine a wedding without an ensuing marriage.  There is all the build up, all the excitement.  The bride and the groom get dressed up, say some vows, and eat some cake.  Then a couple days later, they decide not to be married anymore.  What a waste of time!  All that planning and preparation and build up just to end it.  It happens though.  The most famous example of recent time is Britney Spears, who married a childhood friend on a Saturday and filed for an annulment on a Monday.  I knew Hollywood weddings didn’t last long, but that has got to be a record.

We all look at that and say, “how foolish.”  Who would go through with marriage and decide not to be married?  Unfortunately, it happens every day – just not on that short of a timeline.  We base our marriage on the feeling of falling in love and when we don’t feel it, we conclude that we have fallen out.  We thrive in the thrill of newness, but when the thrill wears off, we are compelled to go seek a new thrill of sorts.  This isn’t marriage at all!  Marriage is a decision.  It is making a decision to live it out, to work on it and to build it.

The same decision awaits us when it comes to our Christianity.  Here in Colossians 2:6-7, Paul reminds us that even though we have received Christ, we need to choose to live in Him.  He is where we are to be rooted.  We ought to be working at strengthening our faith, not spending time in places that wear it down.  The instruction here is simple, but the walk is not.  There are days where we feel up and days where we feel down.  However, our Christianity is not based on a feeling; it is based on a decision. When I have decided to throw my life into Christ, I am saved.  What will I do with that salvation?  Will I live as a bride pretending to be unmarried?  Or will I invest and grow and build up my faith in my Jesus?  Today, I choose to live in Him.  In this relationship, I choose the long road.  I choose to remain married to my faith and to my Savior.