Cry To Me From Your Heart
Sunday, October 26, 2014
1 When I would heal Israel,
The iniquity of Ephraim is uncovered,
And the evil deeds of Samaria,
For they deal falsely;
The thief enters in,
Bandits raid outside,
2 And they do not consider in their hearts
That I remember all their wickedness.
Now their deeds are all around them;
They are before My face.
3 With their wickedness they make the king glad,
And the princes with their lies.
4 They are all adulterers
Like an oven heated by the baker,
Who ceases to stir up the fire
From the kneading of the dough until it is leavened.
5 On the day of our king, the princes became sick with the heat of wine;
He stretched out his hand with scoffers,
6 For their hearts are like an oven
As they approach their plotting;
Their anger smolders all night,
In the morning it burns like a flaming fire.
7 All of them are hot like an oven,
And they consume their rulers;
All their kings have fallen.
None of them calls on Me.
8 Ephraim mixes himself with the nations;
Ephraim has become a cake not turned.
9 Strangers devour his strength,
Yet he does not know it;
Gray hairs also are sprinkled on him,
Yet he does not know it.
10 Though the pride of Israel testifies against him,
Yet they have neither returned to the Lord their God,
Nor have they sought Him, for all this.
11 So Ephraim has become like a silly dove, without sense;
They call to Egypt, they go to Assyria.
12 When they go, I will spread My net over them;
I will bring them down like the birds of the sky.
I will chastise them in accordance with the proclamation to their assembly.
13 Woe to them, for they have strayed from Me!
Destruction is theirs, for they have rebelled against Me!
I would redeem them, but they speak lies against Me.
14 And they do not cry to Me from their heart
When they wail on their beds;
For the sake of grain and new wine they assemble themselves,
They turn away from Me.
15 Although I trained and strengthened their arms,
Yet they devise evil against Me.
16 They turn, but not upward,
They are like a deceitful bow;
Their princes will fall by the sword
Because of the insolence of their tongue.
This will be their derision in the land of Egypt. NASB
Focus with me on a few of the verses here:
1 I would heal them but . . . their sin is in the way.
2 And they do not consider in their hearts that I remember all their wickedness.
Now their deeds are all around them; They are before My face.
7 None of them calls on Me.
10 Though the pride of Israel testifies against him, Yet they have neither returned to the Lord their God,
Nor have they sought Him, for all this.
13 Woe to them, for they have strayed from Me! Destruction is theirs,
for they have rebelled against Me! I would redeem them, but they speak lies against Me.
14 And they do not cry to Me from their heart when they wail on their beds;
For the sake of grain and new wine they assemble themselves, they turn away from Me.
There is a pattern I have been seeing in Hosea. God wants to save His people. He wants them to return to Him. He desires to have a relationship with them, but they...
… refuse to return to Him.
… do not seek Him.
… have strayed from Him.
… speak lies against Him.
… do not cry to Him from our hearts.
… turn away from Him.
We see this pattern throughout the Bible. We see it throughout the history of the world. If we look closely we may see it in our selves.
God has given us the freedom to love and serve Him. In giving us that freedom, He has given up the ability to force us to love and serve Him. He could force us, but then we would not be freely loving Him and serving Him. He would have removed the freedom He gave us.
Israel cried to God again and again when they were in trouble. When they had strayed from their loyalty to God, become the unfaithful harlots pictured here in Hosea, they began to reap the results of not living under the loving protection of their Lord and Master. Then they cried out to God, but not from their hearts. They never fully intended to serve God, they just wanted to have Him save them from the current trouble they were in.
Some of us just want enough of the Lord to get us to heaven. I am thinking these are they who will be surprised when they meet the Lord and He says to them “Depart from me for I never knew you.” He loves us and He is Lord. That must be the theme of our lives.
Some of us know just enough Scripture to justify ourselves and condemn others.
Again and again, God listened to Israel and saved them. They would serve Him faithfully for a time and then they would fall away again.
What about you? Have you fully returned to God? Or like the Israelites, have you cried to Him out of your distress over a particular problem and seen God get you out of that problem, only to fall back into your old ways of ignoring God until another crisis brings you to your knees once again?
We need to realize that we need God on our best days. We were not intended to live life on our own. We were created to live in fellowship with the God who created us. He has done everything He can do to bring us to the place where we surrender to His Lordship and accept that He loves us. He sent His Son to pay for our rebellion and apathy about serving Him. If He did more than He does, He takes away our freedom and we become controlled machines who can not choose to love.
The relationship we need most is the one where we truly believe that God loves us and that He must be Lord of our lives. We look in other places to fill this need but nothing else can fill the void we have when we are living for anything else. God gives us good things and we turn those into idols that take the place intended for Him. Many religions are based on worship of things that are important to people. The Baals, for there were many, were idols that the people of Canaan worshipped because they had come to believe these idols controlled various aspects of their life: the sun, the moon, harvest, or fertility gods.
Turning the good things God gave into idols, we worship the gift and not the giver. Are we more concerned about getting to heaven than about knowing God?
The flesh, or self life, is prideful and thinks we can live on our own. The life lived in the Spirit, is a life that refuses to listen to the old man. The Spirit life looks to God for all our needs. He wants us to enjoy the blessings of other relationships that He allows us, but we corrupt them into things that feed the old man. When we live in the flesh we become more prideful and less grateful to God and our relationship is eroded until we find ourselves in trouble and cry out to Him once again.
So do you cry out to God to get you out of trouble? OR are you living in relationship to Him every day? Do you cry to Him from the heart or just until you get out of your current difficulty?
The answer God is looking for is a total surrender to His Love and His Lordship. He wants to direct our paths. He wants to walk with us through every circumstance of life. He wants us to live, not for our own glory and pleasure, but for His.
The result will be a life of joy and peace. We will begin to grow up into Him experiencing a love and acceptance that will astound us. The result will be life as it was intended to be by our Creator.
Living for the glory of God and for the good of others is what we need most. When we live to please ourselves, we cut ourselves off from the things we need the most. That is to be loved by God and to be loved by others. We can either focus on what is good for me, or what is good for others. We cannot do both. However, when we do focus on what is good for others, we then get what we need most. This makes no sense to someone who is caught up in the struggle to meet their own needs.
Cry to God from your heart. This is what God wants from us. Sell out to Him. Surrender All to Him. Give up trying to live as if you have it all figured out. Surrender to the One who loves you more than you can imagine. He is the Lord of the Universe and He wants to be Lord of our lives as well.
His call to us is, “Cry out to Me from your heart!”