As a kid, I spent my summers on Schroon Lake in the Adirondacks of Upstate, New York. Often early in the morning, I couldn’t see five feet out into the lake. Fog turned visibility to zero. But before I canceled all my outdoor plans for the day, I needed to remember that the rising sun would quickly dissipate the fog, and if we needed rain, that fog was a deceptive teaser. There would be no break from the heat and the dryness.
In Israel, the need for rain can get desperate. For a morning mist to evaporate and the hot sun to begin to beat down means crops fail and people die. In yesterday’s Devo we heard Israel’s sweet talk about returning to God with their joyful expectation he would receive them with open arms. Not so fast! Listen to how God responds to their show of remorse.
“What can I do with you, Ephraim? What can I do with you, Judah? Your dependable love in our relationship is like the morning fog, like the dew that goes away early. Therefore, I have cut you to pieces by my prophets. I have slaughtered you with the words of my mouth. My judgment against you is going forth as light for I desire dependable love and not sacrifice, the authentic knowledge of God more than offerings.” Hosea 6:4-6
Hosea uses a powerful word to describe the essence of what God is looking for in his relationship with us. The Hebrew word is “hesed.” It means that we can count on God and he can count on us. There’s truth, integrity, dependability in our relationship. Instead, Hosea’s audience was filled with deception, cunning, and false religious carnivals. They thought that if they sacrificed some animals and offered up some fellowship offerings everything would be okay. God would be blind to their sin. They forgot that God was the Creator who gave the gift of light, but in this context, the “light” is like a deadly lightning bolt. It’s God’s powerful judgment that destroys those who play games with him. But I’m encouraged because Tuesday morning I was reminded that the Lord Jesus is still generating “hesed” in the lives of his children.
I was eating breakfast with a member of a pastoral search committee who had about a year ago called a new young pastor to their church.
“Hey, I want you to know that your new pastor had a ton of trouble finding Southern Bible, but he made it to our luncheon Saturday.” The church leader immediately replied, “You can count on him. He keeps his word.” In other words, this young pastor has “hesed” and it didn’t evaporate when his Google map took him far away from where he was supposed to be.
LORD, help me today to bring refreshment and life to others because your Spirit is generating dependable love in my heart. Help me to realize that your light is warming and illuminating to those obeying you, but when it exposes a con, it can become deadly judgment.
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