Friday, May 20, 2011

Seek (baqash) My face

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Hosea 5:1-15

TO CHEW ON: "I will return again to My place
Till they acknowledge their offense.
Then they will seek My face;
In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me." Hosea 5:15

Though it is surely more 'politically correct' these days to speak about how God responds to our sinful ways with grace (and He does that) another response is on display in our passage today. Hosea warns of three negative ways God will respond to Israel's the habitual sinning:

1. He will withdraw from them (Hosea 5:6)
God will be silent. He will feel distant.

2. He will come as destruction from within (Hosea 5:12).
A wool garment taken out of storage and found to be riddled with moth holes, or a bathroom wall covering mould and dry rot come to mind. Inner destroyers like moths and rot work silently, secretly, but surely. They may refer to hidden sins like cheating, stealing, and sexual secrets.

3. He will come as a predator (Hosea 5:14).
For Israel this happened when they were carried away into exile. For us it could be natural disasters, political troubles or personal tragedy.

God does not send or allow these things because He is mean or vindictive. Rather they are to get our attention so that they will again seek him.

[Seek = baqash  means to seek, to diligently look for, to search earnestly until the object of the search is located. Baqash can apply to seeking a person, a particular item, or a goal. Peace is to be searched for earnestly - Psalm 34:14. The Lord's face, that is His presence, must be especially sought (Psalm 27:8) "Word Wealth - seek," New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1149).]

We too can examine our lives to see if God's apparent absence is His discipline. He has not interfered with us as we have allowed secret sins to feed on our integrity like moths on wool, or rot on organic material. He has not intervened as outright tragedy has carried away our comfortable existence. If not us, maybe these things are happening to someone we love.

Let's resist allowing bitterness or anger toward God take root in our lives as a result of these devastations. Rather, may we understand them as God's invitation to seek Him more fervently with baqash earnestness, diligence and perseverance.

PRAYER: Dear God, help me to see the things that happen in my world — both the big, grand-scale things and the day-to-day of my life — through spiritual eyes. Help me to search my heart for reasons why You feel absent. Help me to root out secret sins. May I understand trouble as an invitation to crowd closer to You.

MORE: "God is determined to make you pure and holy and right..."

"There is no heaven with a little corner of hell in it. God is determined to make you pure and holy and right; He will not allow you to escape for one moment from the scrutiny of the Holy Spirit. He urged you to come to judgment right away when He convicted you, but you did not; the inevitable process began to work and now you are in prison, and you will only get out when you have paid the uttermost farthing. 

'Is this a God of mercy, and of love?' you say. Seen from God's side, it is a glorious ministry of love. God is going to bring you out pure and spotless and undefiled; but He wants you to recognize the disposition you were showing - the disposition of your right to yourself. 

The moment you are willing that God should alter your disposition, His recreating forces will begin to work. The moment you realize God's purpose, which is to get you rightly related to Himself and then to your fellow men, He will tax the last limit of the universe to help you take the right road. Decide it now - 'Yes, Lord, I will write that letter to-night;' 'I will be reconciled to that man now'"  - Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, July 1 reading.

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