Which of these exhortations appeal to your heart the most today?
But you must return to your God;
maintain love and justice,
and wait for your God always. Hosea 12: 6 NIV
Return to your God?
Maintain love and justice?
Wait for your God?
This exhortation from Hosea addresses two people. The first person is the one who has turned away from his/her God and is called upon to return. The second person is the one who is walking with his/her God in trust and dependence continually.
I thought of some one immediately when I read the first exhortation. You may have too.
In some ways, though, the first phrase applied to my life as well.
The past eight months I have been literally buried in school work. Yes, I am reading my bible and praying. I am still writing devotional reflections in response to what I am reading in my Bible on InsteadBless. However, so much of my extra time has been filled with reading and writing about autism for my graduate studies that I haven’t had the same kind of time that I like to have with my God. When I read the words, “you must return to your God,” I acknowledged its truth. I do need to return to my God.
Yes, this graduate school time is a season. It’s almost over. I have just one more week and one more significant paper to write for my final project of my graduate program. Can’t wait!
I can’t wait to have more time for my family and to have time to play.
I can’t wait for girl friend time.
I can’t wait for significant time alone with my husband instead of textbooks, journal articles, and a computer.
I can’t wait to return to Finetown to minister and encourage.
I can’t wait to write emails in real-time response to those who write to me.
And I can’t wait for more precious time alone with my God to listen and to pray.
Yes, I am ready to return.
However, the remaining phrases of Hosea’s words also apply to my life.
I live in a part of the world where love and justice must be lived hand-in-hand. There is a time to show mercy and grace to the poor and distressed and there are times to be godly and just in how we respond as well. The present day provides opportunities for both kinds of responses; not only during a certain time of year – but every single day of the year.
For if you notice the final words of Hosea, the prophet wrote, “…and wait for your God always.”
Our eyes and our hearts must be singularly focused upon our God on a continual basis. We wait for our God to provide whatever is most required to supply the needs and address the hopes of our family, our friends, our communities, and yes, even our world concerns. This kind of God-dependent living provides security and peace.
Hosea addressed two kinds of people in his exhortation. As I shared, I identify with both. Maybe, in some ways, this is true for many of us. We must live in constant awareness of our intimate and life-giving need of our God; returning to Him with humility and repentance. We also live with a conscientious desire to seek our God always for His divine favor, protection and care as we minister with mercy, love, and justice in our present day world.
I’m not one or the other when I read Hosea’s words, I’m both.
I will live justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with my God; returning to Him in humility and living with Him in love and according to His justice.
Photo by Dannafru of Flickr