July 4, 2016
OUR FAMILIES and OUR NATION - Hosea’s Story revisited in 2016
Recently my mind has been filled with “deep things” facing a few of my dear friends and our great nation. The issues are complex and not easily resolved. I have friends wrestling with relational, moral, financial and security issues and our nation is struggling with them as well. After visiting with a friend for nearly an hour on a long distant phone call, I had a heavy heart and felt the pain expressed because of a fractured relationship in a marriage and the negative impact it was having on every member of the family. Then, when I turned on the nightly news and heard and saw the pain and suffering that resulted from man’s inhumanity to man and the unraveling of the moral fiber of our nation, I was reminded of the Old Testament Prophet Hosea and how he responded to similar situations. His heart was tortured beyond description when his wife deserted him for another. And much like we are experiencing today, his nation was decaying spiritually, standards were lowered, morals forgotten and sin was magnified. The character and integrity of their leaders deteriorated, corruption flourished and there was a lack of purpose on the part of the people. The stage was set for destruction. Yet, on the outside there was a thin layer of veneer that looked like prosperity to the rest of the world and gave the people a false sense of security. Does this sound familiar?
In our nation today, pride, affluence and self-fulfillment have replaced God. There is some lip service directed toward God, but He has been divorced from the practical affairs of life. God’s message, given through His Prophet Hosea, dealt with the “deep things” in a setting similar to our situation today. His message was very personal and pointed:
“Hear the word of the Lord, you Israelites, because the Lord has a charge to bring against you who live in the land: There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land. There is only cursing, lying and murder, stealing and adultery; they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed. (Hosea 4:1-2)
The truths God spoke through Hosea need to be remembered and heeded today. Hosea pleaded for his wife to return to him and he pleaded for his nation to return to God. However, individuals and nations can become so enticed by self-fulfillment and the promise of “more”, they forget their families and their God. One step down that path often leads to another and families and nations are put in in peril. In broken marriages, often the one left tries to win the other back, but to no avail. Separation follows and in time there is a divorce. In nations, God wants the nations to know Him and honor Him, but most disregard His desire and go their own way because self-fulfillment has become their ultimate goal.
Let’s look at four areas that God addressed through Hosea:
(1) SPIRITUAL COMPROMISE
The path of spiritual compromise results in drifting away from God “For my people are determined to desert me. They call me the Most High, but they don’t truly honor me (Hosea 11:7) and increased disobedience “Now they sin more and more (Hosea 13:2). When leaders, whether in the home, the church, marketplace or government fail to seek the wisdom that God so freely gives and begin to peel away absolutes and adjust their consciences to what seems good at the time, they are on the path of corruption and destruction. Following their leadership, families, businesses and nations begin a slow, steady decline. In the classic book, The Capture of Rome, I read a quote that said, “Evil times came and then we remembered our religion. Considering the course of our history during these latter years, you will find that when we followed God’s guidance all was well; when we scorned it, all was ill.”
Spiritual compromise leads to spiritual and moral decay.
The way to avoid spiritual compromise is to follow Romans 12:2: “Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.” Inviting the Lord to sit on the throne of our lives and allowing Him to begin making the decisions is the answer. In our nation, many of our policies result from political interests and political expediency rather than principles of justice and truth. Pray that our leaders will enact legislation for the cause of righteousness and justice rather than deceit, dishonesty and self-promotion.
(2) PRIORITY OF THE HOME
The prince of this world is very clever in dividing and conquering families. He does it by promoting the supremacy of self, arranging schedules so there is lack of family time, the need for substitute parenting and using the allurement of sex to cause infidelity and unfaithfulness. His goal is the breakdown of the family and the disintegration of society. How did Hosea handle his tragic situation? He could have divorced his wife. Life is very difficult in those kinds of situations and often there are great financial concerns because sin defiles and separates. Yet, Hosea’s love for his wife continued even though she had transferred her affections to another. He honored his commitment to his wife in order to bring glory to his God. For marriages and families to last, there needs to be a spiritual foundation. Our homes, churches and nation need spiritual leaders who will win, mentor and model the example of our Savior.
(3) GRASPING GOD’S LOVE
Hosea understood God’s forgiving love. He came to the realization that God suffers deeply when His people fall into sin by forsaking, forgetting and replacing Him with idols. Today, some of our idols are self, lust, money, power, fame, materialism, and even the local church. God is holy. He hates sin and idols that replace Him. He has a personal affection for His people, wants what is best for them and is quick to forgive. God’s love for us and His wrath of sin met at Calvary---His wrath against sin and His love for you and me. It is His kindness that leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4).
(4) SPIRITUAL COMPLACENCY
Spiritual complacency was a major concern in Hosea’s day and it is for us today. Just like then, an obstinate, independent spirit prevails in our society. Sin is preferred over God’s grace. Today, we try to refine sin and make it socially respectable. According to Barna Research, 74% of millennials agree that self-fulfillment is the ultimate measure of moral good. 65% of American adults agree that every culture must determine what is acceptable morality for its people. How long can our nation survive when the majority believe whatever is right for your life or what works best for you is the only truth you can know? Pilate asked Jesus, “What is truth?” (John 18:38). Jesus said that God’s Word is truth (John 17:17) and “if you abide in my Word…you will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (John 8: 31-32). Many of our leaders undermine holy living and promote ungodly living because they do not know the truth. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6). God used Hosea to speak to his nation to repent of their sinful ways and turn to Him. He wants to speak through us today.
Will you allow Him to speak through you?
He wants to use your time, your tongue and your treasure to impact your world by touching hearts, healing fractured relationships and rescuing a rebellious nation that is adrift from God and headed for disaster.
We at Capitol Commission, encourage you to:
(1) Bring glory to God in all areas of your life: family, neighborhood, marketplace, city and nation,
(2) Pray for our leaders that they will turn to God. Click in to www.Pray1Tim2.org for a helpful prayer tool, and
(3) Invest in ministries that seek to win and change the hearts of our leaders.
Here is a case for your support of Capitol Commission:
Via the gospel (Romans 1:16), hearts are changed (Ezekiel 36:26). With discipleship (Matthew 28:19-20), minds are transformed (Romans 12:2) and by pursuing righteousness votes are changed (Psalm 106:3). As a result, the culture of nations begin to reflect the truths of God’s Word (Hebrew 4:12), His Kingdom advances (Luke 13:19) and He is glorified (John 15:8).
Assistant to the President