Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Hosea 3:1 -- On Symbols and Priorities

"Then said the Lord unto me, Go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend, yet an adulteress, according to the love of the Lord toward the children of Israel, who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine."
Hosea 3:1

This is the Lord talking to the prophet Hosea.  God made Hosea's whole life kind of a symbolic representation of his relationship with his people, and in this case, he asked him to love a woman who was an adulteress.  It was a lesson to the people around him that God still loved his people, although they had essentially cheated on him the way that an adulterer cheats on his or her spouse.  It's kind of a stark comparison, but I think that God uses it so that we will take the idea seriously.

We often symbolically cheat on God in this way, and we don't realize that it is just as harmful to our relationship with God as adultery is in a marriage.  We "look to other gods" when we love flagons of wine, or anything else, more than we love God.  Maybe we're putting a job or a degree before him, or maybe a hobby or a car or a house, or even a person.  God wants us to love and care for and respect other people, don't get me wrong, but he specifically tells us that "He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me" (Matthew 10:37). Even when it is family relationships, we have to remember that loving God is the first commandment, and loving others is the second. :)  Other people can sometimes get in the way of doing the right thing, and having a relationship with God.  In those cases, we have to put God first.

God's message to us later in this chapter is that he will forgive his people, including us, and take us back in the latter days, which is a great and hopeful thing to look forward to.  But first we have to learn to put him first, and stop the symbolic adultery against him.  Today, let's take our priorities seriously, and make sure that we are giving God and his commandments the respect, attention, and time that we need to give them, in order to be able to hear his voice and have him with us, helping us in everything that we do.

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