Saturday, December 27, 2008

Need a Song?

Our children attend public schools, so it has been a treat to have them home on break for the last week. Perhaps it's because we live in the country and have no immediate neighbors or perhaps it's because we limit our children's electronic time daily, in either case we have been blessed by a daughter who spends hours of each day singing hymns. She sits at the piano and plays hymns--new hymns, old hymns, familiar hymns, little-known hymns. She generally sings the alto and tenor lines, working each phrase over and over, leaving us all with bits of a melody that carry us from one "practice session" to the next.

In reading the book of Hosea, God shares His personal, intimate plan for His people. He sees her desire to take the good things He has given her and spend it on that which makes a mockery of Him. He watches as she pursues those things which destroy and draw away life, desiring to reveal Himself to her and lavish her with good things.

Like Gomer, Hosea's wife, many of us seek our own pleasure, using the gifts God has given. He would have us recycle our gifts in ways that reveal Him; too often we use those gifts in selfish, idolatrous ways that distort His character and ways.

But as the story continues, God arranges circumstances to woo His own. Following Paul and Peter's examples, we can apply these same principles to ourselves (Rom. 9:25, 1 Peter 2:10).

God uses all things--even difficult things--to draw us and bless us. He covenants us to Himself (Hosea 2:14-18). This unusual covenant is not a dual agreement in which each side brings something to the table, for God Himself covers the cost of His erring wife/people (v. 18--"I will also make a covenant for them...." emphasis added). God then provides righteousness, justice, lovingkindness, compassion, and faithfulness (v. 19-20).

And what does He desire in return? Simply that I will sing as in the days of my youth (v. 15), that I will know the Lord (v. 20), and acknowledge Him as my God (v. 23). What a natural response to the goodness of God! How could we do otherwise? If He has given all, can I not--will I not--acknowledge Him with songs of praise and thanksgiving?

Thanks to our daughter, I have many songs in my head and heart today. Thanks to this reminder from the Lord through Hosea, my heart is lightened to sing "as in the days of my youth."

Verse: "I will sow her for Myself in the land. I will also have compassion on her who had not obtained compassion, And I will say to those who were not My people, 'You are My people!' And they will say, 'You are my God!'" Hosea 2:23

Challenge: Turn off your radio, television, ipod, etc. and ask the Lord to put a song in your heart. Be sensitive to the words that come to mind and offer them back as a prayer to the Lord.

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