Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Let me be the first to say, I never quite knew the whole story about Hosea, Gomer, Israel, and Jehovah. There must have been some omission in Sunday School when we learned this part, or I was just absent that day. All I really grasped was that Hosea had a scandalous wife.

The Christian band Third Day has a Fan Club whose members are called Gomers. They are always encouraged to wear orange to every Third Day show to let the band know who they are. Again, I never grasped just what the goal or aim of this was, but simply thought it some cool Biblical reference-club-thing.

I read Donald Miller's "Searching for God Knows What," and a quote he listed in there from St. Augustine really sparked my curiosity about the story of Hosea. He said that, "The church is a whore, and she is my mother." I was floored. So, I dived in and read the book of Hosea.
Now my first glance at the book scared me, because there is so much expressed of God's disappointment, frustration, and anger for His people because of how they disobeyed Him. It is a very chilling thought for God to say that you are no longer His people and no longer loved by Him. I would have to say that would get my attention.

Yet, there is a glimmer of hope offered in Hosea, and it is that of love, redemption, and celebration. The Lord offers a vision of renewal and restoration for Israel, but it is not immediate--they must put their past behind them. When they have done this, God can resume His DJ/Host/VIP role in the party which is their life.

This is illustrated in the direct marriage of Hosea to Gomer, a prostitute. The Bible says she bore him 3 children (2 sons, 1 daughter), and it's not clear who the father is. Yet Hosea buys her back with the specific intent of loving her in a way she has never been loved. In fact, in Chapter 3 he instructs her to leave old life behind by not having sex anymore with strange men. He also takes it one step further stating that even he as her husband will not have sex with her for those "many days."

This is so symbolic and glorious about God's love for us. Here it represents Israel's period of time it must endure without God's blessing, basically until she cleans up her ways. For a person today, it is a parallel with forgiveness and new life. Each of us is that Gomer, that Israel, that prostitute who have sought so many different lovers than our one true love. We have bore many consequences from our actions, and we all need a Hosea to love us like we've never been loved before.

Yes, the church is a whore, and she's my mother. And the church so desperately needs the love of a Hosea God. But don't just accuse the masses...I am that same promiscuous sinner--and I am in good company with the Gomers of yesterday and today.

Saturday, August 18, 2007


This was written a few weeks back while I was on Wilderness Trek...hope ya like it.

As I write this I am at High Camp of our Mountain Journey. We are up at 11,000 ft. in the beautiful Colorado Mountains. This whole business of mountains being shaped and formed is truly a spectacle to me. It is like God sculpted whole mountain ranges with the corner of His pinkie finger and we all behold His majesty.

A few weeks ago I stumbled across a Psalm which fascinated me. Psalm 97 speaks of God's enormous power, and how much He is exalted over every single outstanding thing we know and can see. Verse 5 is especially stirring to me because it describes an image of God melting the mountains like wax.

I love candles. I realize that's probably an unusual thing for a guy to admit or enjoy, but I do. There's just something about the way that wax melts and gives off unique aromas & scents that I just really find neat. I think I would much rather have a house full of candles in a storm than a bunch of flashlights. Candles create mood, ambiance, romantic flair, religious presence, and so on. Yet at the end of the day, they are just hardened wax.

When I compare the candles fragility of wax and the Rocky Mountains, which seem solid, my mind is awestruck at God's power. Elohim could melt these gigantic land masses like I can melt a candle, except I'd have to speculate He could make it happen much faster if He wanted to!

Now, if that same God gave us wax candles to melt and can obliterate the most gargantuan structures the world has ever seen in the same way, what can He do with our hearts if we choose to let Him?

We sing a song in our student ministry called, "Break my heart." It is a beautiful song about restoration and renewal. In the song we ask God to gently break our hard hearts so that we can become His again. I love this song a lot, as it has moved me closer to God through the years. Yet in light of Psalm 97, maybe the break image isn't enough. When I was a youngster, I would often get very upset when one of my toys would break. It was as though "break" had a negative connotation, as it most often does. I would cry and plead with my father to fix it. And really through some fancy superglue, tape, or device he would restore my toy and my happiness.

But when something is melted, it has lost its shape completely. It cannot be repaired with almost any contraption that has been invented. And so God melting our hearts is an incredibly powerful image. In fact, Scripture uses this image in a few select places. Psalm 22:14 communicates the despair that David feels, and it is very personal and heartfelt the renewal he seeks from the Lord. The same Hebrew word is referenced in Joshua 7 when because of Achan's sin the small army of AI kills 36 of the Israelites. Verse 7 of that chapter states that their hearts and their courage melted away.

I realize it would not sound right to create a devotional song that asks the Lord to melt us and our hearts...and yet that is exactly what I am suggesting we ask God for. To take a melted object and restore it to its new state again, well, that would be special and magical. And when God melts our hearts, like He melts the mountains and we melt candles, that is truly special and magical, too.