Tuesday, April 17, 2018
God is speaking:
Then I will return to my place until they admit their guilt and turn to me. For as soon as trouble comes, they will earnestly search for me.”
God’s people respond from the wood shed:
“Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces; now he will heal us. He has injured us; now he will bandage our wounds. In just a short time he will restore us, so that we may live in his presence. Oh, that we might know the Lord! Let us press on to know him. He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring.” Hosea 5:15-6:3(NLT)
The wood shed evokes images of an era fading from view. There was a time in American culture when, particularly on family farms, and other rural places, if the child had been disobedient the parent would utter the decree: I’ll be in the wood shed; you meet me there. That was the dreaded phrase announcing the impending punishment of a whipping for wrong-doing.
In the 21st century most writers of parenting materials would shudder and shriek over the supposedly barbaric practice of even telling Johnny he has done wrong, much less assaulting Johnny’s body with a switch, belt or paddle. I must admit I get a little weary of hearing how Johnny’s psyche will get warped if he gets punished for behavior that is deemed wrong by the parent. In my personal experience I do not believe punishment warped my mental state (though sometimes it did warp the way I sat down for a week)!
Hosea’s prophecy was all about the word of sanity from the woodshed, Israel’s response to the discipline of God. To say Israel had been unfaithful is to understate their condition by a mile. For a nation founded on allegiance to God’s ways, falling into worshipping other gods, going after power, materialism, and even child-sacrifice, while still claiming their heritage as God’s very special chosen people…well that was laughable.
That would have been like America still claiming to be a Christian nation.
The history of Israel and the USA are no different than the history of humanity. We are loved by God…we accept that love…and we reject living like we’re loved…and we wind up in the woodshed; there is little under the sun that is new.
Hosea crafted the right words for the collective mouth of Israel’s heart…let us return to the Lord. Those are still the right words for any nation; those are still the right words for any person. It is true we can (in this life) never turn off the sin meter; we all manage to slip off the path, or directly step over the line against God’s standard. Our daily priority, then has to be repentance, confession, and diligently returning to the Lord.
This is what Paul meant when he wrote:
I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. 1 Corinthians 15:31(KJV)
This is the life of those who would truly follow Jesus as a disciple, putting to death that which stands in the way of your walk with Him.
If you’re familiar with the wood shed as a corrective your parent exercised with you, and changed your life from the wrong path to the right one…remember there is a spiritual wood shed that is connected to the straight and narrow path which leads to eternal life.
It’s not easy to die daily…but it’s the only way to live!