So I bought her for myself

Then the LORD said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by her husband, yet an adulteress, even as the LORD loves the sons of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love raisin cakes.” So I bought her for myself for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a half of barley. Then I said to her, “You shall stay with me for many days. You shall not play the harlot, nor shall you have a man; so I will also be toward you.”
(Hosea 3:1-5)

Hosea married a woman (Gomer) who played the harlot. God used Hosea’s marriage to illustrate vividly His relationship to Israel as their loving and devoted Husband.

In this book of Hosea, we see the broken heart of God hurting for what Israel is doing to Him and to herself. Yet, He lets Israel go her own way. The loving Husband allows his wife Israel to sell herself to other men. The “raisin cakes” of pagan religion are just too alluring to resist. Children are born, most likely they are other men’s (Hosea 2:4). He watches in agony as she begins to reap the consequences of her idolatrous ways.

It leaves Israel broken, poor, used up, empty and destitute. The image in Hosea is of a harlot that had been used so much she is only worth half the price of a slave. Can you imagine Hosea walking up to that slave market? Can you picture when their eyes first met? What did she look like at that point? How did Hosea view her? With what kind of heart and attitude did Hosea approach his wife?

With love. With mercy. With grace. With acceptance.

God, because of His great love, redeemed Israel and brought her back to Himself. He “allured her,” “spoke kindly to her,” and blessed her richly even after this devastating betrayal (Hosea 2:13-19).

He does the same for us today. It is precisely the picture of grace that God shows to you and me.

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
(Ephesians 2:4-5)

The church is like that bride. We are Gomer. We all have sinned, played the harlot and left the loving husband, God Almighty. Yet in love He purchased us back to Himself, not with 15 shekels and bushels of poor man’s grain, but with His own blood (Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 1:18-19).

Let’s think about this over the weekend. May it renew our love for our wonderful God and remind us of how we should think of each other.

Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men. For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
(Titus 3:1-7)

You Shall Not Rule with Severity

‘You shall not rule over him with severity, but are to revere your God.
(Leviticus 25:43)

‘…But in respect to your countrymen, the sons of Israel, you shall not rule with severity over one another.
(Leviticus 25:46)

‘Like a man hired year by year he shall be with him; he shall not rule over him with severity in your sight.
(Leviticus 25:53)

And masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.
(Ephesians 6:9)

Today, please consider the above collection of verses about how we “rule over” one another in the workplace.

Both in the Old Testament and the New, the Lord called His people who had servants to treat them with respect. Paul had to ask his Christian brothers to “give up threatening.” If it wasn’t happening then there would be no need to tell those men to give up threatening.

Some guys only have one way to communicate…bark out orders. They do not know how to sit down and reason with someone. The concept of looking at the other person as someone who has a brain and has value is foreign to them. Do what I say or else. It’s my way or the highway. If someone brings up an opposing idea or another way of doing things, they get defensive and blow up. Any one who dares challenge them is treated like dirt, shut down and cast aside. The volume goes up along with the intensity and then people just back down and cower from fear and give in to their ways. As long as you march in step with them, you have nothing to fear.

Have you worked for a boss like that? Have we treated others like that?

This is not the spirit of Christ, nor was it the spirit that God wanted of His people in the Old Testament.

Give up threatening. Don’t rule with severity. Think of what these passages teach, especially the one in Ephesians 6:9.

  • Remember that the people who serve you belong to God. All of us belong to God. Everyone of us is created in the image of God. One of the ways to help you give up threatening is to see the eternal value of the people you are trying to lead. We can get so consumed with our own importance or our own mission that we fail to see the relationships and the value of those relationships.
  • Keep in mind that you have a Master in heaven. He is watching. He will judge, and there is no partiality with Him. If we mistreat others, God is the one to whom we will report.
  • You should show the same attitude and spirit to them. Notice Eph. 6:9 says, “do the same things to them.” Those same things are laid out for you in Ephesians 6:5-8. The servants were to do the will of God from the heart with sincerity, and the masters were to do the same things. God asked the servants to keep their eyes on Him with a spirit of fear and trembling, and He asked the same things from the masters. There are not two sets of rules, but sometimes we can live that way. We would never accept the kind of treatment that we deal out to others. God says live by the same rules.

Masters, grant to your slaves justice and fairness, knowing that you too have a Master in heaven.
(Colossians 4:1)

Slaves to the Screen

Good morning men. Today, I am linking an article here from NetNanny about young kids being addicted to the screen. This would be a helpful read for fathers and leaders of churches as we seek to encourage our young people to use technology with wisdom and self-control. We of course must lead by example.

Slaves to the Screen – How Young Kids are Getting Addicted

All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything (1 Corinthians 6:12).