“But as many as received him. To them He gave the power to become the sons of God, even to them who believe on his name”
HE BRINGS US TO HIMSELF
Hosea 3:1-5 : The LORD said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the LORD loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.”So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and about a homer and a lethek of barley. Then I told her, “You are to live with me many days; you must not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man, and I will live with you.”
For the Israelites will live many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without ephod or idol. Afterward the Israelites will return and seek the LORD their God and David their king. They will come trembling to the LORD and to his blessings in the last days.
The word of God tells us here that in the last days the Israelites will come trembling to the Lord and His blessing. They will not come only to His blessings but will come to Him. It’s a word not only for the Israelites but also for us: we have to come trembling to the LORD and His blessings; first to the Lord and then to His blessings!
Coming to the Lord and coming to His blessings are two different things. We come to the Lord, in prayer, for His blessings – His protection, His favor, for prosperity, for the things we need in our lives; but how often do we come to Him just for the sake of coming to Him and loving Him and fellowshipping with Him? The difference between the two is so small that very often we are praying only because we want the blessing and not because we want Him – Jesus. The Father redeemed and saved us through Jesus not only for the sake of blessing us but primarily because He wanted us for Himself. God’s blessings are important but He is much much more important!
‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. Exodus 19: 4
The Lord did not want His people as slaves to Egypt; He did not want Egypt to own His people, so He delivered them and brought them to Himself: they were His very own.
‘…and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.’ Col 1:20
‘All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.’ 2 Cor 5:18
Once again the word of God is very clear; He reconciled us to Himself through Jesus, and not to His blessings.
‘… just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.’ Eph 5: 25 – 27
Jesus gave Himself up for the church not just for the sake of washing her sin and making her holy but also because He wants to present to himself a spotless bride, when He comes back.
‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.’ John 14: 1 – 3
This verse, I think, more than any other, shows the tremendous love Jesus has for us. He is preparing a place for us and will come back to take us to where He is. The bridegroom so much in love for His bride! He wants the bride where He is. He wants the bride with Him – not somewhere far away in a foreign land! He is coming back, very soon, for you and for me because He loves us. Halleluiah! He wants to take us to Himself. He doesn’t want to be separated, far away, He wants us with Him.
Every religion talks about God, but not one of them talks about a God who seeks a relationship with His people; not one of them talks about man being able to have a relationship with His creator; not one of them talks about man being able to fall in love with His heavenly Father. In fact, how can they? Most of the so-called gods are just idols; an imagination of man’s mind, carved by his hands! How can an idol or statue demand a relationship? How can man have a living, loving relationship with an idol?!!! Some of the other so-called gods are just human beings, who are presently in their graves or soon will be!!!
Every religion, including Christianity as a religion, teaches us to go to God only for blessings and favours. Religion is about going to the ‘supreme being’ for man’s needs and purposes. It’s about finding self–realization; finding peace, finding joy… it’s all about what one can get from God. It’s self-centered and selfish. Christianity as a religion is about using Jesus for one’s needs and purposes. That is why, from when we are children, we are taught to pray, ‘God bless me this day. Bless my parents and friends and teachers… Lord, protect me this day…’ and nothing more! We are taught to go to God for protection, safety, direction but hardly are we taught that we can love Him, have fellowship with Him, commune with Him and have a relationship with Him; hardly are we taught that He wants us for Himself.
The bible shows that God’s passion and purpose is for a relationship with man and through that to bless Him in every way. When man lost fellowship with Him through sin, God sent His Son Jesus into the world, to regain and restore that fellowship. Jesus did not come into the world only to show us the love of the Father or to wash us of our sin for just the sake of it; but He came into the world to wash us of our sin and cleanse us and forgive us, so that our relationship with God our Father, might be restored. Through our relationship and fellowship with Him He will restore to us fullness of peace and joy and every single thing that we need. In the bible we see that God wants His people for Himself. In the bible we hear that our God is a jealous God. And why jealous? Because He longs for our fellowship and cannot tolerate us going along with the world or the things of the world. He loves to bless and protect us, but more than that He longs for us to be with Him in love. He is a living God, who demands our very best, in love, all for Himself!
You should not follow Him to see what you can get from Him; and He is not looking at what He can get from you: HE IS LOOKING TO GET YOU. He does not want you money, time or service first; He wants you for Himself. In Proverbs 23:6 we read,
‘My son GIVE ME YOUR HEART, and let your eyes keep to my ways’
He wants your heart and life first, and then you will automatically give Him your money, time, service and your everything. Many people are willing to give God everything except their lives. They are happy to give God anything that they feel makes God happy as long as God does not ask them for a serious commitment to Him. They are happy to give a little money to the church and to the poor; they are happy to be involved in church activities; but only as long as they don’t have to surrender their entire lives to Him. In Mathew chapter 19, we read about the rich young man, who told Jesus that he had kept all the commandments. But, when Jesus asked him to sell everything and follow Him, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. This man was very `willing to obey and keep all the commandments, but could not give up what he possessed for Jesus’ sake.
He was faithful to the commandments of Jesus, but not to Jesus Himself. What are you faithful to? Only to the commandments? Only to the church? Only to some prayers? Only to some time of worship and songs of worship? Are you ready to give up everything and follow Jesus? Are you ready to give up your parents, if necessary, and follow Jesus? Are you ready give up your job for Jesus, if he asks for it? Are you ready to give up your friends for Jesus? Are you ready to give up your lifestyle, your attitudes, and your ways for Jesus? If you are not, then you are not truly following Jesus; you are just religious and pious but you really have nothing to do with Jesus! You are devoted to Him with your mouth but not with your heart! Jesus Himself said in Mathew 10:37 – 39,
‘Anyone who loves father or mother more than ME is not worthy of ME; anyone who loves son or daughter more that ME is not worthy of ME; and anyone who does not take up his cross and follow ME is not worthy of ME. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for MY SAKE will find it’
In the passage from Hosea 3, Hosea buys back his adulterous wife for 15 shekels of silver and some barley, and says, “You are to live with me many days; you must not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man, and I will live with you.” We, in our lives have been like Hosea’s adulterous wife – forgetting God and going after the things of the world and our own selves and coming to Him probably only for His blessings. But, unlike Hosea, Jesus has bought us back, the bible says, not with gold or silver or anything perishable, but with His own blood. And so, Jesus expects from us that we stay with HIM, many days, in fact for all eternity, and not prostitute ourselves for the things of the world or be intimate with them; He does not want us to come to Him only for blessings sake; HE WANTS TO BE INTIMATE WITH US AND LIVE WITH US.
Jesus is seeking us. He is seeking a deep relationship with us. He is looking for intimacy with us. He is in love with us. He wants us. He needs us. So, let’s stop coming to Him only for the blessings that He can give us and come to Him for Himself. Let’s come trembling to the Lord first and then we can be sure that all the blessings that we need for this life will follow!
‘Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and everything else shall be ADDED UNTO YOU’.