In recent months a number of personal friends have lost their fortunes in a deepening recession. This morning, one of these men and I meditated through chapters 1 and 2 of Hosea. He, like so many “successful” businessmen, rode a wave of prosperity, assuming it was he who had brilliantly put the deals together in creating wealth. This was also Israel’s assumption, so God chose to discipline her:
“She has not acknowledged that I was the one who gave her the grain, the new wine and oil, who lavished on her the silver and gold… ” (2:8a)
But that is exactly what we do, is it not? We believe it is our planning, our selling ability, or our talent that brings “success.” Thus we, like Israel tend to take the credit unto ourselves.
So God DISCIPLINED her by removing her wealth:
“Therefore I will take away my grain when it ripens, and my new wine when it is ready. I will take back my wool and my linen, intended to cover her nakedness… ” (2:9, 10a)
In His enduring love, He then “ALLURED” her back to Himself:
“I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her.” (2:14)
Perhaps He will place us in the “desert” in order to help us reestablish intimacy with Himself.
He then “BETROTHED” her again to Himself:
“I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the Lord.” (2:19, 20)
And finally, He RESTORED her:
“I will plant her for myself in the land; I will show my love to the one I called ‘Not my loved one.‘ I will say to those called ‘Not my people,‘ ‘You are my people‘; and they will say, ‘You are my God.‘” (2:23)
I don’t know your circumstances, but I do know that God loves us too much to allow us to take credit for any “success” we may experience.