Untwisting Scriptures to Find Freedom and Joy in Jesus Christ: Book 5 Brokenness and Suffering is due out next month. I’ve been working on the audio recording.

In that book, one of the arguments I make is that God does not “break” His faithful people. The people that He breaks are the wicked and the hard hearted.

An example of this that I did not include in the book (but that a reader asked about) is found in the book of Hosea.

Hosea 6 opens this way:

“Come, let us return to the Lord;
for he has torn us, that he may heal us;
he has struck us down, and he will bind us up.”

Certainly this sounds like a faithful follower of God speaking, and it’s clear that God has done the “tearing” and the “striking.” Does that mean we should start putting this in our songs to be sung in the church, as Shane & Shane have done in their song “Hosea”?

Let’s back up and look at the context of this Scripture.

Hosea 4 begins with these words:

Hear the word of the Lord, O children of Israel,
for the Lord has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land.
There is no faithfulness or steadfast love,
and no knowledge of God in the land;
there is swearing, lying, murder, stealing, and committing adultery;
they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed.
Therefore the land mourns,
and all who dwell in it languish,
and also the beasts of the field
and the birds of the heavens,
and even the fish of the sea are taken away.

Hosea was a faithful prophet to the very unfaithful people of the northern nation of Israel. These people had departed from the law of God (vs 6) and wantonly increased their sins against the Lord (vs 7). They were “greedy for iniquity” (vs 8), and God determined they would be punished because they had forsaken Him (vs 10). In verse 12 Hosea writes the word of the Lord:

My people inquire of a piece of wood,
and their walking staff gives them oracles.
For a spirit of whoredom has led them astray,
and they have left their God to play the whore.

These are strong words.

The text goes on to describe the altars to false gods that they made, the sexual immorality that always went with that, and how “their rulers dearly love shame” (vs 18).

And we’re not done yet.

Chapter 5 continues to describe the defilement of the people and how “the spirit of whoredom is within them, and they know not the Lord” (vs 4).

Then, do you see? When he says in verses 9-10,

Ephraim shall become a desolation in the day of punishment;
among the tribes of Israel I make known what is sure.
The princes of Judah have become like those who move the landmark;
upon them I will pour out my wrath like water.

It is because of the choices they had made. They had chosen to go deep into dark wickedness, even with murder and bloodshed. Verse 11 says,

Ephraim is oppressed, crushed in judgment,
because he was determined to go after filth.

And Hosea speaks the word of the Lord further in verses 14 and 15 of chapter 5:

For I [the Lord] will be like a lion to Ephraim,
and like a young lion to the house of Judah.
I, even I, will tear and go away;
I will carry off, and no one shall rescue.

I will return again to my place, until they acknowledge their guilt and seek my face,
and in their distress earnestly seek me.

THIS then is what precedes the words at the beginning of chapter 6. Hosea, who had been faithful all along, was speaking to his fellow Israelites:

“Come, let us return to the Lord;
for he has torn us, that he may heal us;
he has struck us down, and he will bind us up.”

The word “us” did not apply to God’s faithful people. (They most surely were not.) It applied to the Israelites. Hosea, who was faithful, was also an Israelite. THAT was his point of commonality with those who were pursuing wickedness.

I believe it is a travesty for the New Covenant people of God to proclaim THESE words over ourselves, when we long to love and follow the Lord. These words are not for us!  These words are for those who have recklessly and wantonly gone deep into the darkness of worshiping other gods, with all the profligacy that accompanies that wickedness.

There’s much more in my new book, but this is a reminder that when we read Scripture, we need to read it with the context in mind and knowing to whom the pronouns refer. Basic principles of hermeneutics, my friends.

And here’s the joy for the New Covenant people of God, all of whom have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ by faith: our God is for us and not against us. He wants to bring us into the fullness of who He created us to be.

That’s good news.

 

 

 

 

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Go here to download your free Guide, How to Enjoy the Bible Again (when you’re ready) After Spiritual Abuse (without feeling guilty or getting triggered out of your mind). You’ll receive access to both print and audio versions of the Guide (audio read by me). I’m praying it will be helpful.

 

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