At Oasis, we are currently going through a series called “The Jesus Creed”. I stole the title from a book I have been reading by Scot McKnight ( who has an excellent blog by the way – check it out at http://www.jesuscreed.org ).
McKnight claims (and I’d have to agree) that the central ideas of Christianity are Loving God and Loving Others. He gets this idea from the time in the Gospels where Jesus is asked what the greatest commandment is. Jesus says to Love God and then says the second greatest commandment is to Love others. There’s plenty of good stuff we could talk about here…but that’s not where I want to go with this post. I want to talk to you about a very powerful story I was reminded of as I prepared for my lesson this past Tuesday.
?The main idea of Tuesday’s lesson was that God calls us to be completely committed to him. True love, the kind of love God calls us to, requires complete devotion. Think of a marriage. Marriage only works when both partners are completely committed to each other. There is no way Lisa would have agreed to marry me if I told her I was still going to see other women on the side. As her husband, it is my duty (and privilege) to be completely committed to her.
?The story that came to mind as I was preparing for this lesson is one that I read for the first time when I was in high school. It’s from the Bible…it’s the story of Hosea. Do you know the story of Hosea? Let me paraphrase for you. Hosea is a prophet. God tells Hosea to marry a prostitute – Gomer (how about that for a name!). Hosea obeys and he is everything a husband is supposed to be. He loves Gomer with all his heart and provides for her the way a husband is supposed to. Gomer continues to “go after her lovers” (as the scripture says). Again and again, Hosea brings her back home, forgives her, and reminds her of how much he loves her. At one point, Gomer sells herself into sexual slavery and Hosea has to buy her back. I can’t even begin to imagine how Hosea felt. Yet, that’s the way God feels…See the story of Hosea is a metaphor for God’s relationship with us. He is the perfect, unwavering husband, and we are the adulterous wife. Every time we turn from God and put something else at the center of our lives, we are committing spiritual adultery. When I think of my sin in these terms it tears me up inside. I can’t bare the thought of my sin wounding God that way. Thank God for mercy and forgiveness!