Forgotten Blessing

She does not recognize
that it is I who gave her the grain,
the new wine, and the fresh oil.
I lavished silver and gold on her,
which they used for Baal.
Therefore, I will take back my grain in its time
and my new wine in its season;
I will take away my wool and linen,
which were to cover her nakedness.
Now I will expose her shame
in the sight of her lovers,
and no one will rescue her from my power.
I will put an end to all her celebrations:
her feasts, New Moons, and Sabbaths—
all her festivals.
I will devastate her vines and fig trees.
She thinks that these are her wages
that her lovers have given her.
I will turn them into a thicket,
and the wild animals will eat them.
And I will punish her for the days of the Baals,
to which she burned incense.
She put on her rings and her jewelry
and followed her lovers,
but she forgot me.

Hosea 2:8-13

The parallels between Gomer’s adultery and Israel’s adultery become more apparent in Hosea 2. Just as Gomer continues to pursue other men as she is married to Hosea, Israel continues to pursue other gods, particularly the fertility god, Baal. They hope that they will receive an agricultural blessing from Baal by appeasing him. What they fail to recognize is that Yahweh has been providing all these things to them already. So, Yahweh decides to remove His blessing at protection on the crops of Israel in hopes of them coming to their senses and returning to Him. The goal of God’s punishment is often the restoration of a lost relationship.

We are not unlike the Israelites in this passage. We seek after blessings and favors from others while we forget that God is the ultimate source of our blessings. At times, then, God will remove His blessings, not because He is petty but because He desires that we return to a relationship with Him. Material blessings are not bad in and of themselves. Still, if we allow our pursuit of material provision to get in the way of our relationship with God, God will eventually let us go our own way until we experience the self-destructive tendencies of unbridled materialism and greed. He hopes then that we will return to our senses and come back to a relationship with Him.

  • Have you allowed the pursuit of material blessings to get in the way of your relationship with God?

Published by llongard

I grew up in northeast Wisconsin. After high school, I moved to Minneapolis, MN to attend North Central University and graduated 1992 with a degree in Biblical Studies and Humanities. I spent most of the next fifteen years in the Twin Cities area until my family and I moved to Indiana in 2007. For most of the first seventeen years after college, I was involved in university ministry either as a volunteer, bi-vocational, or full-time campus minister. Through those years, I also worked in the main street marketplace as a retail manager/trainer and as a service representative in the insurance industry. I've also worked in various education roles. Most recently, I have been working on various projects addressing homelessness in Indianapolis and as team lead for Diakonos Community, a Communitas International missional initiative. Through this ministry, we seek to build missional communities in Indianapolis that serve and bring the life of Christ to those on the margins of society. Our strategy is to collaborate with community agencies that serve those in need and share Christ through meaningful relationships. I am blessed with a wonderful wife, three amazing daughters, and two cats (can't forget the cats, LOL). As a family, we enjoy camping, hiking, gardening, and going to the YMCA together. I also enjoy fishing, riding bicycle, and being involved in whatever my daughters are doing. Though I have not lived in the Green Bay area for over 20 years, I am still a major Packer fan.

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