“For she said, ‘I will go after my lovers, who give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.’ … And she did not know that it was I who gave her the grain, the wine, and the oil, and who lavished on her silver and gold, which they used for Baal.” Hosea 2:5b, 8 (ESV)
God uses several creative ways to describe our predilection for false idols.
Here in Hosea, He uses the word picture of a woman satisfying her needs through her lovers. The woman represents Israel and her lovers are pagan gods. Instead of going to God to satisfy their needs, Israel took those needs to other gods…even after He had already provided for them.
We do the same thing today…except our gods are less obvious.
When we satisfy our God-placed needs for love, worth, and impact with anything apart from Christ, we have created an idol.
We become dependent upon that idol and thus are captive to it.
Thomas Merton, in New Seeds of Contemplation, writes: “For how can I receive the seeds of freedom if I am in love with slavery and how can I cherish the desire of God if I am filled with another and an opposite desire?”
In other words…if I am superficially meeting my God-placed needs apart from Christ, I will not feel drawn to Him. Using the analogy Jesus uses in John, I will not be thirsty.
If I am not thirsty…I will not go to Him to drink.
I then become superficially satisfied…but not full…stable…but not fulfilled.
The rich and abundant life is only found by taking our thirst to God. To do that, we must first abandon our illegitimate ways of satisfying our needs.
It means turning from our idols that help us feel loved… to instead drink deeply from His love. It means turning from generating our worth from what we do… to recognizing our worth because we are His son or daughter. It means turning from making our own decisions apart from God… to actively seeking the works He has planned for us.
It will take time and effort.
We will occasionally slip back to our old ways.
Perseverance will be required, and we will need reminding…which is one goal for this devotional.
Prayer: Lord show me how to fully meet my needs through You!