Octavias Winslow, a radical non-conformist writer drew up a list of what it really means to be a backslidden Christian. One of the indicators he listed was the way in which such people only read the bible as duty and not as a result of a deep sense of devotion to the Word or a need to get closer to God and hear His voice. Many of us have turned lukewarm in our salvation yet we will announce to all and sundry just how saved we are. We have become too familiar with God and no longer treat him with the reverence and awe of yesteryears. We now think of Him as some big brother who is watching out for us.
Despite their faithlessness, God had to turn the life of Hosea around and be wed to a prostitute in order for the Israelites to understand His love for them. In this they were to understand how God draws people to Himself regardless of how far they have drawn away from Him. Hosea 4:16 shows what a stubborn lot the Israelites were, mixing up with the nations (Hosea 7:8); how easily deceived and senseless-like a dove- they were (Hosea 7:11). God looked at all their injustices in the land and how in Hosea 5:12 they swatted Him like a moth. Yet, in Hosea 11:8 God shows just how He cannot give them up and how all His compassion is roused for them. These are the people who must now accept their status, seek God's face and repent. God's affection for them is meant to make them realize that they can always look up to Him for forgiveness. Swatting Him away is wrong. Treating Him as one to whom we only call when we want something is also pretentious.
It is said that success, pleasure, fulfillment or power cannot measure up to even one drop of the water that Christ offers us to drink of him, yet, some people still ride on the fame of yesteryears instead of seeking the freshness that comes from being continually near to God.
God requires a people that are committed to Him. This therefore means that no matter what kind of desert experience we are going through, we should turn to Him and inquire of Him what He is doing in our lives or what He wants of us at these trying moments. The things that we are going through should not drive us away from God. Hosea 6:1-2 asks that we may return to our God, who, although He has torn us to pieces and injured us, will heal and restore us. It is only if we return back to God and position ourselves in His presence that we will again be able to relate with Him in that special way that we used to before we started taking Him for granted. This is also when the glory of God will once again descend on us and strengthen our prayer lives. In returning to Him, we encounter renewal and revival.
We live in a sad world. Many of us are no longer who we used to be with God, we only remember Him nostalgically as of old. We need to return in the path of prayer and worship. God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him. Hosea 6:3 says that if we acknowledge Him, He will appear and come to us like the winter and spring rains that water the earth.
Seek God experientially and intimately because when you return to Him, He will return to you and there will certainly be evidence of His return. As surely as the sun rises, He will appear; with tones of blessings for your diligence.
Oh that we may return to you Oh Lord!
May these words (sermons), from various men and women of God be a blessing to all.