15 day plan

A Funny Thing Happened Along the Way in Israel

Day 11 of 15

Hosea 2:14

The Lord's Love for His People

14So I am going to take her into the desert again; there I will win her back with words of love.

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
Matt 4:1

Reflection:  Whispers in the Wilderness – We can thank the Israelites’ 40 years of wandering for the bad rap that the wilderness gets in the minds of many Christians. But the wilderness is actually a place of great beauty. In Scripture it is a place of amazing revelation. In fact, the Hebrew word for wilderness (Midbar) is from the words “from” (as in place) “the word.” So it’s fair to say that the wilderness is the Place of The Word or Wordplace. This makes so much sense when
in the seeming silence of the desert God’s word is so clear to Moses, Israel, Elijah … even Jesus. Even a whisper in the wilderness is crystal clear. So if you find yourself in a desert season, don’t be discouraged. God took Israel to the desert to speak tenderly to her there. The Holy Spirit even led Jesus into the wilderness, where the Word was tested… and He answered with “it is written” – in the Word place. Let your desert season be a time to listen for his still small voice and to cling to his word in the face of any test.

Questions:  If you are in a wilderness season, what verses in the Bible could you hold onto to help sustain you?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, when I’m in a desert season I pray you’d give me ears to hear your tender whispers and strength to stand on the Word. Help me see the wilderness as the Word Place.

We’re reading the Bible until 16th June with Catrina Henderson, an Aussie girl living in Tel Aviv pioneering and pastoring Hillsong Israel.

Hosea 2:1-23

1So call your fellow Israelites “God's People” and “Loved-by-the-Lord.”

Unfaithful Gomer—Unfaithful Israel

2My children, plead with your mother—though she is no longer a wife to me, and I am no longer her husband. Plead with her to stop her adultery and prostitution. 3If she does not, I will strip her as naked as she was on the day she was born. I will make her like a dry and barren land, and she will die of thirst. 4-5I will not show mercy to her children; they are the children of a shameless prostitute. She herself said, “I will go to my lovers—they give me food and water, wool and linen, olive oil and wine.”

6So I am going to fence her in with thorn bushes and build a wall to block her way. 7She will run after her lovers but will not catch them. She will look for them but will not find them. Then she will say, “I am going back to my first husband—I was better off then than I am now.”

8She would never acknowledge that I am the one who gave her the grain, the wine, the olive oil, and all the silver and gold that she used in the worship of Baal. 9So at harvest time I will take back my gifts of grain and wine, and will take away the wool and the linen I gave her for clothing. 10I will strip her naked in front of her lovers, and no one will be able to save her from my power. 11I will put an end to all her festivities—her annual and monthly festivals and her Sabbath celebrations—all her religious meetings. 12I will destroy her grapevines and her fig trees, which she said her lovers gave her for serving them. I will turn her vineyards and orchards into a wilderness; wild animals will destroy them. 13I will punish her for the times that she forgot me, when she burned incense to Baal and put on her jewelry to go chasing after her lovers. The Lord has spoken.

The Lord's Love for His People

14So I am going to take her into the desert again; there I will win her back with words of love. 15 I will give back to her the vineyards she had and make Trouble Valley a door of hope. She will respond to me there as she did when she was young, when she came from Egypt. 16Then once again she will call me her husband—she will no longer call me her Baal. 17I will never let her speak the name of Baal again.

18At that time I will make a covenant with all the wild animals and birds, so that they will not harm my people. I will also remove all weapons of war from the land, all swords and bows, and will let my people live in peace and safety.

19Israel, I will make you my wife;

I will be true and faithful;

I will show you constant love and mercy

and make you mine forever.

20I will keep my promise and make you mine,

and you will acknowledge me as Lord.

21-22At that time I will answer the prayers of my people Israel.

I will make rain fall on the earth,

and the earth will produce grain and grapes and olives.

23 I will establish my people in the land and make them prosper.

I will show love to those who were called “Unloved,”

and to those who were called “Not-My-People”

I will say, “You are my people,”

and they will answer, “You are our God.”