This morning, I went before the Lord in prayer and began pouring out my heart to Him. Brett and I are going through some pretty difficult financial issues right now, and my heart is heavy with them. Not only is my heart heavy, but my mind is filled with, “what if’s” and “how’s”. As I was praying to the Lord this morning, my heart became glad and full of thanksgiving. I realized that I can come to my heavenly Father and beg and plead and pour out my soul to Him and He listens. I began to thank Him and praise Him for hearing me, for being there for me. I thanked Him that He does see everything- our financial needs, our spiritual needs, our desires, dreams, all of them- He sees. So I asked Him to speak to me this morning, and tell me what to do, what was His plan. He answered. But bear with me as I bring you to His answer. It was a process this morning, and I don’t want you to miss out on it either!
I opened my One Year Bible (NLT) and began to read in Hosea 10:1-2. “How prosperous Israel is- a luxuriant vine loaded with fruit. But the richer the people get, the more pagan alters they build. The more bountiful their harvests, the more beautiful their sacred pillars. The hearts of the people are fickle; they are guilty and must be punished. The Lord will break down their altars and smash their sacred pillars.” Those were some pretty tough words for me to hear from Him this morning. You see, Brett and I have not been good stewards, we have been getting better at it, but we still have a long way to go, me in particular.
I am much like the children of Israel in this scripture. I get comfortable very easy. When things are going well I have a tendency to “slack off” in regards to my God. When Brett and I were making a very comfortable income we began to acquire things. Once again- it was all me. I began to go on shopping sprees with my daughter, and do crazy things with our money. Brett was okay with it as long as our bills were getting paid- and they were, just not the way the Lord wanted them to. More and more I began to “build “those altars of carefree spending and neglect the call of being a good, faithful and wise steward. When the Lord called me to leave my full time job and work part time, all those “riches” I no longer had to depend on. Let’s just say, reality hit me full in the face!
Brett and I began re-evaluating our lives, our finances, and what was true need in our home. I tell people when they ask us, “God told Brett and I to hit the reset button on our lives.” That is exactly what the Lord asked us to do. We were building altars and bringing in a harvest that was not God-ward, but ME-ward. Things have been rough, but the Lord has been faithful to us. We have not gone without, but there are days, in fact today is one of them, where I look at the finances, look at the income and cry out to the Lord for a miracle.
This morning, I got my answer to my cries and also He told me His plan. He is stripping away every excuse, every altar (i.e. walls, sin, unfaithfulness, disobedience, selfishness, etc) that we are putting up, He is tearing it down piece by piece until we have nothing left to cling to except Him. He alone is God, and there shall be No other gods before Him. He is stripping away everything in our lives that we put before Him, until we have nowhere to turn, nowhere to run, nowhere to hide from Him. He says in 10:5 “The people mourn and the priests wail, because its glory will be stripped away.” What did I do this morning? I mourned and wailed because this was hurting! All that I had depended on (Brett and I’s ability to provide) was being stripped away!
But, He didn’t stop there - He kept right on disciplining me! Hosea 10:11 “Israel is like a trained heifer treading out the grain- an easy job she loves. But I will put a heavy yoke on her tender neck.” We look for the easy way out, the quick fix to every trial that comes upon us. He will not let this be easy. He desires us to learn and to grow from this. The Israelites when they left Egypt for the promised land- was it easy? No, it was hard, rough terrain, with thirst and hunger at every turn. But at anytime did the Lord forsake them? No, He was there the whole time. Hosea 11:3 “I myself taught Israel how to walk, leading him along by the hand…” Verse 4, “I led Israel along with my ropes of kindness and love, I lifted the yoke from his neck, and I myself stooped to feed him.” Our God is not a Father that is going to hand everything to us on a silver spoon. No, He wants us to strive, to press forward, to go through the trials and the tribulations so that we may see His righteousness, His grace, His mercy, so that we may see HIM!
Proverbs tells us that if we “spare the rod, you spoil the child” (or something to that effect) Who wrote that? God, wrote that. He is not going to spoil us. If He just came swooping in like some superhero every time we were in trouble what would we learn? We would become selfish, prideful, and most likely forget Him. We would begin to take Him for granted. Psalm 19:13 says, “Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; Let them not have dominion over me.” Presumptuous sin is the sin of taking God for granted. That is what we would do if God did not allow us to go through trials and tribulations.
Now, there is a happy ending to this lesson and rod of correction I was given today. (Isn’t there always) Out of His correction come great blessings! Hosea 12:6, “So now, come back to your God. Act with love and justice and always depend on Him.” Instead of looking at what is happening- look to Him. Lean on Him through this. Trust Him in all the trials and fire that is coming. In doing so, we will receive the promise. That promise to me today was that He will take care of us. We will not be lacking, and He will provide. He promised me this, “Then I will heal you of your faithlessness; for My love will know no bounds, for my anger will be gone forever. I will be to Israel (me) like refreshing dew from heaven.” Not only is He going to provide, but He is going to heal me of my unfaithfulness. I will learn to be a good and faithful steward of the things that that Lord has entrusted to me. That is His promise to me today.
Ladies, I do not know what trial or tribulation you are going through right now, or even if you are. But there is a very good and valuable lesson to learn today from God’s word. The Lord knows what it will take to break us and bring us to the place where He can work and where He can bless you.
Hosea 14:9, “O Israel, stay away from idols! I am the One who answers your prayers and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from Me. Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those with discernment listen carefully, the paths of the Lord are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. But in those paths sinners stumble and fall.”
Jude 24-25, “Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into His glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to Him who alone is God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are His before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time. AMEN!