Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Allure of God

There are certain parts of the Bible I just don't understand. I've been reading the past few months in the book of Hosea. It is the twisted story of a prophet of God named Hosea who God tells to marry a prostitute (not exactly the kind of girl the parents want you to bring home). She's unfaithful to him, she has several children, most of them probably not Hosea's (some real Jerry Springer material). The whole time, God is using this real life drama as an illustration of his tumultuous relationship with Israel.

What surprises me the most in Hosea is the picture of God you see. Now, remember, the genre of Hosea is prophecy. Imagery is vivid, words are used to paint powerful pictures. And it portrays a side of God not usually seen. It's an up and down story of a God who is being wrenched back and forth (like Hosea) by his love for a women (Israel) who is unfaithful. It can be kind of sappy. And at times, God seems more like a junior high boy than I'm comfortable with.

It is a powerful story of God's unbridled love for... us (let's not get into the whole debate of whether or not we/Christians are the Israel of today). In the middle of it, there are two of the most powerful verses in the entire Bible - Hosea 2:14-15.

"Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope."

This is powerful. God doesn't just sit by and wait for his lover, Israel, to return to Him... He makes the first move! He allures her! God, goes after Israel. It says that He will "speak tenderly" to her. God so desires Israel that He woos her! He acts in ways that entice and draw her back to Him!

Now, the implications for this are huge! God acts in ways that entice and draw creation back to Him. This means that God woos me. As I wander and drift, not always on target in my relationship with God through Christ, God doesn't give up on me. Instead, He allures me! This means that God woos (sorry, I can't find a more manly word) those who are far from Him. Right now, God is speaking tenderly to the people we see every day around us. God is wooing and drawing them, tenderly and gently begging them to return to their rightful place as sons and daughters of the King.

Honestly, if I were Hosea/God, I'm done! No more love, no more mercy, no more effort on my part. You/Gomer/Israel have ripped my heart out for the last time! I'm through! But not God. God is ever full of love and mercy and a passion to pursue us.

I love to see then how God is using us, in Macomb, to allure people. Even crazy things like namethatchurh.com God is using to draw people to Him and make them aware of what He's doing around them. I believe God is helping Macomb to see and sense Him in a million different ways and using us to do some of it too.

I tell you what, I am absolutely captivated with a God who is this amazing! I am gripped by this kind of creative love and I am prayig that others all around me can sense the allure of God as well.