Do Not Be Seduced Away
When the Lord began to speak by Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea: “Go, take yourself a wife of harlotry and children of harlotry, for the land has committed great harlotry by departing from the Lord. (Hosea 1:2)
In recovery, we have to acknowledge and take responsibility for the things we have done. Someone else may have started you on the road that led you astray (and they will be held accountable for that), but there comes a point where you must take responsibility for your actions. There’s a point where you stopped listening to reason and decided to go off on your own and do your own thing. There’s a point where you turned away from what was right and made the choice to do what was wrong. There’s a point where your eyes wandered to something that enticed you down a path you knew was wrong and you lost self-control, allowing your emotions to take over. Recognizing your part in your situation will help you in your recovery. You must be aware, however, that even when things are going good, you can still fall into temptation because the enemy doesn’t stop seeking ways to tempt you back to your old lifestyle. Once you break free from your old ways, you become even more of a target, so you must always be alert to his schemes and wear the full armor of God so you can take a stand against those schemes (Ephesians 6:11).
To give a quick background of Hosea, whose name means “Salvation”, Hosea is ministering to the northern kingdom of Israel. Outwardly, the nation is enjoying a time of prosperity and growth; but inwardly, moral corruption and spiritual adultery saturates the people. We see in Hosea chapter 1, that Hosea was instructed by God to marry a promiscuous woman named Gomer and have children with her, to represent the unfaithfulness of God’s people to the Him. The names of Hosea’s children sent messages of judgment on the children of Israel. By living in a marriage where his wife commits adultery, Hosea can understand the message he is to relay to the people regarding their spiritual adultery against God because it hits close to home. He is living it. He knows the emotional feelings that go along with it…hurt, pain, betrayal, frustration, anger, heartache, etc. However, he can also understand love and forgiveness, which is what God has given to us. By obeying God and marrying this woman, Hosea can present God’s message more accurately because He is living it physically.
The book of Hosea is about the cycle of repentance, redemption and restoration. Though God brings judgment on sin, He will always bring His people back to Himself. God’s love for Israel is immense even though they are more interested in themselves than God’s direction for their lives. However, through all of this, God goes after them and brings them back to Himself in the midst of their harlotry, idolatry and injustice. Why? Because He loves them and this is a profound example of true love.
How often have we done this with God? He rescues us, cleans us up, loves us and provides for us, but in time our eyes wander like an unfaithful spouse and we go after something or someone that only pleases our flesh for a time. God woos us back and we are good for a while, but head right back into unfaithfulness by running into the arms of idolatry once again. It’s a pretty repetitive process and when we continue with it, we will be held accountable and judged for our sin. There’s an old saying “you don’t know what you had until you’ve lost it”. We truly do not always understand nor appreciate the relationship we have with God until it’s temporarily gone. I say temporarily because God doesn’t go far away and always seeks to resume the relationship we had with Him. In His love for us, He provides for us and takes care of us and like Israel, we enjoy that prosperity and growth. Then something seduces us and our eyes begin to wander until we are entrapped in a relationship with something else. Many times we think of harlotry and adultery consisting of two people. Although that is true, spiritual harlotry and adultery has to do with putting other things before God and giving them all of our attention. Some examples are money, material possessions, addictions (drugs, alcohol, food, etc), technology, work, other people and family, entertainment, sports, etc. There are many things that can lure us away and steal the time that we used to spend with God. It fills us for a while, but eventually we begin to feel unfulfilled again and can easily continue searching for that something to meet the need. We may not even realize it’s God that we need until He points it out to us. This is why it’s important to fellowship with those who remain close to God and are firm in their walk as they will be able to give you sound advice from the Word of God.
An interesting note worth pointing out is in Hosea 4:12 which states the following:
My people ask counsel from their wooden idols, and their staff informs them. For the spirit of harlotry has caused them to stray, and they have played the harlot against their God.
Where do you seek your counsel from? You may not go to a wooden idol but how often have you gone to other people who may not be firm in their walk or to the internet before you even think of asking God what to do and seeking His Word for help. Talking to other people is not wrong, as Proverbs 27:17 states, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another”, but we should always seek God first for answers as He has 20/20 vision and can see more clearly ahead than we can. We are a generation of people who want to receive our answers quickly. In our time, we have answers right at our finger tips, but is it the right answer? Is it what God truly wants for us to help us or is it what other people want, yourself included? How many times have you asked someone for their advice and they gave an answer that may have been much easier to do than what you knew you should have done? Sometimes we want to hear from those who agree with us instead of those who may tell us the truth which may be hard to hear. Although the Bible tells us in Proverbs 15:22 that plans are established in a multitude of counselors, we must pay attention to the example set by Jesus, David and many others by seeking God’s counsel first. God can see much further ahead than we can and knows which direction for us to take that will help us get to where we need to be. Any other direction may lead us further off the path and away from God.
We must remember that when things are going well and we are feeling good, this is a time when the enemy will try to distract us and subtly lure us into another direction. It may be something so simple as enticing us away with the things we enjoy, causing us to spend more time doing what we like and spending less time with God. Our lives may become busier causing us to mismanage our time so there is no time left for God. 1 Peter 5:8 states the following:
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
To be sober and vigilant means we must be self-controlled and awake, alert and watchful. The devil will do what he can to steal our time away from God because he knows what will happen to us if we fall away. He is also seeking ways to become “like God” even if it’s in a deceptive way. Not many would outrightly worship the devil, but if he can steal worship from God through other means as mentioned above, then he will do it. He will lure us away from God through our flesh causing us to worship the things that our flesh desires, things we feel we can’t live without. Things of the world. When this happens, we then are committing spiritual adultery because we have replaced our love for God with something else.
We must not lose sight of what God has done for us and allow ourselves to be lured or seduced away. We must be even more sober minded and vigilant when times are good as well as when times are tough, because the enemy will use every opportunity to seduce us away through “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, which is of the world”. (1 John 2:16).
Take a minute to think about where you are in your recovery. Ask God to show you if there are any holes in your armor and if there is an area of your life where have become weak and are giving more of your time to which is taking time from God. Then ask Him to help you to strengthen those areas so you won’t be lured away from Him. Next, make a decision to work on your relationship with God and to be more committed to Him. Seek Him on a daily basis and be determined to strengthen the most important relationship you will ever have.