As long as we go about doing as we please, ignoring God’s will and direction, we will be unable to return to our God.
In Unfaithful, Promiscuous, Prostitute, I began to share how the prophetic message delivered by Hosea to the people of Israel applies to us today. It stands out among the many warnings given to God’s people because of the method in which Hosea was commanded to present it. He was told to marry a prostitute, or as stated in the English Standard Version, a whore.
Gomer, the prostitute wife, symbolized Israel’s unfaithfulness in how they had “sold themselves” for earthly pleasure and reward. Being what she was, it should come as no surprise that after marrying Hosea, she was unfaithful to him and returned to whoredom in the same way the history of the Israelites shows us they repeatedly turned away from God, doing as they pleased.
Selfishly Doing as They Pleased | Doing as We Please
The selfish attitude of focusing and acting upon personal desires rather than God’s Will repeatedly brought judgment and punishment upon the Israelites. It created a chasm between them and God.
Their deeds do not permit them to return to their God. For the spirit of whoredom is within them, and they know not the LORD.
The pride of Israel testifies to his face; Israel and Ephraim shall stumble in his guilt;
Judah also shall stumble with them. With their flocks and herds they shall go to seek the LORD, but they will not find him; he has withdrawn from them.
Hosea 5:4-6. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016. Print.
Their selfish doings testified that they did not in truth know the Lord, and because of it, He withdrew from them. We should note that in the original language the Hebrew word translated as “know” in verse four carries the connotation of respect as well as knowledge.
The Israelites and Judeans didn’t just reject a knowledge of God; they disrespected him by doing as they pleased.
When we ignore God | Doing as We Please
Now, I am not an Israelite or a Judean, and you may not be either, but this message still bears import to us.
It does not matter what we say if our deeds do not line up alongside our words. God does not want our lip-service. He wants our total active commitment and submission to His Lordship over our lives. As long as we go about doing as we please, ignoring God’s will and direction, we will be unable to return to our God. In doing so, we cannot truthfully claim to know Him, and we remain in the dark.
Addressing the Problem | Doing as We Please
Jerry Bridges in the opening chapter of The Pursuit of Holiness shares three problems that interfere with our right relationship with God, or our “pursuit of holiness”:
Our first problem is that our attitude toward sin is more self-centered than God-centered. […]
Our second problem is that we have misunderstood “living by faith” (Galatians 2:20) to mean that no effort at holiness is required on our part. In fact, sometimes we have even suggested that any effort on our part is “of the flesh.” […]
Our third problem is that we do not take some sin seriously. We have mentally categorized sins into that which is unacceptable and that which may be tolerated a bit.
Bridges, Jerry. The Pursuit of Holiness. Colorado Springs: Navpress, 1978. Print.
- Our focus is on self instead of God — What we want, what we enjoy, etc.
- By our actions, if not our words, we wrongly and flippantly cling to the mentality that we are not perfect so we shouldn’t try to be. After all, God will forgive us anyway.
- We do not take sin seriously.
The very thought of the third one should stop us in our tracks if the first two do not. There isn’t any sin that is not serious. All sin, whether we think it little or big, breaches our relationship with God.
but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.
Isaiah 59:2.The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016. Print.
It’s not enough to say I’m sorry when we fail Him. We must repent of our wrongdoing. That means we are to seek His forgiveness, the reparations available to us by His grace, and turn away from our misdeeds with the sincere commitment to not repeat them.If we willfully continue our selfish doings and misdeeds, we are unable to know and respect God.Click To Tweet
What Are We Going to Do Now?
Are our actions interfering with our relationship with God? Do our words line up with our deeds? Is there some aspect of our living that is keeping us from returning to the fullness of our relationship with Him? Is it preventing us from finding God when we seek Him? Has it caused Him to withdraw from us?
Then, it is time to correct our paths and submit to His correction. It is time to repent and follow Him. It is time for us to Be Holy in all we do:
Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
1 Peter 1:13-16. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016. Print.