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12.09.2009

Finding the Messiah, part 2

Good morning dear ones! Are you ready to push up your shirt sleeves and do a little more digging today in order to unearth those golden nuggets that lie beneath the surface of Isaiah 7:14?

Yesterday we read from the book of Ezekiel where God's glory left the temple and His people because of their sins. We saw in chapter eleven of Ezekiel that yes, God's glory was gone but His covenant love and promise still remained. Because He is a covenant keeping, always loving God, He will never go back on His word. God fully intended to return and restore His relationship with His people; today we will see that He did just that.

God illustrates His coming back for His people in the book of Hosea. Grab your shovels and let's start digging.

Hosea is a book full of symbolism. The names in this book, especially in the first few chapters, are very significant to the picture God is painting for us.

In chapter 1 of Hosea we are introduced to the main characters of the book. Hosea, whose name means "salvation"; Gomer, his wife, whose name means "complete vanishing"; Jezreel, their first child, whose name means "God scatters"; Lo-ruhamah, the second child, whose name means "not pitied"; and Lo-Ammi, the third child, whose name means "not my people".

God told Hosea, who was a righteous man, to take for himself Gomer as his wife. Gomer would come to be known as a woman of adultery who would cheat on her husband time and time again. Even though God told Hosea the kind of woman his wife would become, Hosea didn’t waiver in his obedience to the Lord. He took her as his bride and loved her unconditionally.

In Hosea chapter 2, the characters of the book take on a whole new meaning. Hosea represents God’s salvation. Gomer represents the adulterer God’s people had become. And, their children represent God’s wrath on His people because of their sin.

Let's read Hosea 4:4-12.

"4) Yet let no one contend, and let none accuse, for with you is my contention, O priest.
5) You shall stumble by day; the prophet also shall stumble with you by night; and I will destroy your mother.
6) My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.
7) The more they increased, the more they sinned against me; I will change their glory into shame.
8) They feed on the sin of my people; they are greedy for their iniquity.
9) And it shall be like people, like priest; I will punish them for their ways and repay them for their deeds.
10) They shall eat, but not be satisfied; they shall play the whore, but not multiply,because they have forsaken the LORD to cherish
11) whoredom, wine, and new wine, which take away the understanding.
12) My people inquire of a piece of wood, and their walking staff gives them oracles. For a spirit of whoredom has led them astray, and they have left their God to play the whore."
Hosea 4:1-12, ESV


To borrow the language of God, are we not a whore for the things of this world? Don’t we choose material things the world offers over the things of God? This was the very reason God’s glory left the temple. He could no longer stand to see the downward spiral of His people. But, in spite of all that the people were involved in and had become, God still promised that He would one day come back for His people to redeem them just like God tells Hosea to go and redeem his adulteress wife, why?

God is coming back because of His love for us. He is coming back because He made a covenant with His people (Genesis 3:15); He is coming back because that was the plan from the beginning; He is coming back because He is the rightful heir to the Davidic throne; He is coming back because He is our Kinsman Redeemer. God will return for His bride in Christ even if she is unfaithful to Him. Beloved, HE WILL RETURN!

"1) 'When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son.
2) As they called them, so they went from them; they sacrificed to the Baals, and burned incense to carved images.
3) I taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by their arms; but they did not know that I healed them.
4) I drew them with gentle cords, with bands of love, and I was to them as those who take the yoke from their neck. I stooped and fed them.
5) He shall not return to the land of Egypt; but the Assyrian shall be his king, because they refused to repent.
6) And the sword shall slash in his cities, devour his districts, and consume them, because of their own counsels.
7) My people are bent on backsliding from Me. Though they call to the Most High, none at all exalt Him.
8) How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I set you like Zeboiim? My heart churns within Me; My sympathy is stirred.
9) I will not execute the fierceness of My anger; I will not again destroy Ephraim. For I am God, and not man, the Holy One in your midst; and I will not come with terror.
10) They shall walk after the LORD. He will roar like a lion. When He roars, then His sons shall come trembling from the west;
11) They shall come trembling like a bird from Egypt, like a dove from the land of Assyria.
And I will let them dwell in their houses,' says the LORD."
Hosea 11:1-11, NKJV

When God’s presence left the temple that day, no one heard from Him for four hundred years. Can you even imagine? Four hundred years and nothing. No prophetic word from God was spoken or written. The entire nation of Israel had been cut off from God. There was no peace in the hearts of men, only turmoil. There was a constant struggle with sin taking them further and further from where they were supposed to be. I can just imagine the earth groaning in pain and heartache for its Creator. For four hundred years, God was unheard. Even though the voice of God was silent, the hand of God was actively directing the course of events during this time.

Now for the golden nugget that lead us to do all this digging. God made a promise to His people and He was about to come through for them.

"14) Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel."
Isaiah 7:14, NKJV


Did God's sign appear? Oh, yes...it absolutely did!!

"1) And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered.
2) This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria.
3) So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.
4) Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David,
5) to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child.
6) So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered.
7) And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn."
Luke 2:1-7, NKJV

"22) So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was
spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying:
23) 'Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,' which is translated, 'God with us.' "
Matthew 1:22-23, NKJV

God came through on the promise He made to His people, because He is a covenant keeping God. God will always do what He says He will do. This, Beloved, is the very essence of the Christmas season; God fulfilling His promise to us through the birth of His Son.

All throughout the Old Testament, we’ve seen God protecting and preparing the way for His covenant to be fulfilled. He has shouted out to us, “Christmas is coming! My Promised One is coming to you! The One who will fill that void of something you are looking for. He is coming!”

Beloved, God came back. He took on flesh in order to dwell among His people. He came this time, not only to be God with us, but to be God in us. Immanuel, God with us, came to make a New Covenant with His people. Not a covenant that was bound by the law or the sacrificial system of the Old Testament, but a covenant that would be written on the hearts and minds of His people.

The day came and the promise God made in Jeremiah 31:31-34 was kept. And, because of Rahab, a Gentile prostitute, and Ruth, a Moabite woman redeemed by her kinsman redeemer, were grafted into the royal bloodline of the Davidic dynasty, we can enjoy the benefits of the New Covenant. God can be God in us.

Throughout all of time, God has been with His people, whether actively working or silently preparing a way, God has been there. When Adam sinned, God was with him promising him a Seed. When Satan tried to thwart God’s plan by killing Abel, God provided Seth from whom His Seed would come. When the flood waters overcame the earth, God was with Noah in the ark protecting the righteous.

God was with Moses and His chosen people through the wilderness wanderings providing for them every step of the way. God was with Rahab and Ruth, grafting them into the Davidic line from which an eternal Davidic King would come and rule. God’s presence left His people, but returned to fulfill a promise He made long ago. God returned in the body of an infant, but He had the heart of a warrior. A warrior who had come to redeem His people from the bondage of sin.

He is Immanuel; God with us, God in us, God for us. HE IS!!


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2 Lovely Thoughts Shared:

Victoria said...

This is so awesome! The name meanings just floored me! I'm so glad you're in this with me, I learn so much from you. Be sure to link this to yesterday's thingy too! =]

Linda said...

I love reading your writings, they inspire me every morning!

Love ya,
Linda