Hosea 7-10; Matthew 18

Hosea 10:11-12 But I will come over her fair neck with a yoke; I will harness Ephraim, Judah will plow, Jacob will harrow for himself. Sow with a view to righteousness, Reap in accordance with kindness; Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to seek the Lord until He comes to rain righteousness on you.

Matthew 18:2-4 He called a child to him, stood him among them, and said, “Yes! I tell you that unless you change and become like little children, you won’t even enter the Kingdom of Heaven! So the greatest in the Kingdom is whoever makes himself as humble as this child.

How do you seek God? I know that I sometimes am so overcome with desire to see His face and receive His mercy that I have to be on my knees or bowed low as if my shoulders bear a heavy weight. There are other times when the excitement of success or the surprising blessing causes me to bubble over with chatter about my good fortune; even remembering to give testimony to God’s provision and active participation in my life. As life slants and joy slips into sadness, I find that the act of surrendering brings me closest to my God.

What always disturbs me, though, are the times when I realize that God seems far from me. These times are brought on when I fail to slow down long enough to talk and to listen to the Lord God.  Like a good friend I neglected to call or write for extended periods of time, I expect to pick up where we left off once I make the effort to connect.  Or even more concerning is the arrogance in my behavior that expects God to wait around for me to look to Him as if He has nothing better to do than look longingly towards me. When I read that He will throw His harness over this willy-nilly neck stretched out in the chase for an unknown prize, I am humbled once again.  Like the little child that Jesus Christ put before the Disciples, I feel myself returning to the early years of trusting Father God in simple and steadfast terms.

The result of seeking the Lord is that His righteousness is poured down like rain. What I deserved from all the arguments, criticisms, and discontent that I planted was to reap a harvest of judgment, depression, and bitter isolation. Instead, I receive the grace and mercy of a God who forgives seventy times seven times the bad habits I seem determined to repeat.

So if I am reticent to seek God or if the cares of this world choke out His word for a brief moment, I can rely on His hands to fashion a tool that can move me in the direction of His will. The metaphorical yoke…the burden that is too heavy to carry alone…the image of a little child full of faith with uninhibited devotion – I welcome anything that has the power to bring me face to face with the lover of my soul!

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