Thursday, March 31, 2016

The 7:14 Prayers

Our pastor introduced a new series at the Wednesday night service last night. We'll be studying the book of Hosea for the next few weeks. 

In case you don't remember, Hosea was one of the minor prophets. (Minor because the book he wrote is short, not because his message was less important.) 

Poor Hosea lived his message in a way most of hope we never do. 

God called him to marry a prostitute. Gomer was a faithless wife who took multiple lovers. Two of their three children were fathered by other men. 

Hosea's job was to love her anyway, just as God continues to love His people who are faithless. His life, in a way, was a living allegory for all to see.

Unless you've had a faithless spouse, one who repeatedly sought other lovers, you can't imagine how painful this must have been to Hosea. Let me tell you. 

It was like a slow and agonizing death of a part of him every single day. 

Whenever Gomer was out of his sight, Hosea was likely afraid she had found yet another lover. When she diverted her eyes while talking to him, he feared she was lying. Every day, there was a question in his mind. Was she faithful? Was she unfaithful? Was she telling the truth? Was she lying again?

When he looked at the children who looked nothing like him, it was a constant reminder. They are not my own. Yet he loved them. He loved Gomer. Despite one betrayal after another.

The knowledge that the people around him knew was terrible, too. Humiliating. 

He probably hated to be seen in public because he knew people would talk. "There goes Hosea. Has a wife but can't keep her." People likely said, "It takes two for trouble like this," as if it was Hosea's failure as a man that had caused her immorality. Because that's what people do.

The talk was terrible, the uncertainty was agonizing, but Hosea had a horrid certainty, too. Deep in his soul. He knew Gomer was unfaithful to him and it broke his heart over and over again.

God wanted His people to understand that Hosea's pain was His own.

At the time of Hosea, Israel was still a wealthy nation, but they were immoral. The leadership was spiritually bankrupt. The people followed false gods. They did whatever they wanted to do. They were still outwardly spiritual, but their hearts were far from God.

The nation of Israel was a lot like our own nation. Teetering on the edge of self-destruction. 

Hosea's job was to show the people how their actions looked to God (the actions of Gomer's harlotry) and how much He wanted them to repent and return to Him. Hosea loved Gomer. He continued to seek her and redeem her.

The teaching ended at 7:14 pm. Our pastor recommended that we begin a season of prayer for our nation based on 2 Chronicles 7:14. 

If My people, who are called by My name, humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 nasb

For the duration of the study of Hosea, 6-8 weeks, the people in our church will be joining together to pray for our nation twice a day (at 7:14 am and 7:14 pm) for one minute each time. 

Two minutes a day do not seem like many prayer minutes to me, but God didn't say He would move based on the length of the prayer. What He requires is for humility, seeking His face, and repentance of sin to accompany our prayers, not lots of minutes.

Our country is in a terrible mess. From our leaders to our churches to our individual hearts, we are far from God, and it frightens me. 

America needs the prayers of God's people more than ever, and, as a nation, we don't even realize it. Corporately, we have removed God from the public eye, just as we have removed Him from our hearts. It's a wonder He continues to bless us.

The hearing, forgiving, and healing God promised Israel had nothing to do with the hearts and prayers of those who were not His people. That same principle holds true today. 

If God's people will humble themselves, seek His face, and pray, He will hear, forgive, and heal.

People of God, we must do what we can. The time for delay is long past. 

Let's begin by humbling our own hearts, turning from our own sin, and seeking God's face. With that job underway, let's also join together, twice a day, one minute at a time, to pray for God to hear, forgive, and heal this great land we love.

Will you join with me? I pray you do, for the future of a nation depends on the prayers of God's people. 
#ifmypeople #Godsword #prayer #linesfromleanna