Links Daily Devotional

Where God Gets Our Attention

“Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her.” (Hosea 2:14, NIV 1984)

Sometimes the hardest shot in golf to pull off is the one right in front of you, the one with no trouble and every sort of option. I cannot tell you the number of times I have made a mess of this shot because in the moment I start my swing, I decide to try something different than what I originally thought to play. Won’t they both work?

But when I find the ball in wretched trouble—thanks to the waywardness of my shot and the consequences of the course—decisions can become much easier. There is often only one play available, one way out of the thicket.

We can say surely of God that he knows the value of trouble. He uses it to hone our attention.

In the Old Testament, God often assigned his prophets demanding tasks for the sake of showing them fully the meaning of his words to them. In the cased of Hosea, the prophet was charged to marry an unfaithful woman, providing for him a picture of the way God’s people so frequently wander away from him in their idolatrous sins.

Then God described to and through Hosea the process he would use to regain the attention of the people.

First, God the provider would stop providing. He would take away the comfortable living afforded the people through the abundance of their crops and the success of their markets. Their celebrations and feasts would cease to exist, for pleasures go first when profit disappears.

Then, in their desperation, the people of God would go searching for sustenance wherever they could find it. They would go, even, to the desert. And there, where their senses would be heightened by depravation, God would whisper their name. “Friends,” he will say, “I am your hope. I am your husband. I am the one who is loving and compassionate” (see Hosea 2:14-23). These are the tender words of the God who wants his people’s hearts.

Long after Hosea’s words were codified, God whispered most tenderly through his Son, Jesus. He was—as he so often must be—calling to a people who had lost their spiritual way. They were oppressed and defeated, with no hope other than Messiah.

And us, are we any better? We do not want to be those who need the hunger of the desert. And yet, if your hearts go astray, if we turn our gaze to worthless attractions, God will take us to that place where his voice becomes singularly recognizable. He wants to love us—and wants our love—not in the way of a forceful lover, but in the way of one who coaxes us with every wooing word. And he will set us up to hear those words.

Jeff Hopper

May 15, 2012

Copyright © 2012 Links Players International

The Links Daily Devotional appears Monday through Friday at www.linksplayers.com.