Despite all sin, suffering, and the sorrowful state of the world, Jesus was driven by the joy of completed mission (Hebrews 12:2). Despite harassed and helpless sheep, and a desperate shortage of laborers, Jesus promised a plentiful harvest full of the redeemed from every tribe, tongue, and nation (Revelation 5:9). This is the joy Jesus saw. He is not just God, but a God over his people — many of whom are largely unknown and do not know him yet.
If Jesus was joyous against all odds, so shall we his people. Let us fix our eyes on him and pray, give, go, and send in joyful anticipation that there is no greater joy than to have throngs of largely unknown peoples known by our heavenly Father. As John states, there is “no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth” (3 John 4). Let us walk in such a way that our heavenly joyfulness will one day include today’s unknown and unreached peoples.
Robert Savage said, “The command has been to ʻgo’, but we have stayed — in body, gifts, prayer, and influence. He has asked us to be witnesses unto the uttermost parts of the earth. But 99% of Christians have kept puttering around in the homeland.” May we not be added to them, but may we boldly risk for the sake of the nations. We can rest assured that no one will ever enter heaven saying, “I wish I had done less for the nations.”
Andrew Knight, Table Rock Church, Boise, ID
These days we are astute at healing many diseases that formerly took lives or left lifelong scars. But issues of the heart remain largely out of reach to modern medicine. Of course, we do prescribe countless pills for whatever we believe ails us on the inside, and many of these ailments are legitimate. But how do you heal harlotry? What prescription can remedy whoredom?
The answer the book of Hosea will provide today has caught on and been portrayed in a handful of movies and storylines. Richard Gere and Julia Roberts discovered it in Pretty Woman, and Mel Gibson found it in Payback when he says at the end, “If she’d stop hookin’, I’d stop shootin’ people.” The remedy for hookin’ harlotry is love. Love is the universal balm that can soothe the pain of the human heart. It transforms, revitalizes, refreshes, and restores. It changes people. And it can heal promiscuous patterns of infidelity.
But let’s not oversimplify. As Hosea will tell us, rededicated love requires certain words. These words must be powerful, although they can be simple. They must be sincere, even if brief. They have to be reinforced with clear action, even if the first tries are faltering and clumsy. Love, words, and action--the Bible captures the breadth of these combined elements with words like faith, confession, repentance, and obedience.
Hosea has taught us that love heals, and God is a fire hydrant of love. But love achieves healing with words and action, with faith, repentance, confession, and obedience. And with a beautiful song, the book of Hosea comes to an end, and the Great Healer promises a spectacular healing. He heals harlots, and He’ll heal you.