When in the Dark, Look for the One with the Flashlight
“Who is wise? He will realize these things. Who is discerning? He will understand them. The ways the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them” —Hosea 14:9, NIV.
According to the introduction to the Book of Hosea that I have in my Bible Hosea has been referred to as “the prophet with the broken heart.” He ministered in the Northern Kingdom of Israel just before it was taken into captivity by Assyria. The land was materially prosperous but spiritually bankrupt.
Hosea is most famous for his very visual and personal illustration of God’s message. At the Lord’s command he married Gomer, a prostitute. She was faithless and couldn’t resist returning to her former life. But Hosea, instead of repudiating or divorcing her, went after his wayward wife and brought her back.
Israel was guilty of abandoning her God and prostituting herself with the gods of the neighbouring nations. She threw God’s love for her back in His face. Though He had to punish her by using Assyria as His “wooden paddle,” the living drama of Gomer’s story was Israel’s assurance that He would woo her back and restore the relationship.
This verse from Chapter 14 is the last word from Hosea. It completes the message of restoration, of return, of safety, of peace, of the blessing that will come when God brings His people back into relationship with Him.
If you’re smart, writes the prophet, you will understand. Even though there are dark days ahead and the future will seem shrouded in uncertainty and difficulty, you will remember that the one who walks with God will never lose his way and will arrive at his destination without injury.
That message hasn’t changed for us to day. We live in a materially prosperous society, but spiritually…? Hosea assures us that those who walk with Him will not be deceived, or abandoned. God will see them through. The wise and discerning will not be dismayed by the darkness, but will be even more driven to getting their eyes continually fixed on the One who knows the path.