Patience is not one of my virtues.
While living in Hawaii, many years ago now, I learned to wait a bit more patiently. You see, everything runs on “island time” there. People are good-naturedly slow and unrushed. This attitude took some getting used to, but by the end of our two years there I had embraced the laid back culture of those beautiful islands.
Coming back to the mainland, however, I assumed the hurried pace of Southern California! Yep, I had places to go and my laid back style did not work in the vicinity around Los Angeles!
Sometimes we like to rush the work of the Lord. We want relationships to be healed and mended overnight or perhaps a situation or circumstance to change instantaneously. Pain and suffering must be eliminated. After all, pain–well, it hurts and suffering is not at all pleasant.
Now don’t get me wrong, God can and does mend relationships and change circumstances quickly, as He desires, but God is so much more concerned with our refining than our comfort. In marriage, for instance, God uses two individuals to come together as one flesh. Now that one flesh relationship takes work. It is uncomfortable and stretching to allow one’s individuality to take second place to the other person and the marriage relationship.
The book of Hosea is challenging me lately. The story of God’s relentless love for His bride (Israel), even in the face of their continued and repeated unfaithfulness to Him, is humbling and overwhelming. By chapter 9 of the book, the judgments for Israel’s unfaithfulness and refusal to turn back in fidelity to their God are listed. Chapter 10 continues the pronouncement of judgment. In verse 12 of chapter 10 the Lord God commands Israel to return to Him.
Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until he comes and showers righteousness on you. Hosea 10:12 (NIV)
The people of God are told to do three things.
First, they are to sow for themselves righteousness.
They are to plant righteousness.
The interesting thing in verse 12 is that planting righteousness produces something other than righteousness. Yep, it produces unfailing LOVE.
I want to be a LOVE producer. In order to be a love producer, I must sow righteousness.
Secondly, they are called to break up their unplowed ground. Sounds a lot like work doesn’t it? They are told to break up the soil of their lives.
Sometimes we need to turn over the soil of our lives to expose the bad stuff and cultivate the good stuff.
Thirdly, the Lord proclaims that they [His people] are to seek the Lord until He comes.
This speaks to me of perseverance. Maybe you need to hear this today. We must continue to seek the Lord until He comes. Some situations require extra effort. Work. The sweat of plowing and the breaking up of the soil of our hearts.
BUT HOLD ON for the end of the verse is powerful —
UNTIL HE COMES.
We do the WORK UNTIL HE COMES.
We sow righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love (which comes from the Father in Heaven), break up the unplowed ground and seek Him. Until He comes and showers righteousness on you.
Are you working while you are waiting? Are you reaping the fruit of unfailing love and churning up the soil of your heart as you seek Him?
He is coming! He is near to the broken-hearted.
Look to Him. Seek Him and you will find Him. Work with hope. Whatever the situation.
Until He Comes!