AUSTRALIAN BIBLE CHURCH
Presbyterian Church following the Bible without Qualification
and the Lord Jesus Christ without Compromise by Faith,
in agreement with the thrust of the PC of Australia Constitution 1901
September 18, 2011
INVITATIONS AND THE ROYAL ONE - Hosea 14
I. The Preparation
a) Positive 14:1-2
INVITATIONS AND THE ROYAL ONE - Hosea 14
An invitation has come. Is it exciting or droll ? Distinctive! What spiritual dress do you have, and in what is your spirit clothed as you prepare to meet this invitation ?
World-Weary Weediness and Spiritual Seediness
In the world of Le Carré, sophisticated henchmen of intelligence in the spy-world often find their principles and practices more or less abhorrent or meaningless or uninspiring, or tradeable, in a general ennui.
At times there appears a suggestion that perhaps it is not at all worth it, a contrived, even specious, almost self-propelled situation which we should as a race outgrow. There is perhaps the hint that there is some overall new view, beyond the neighbourhood fence issues of USA and USSR or such, where there is a liberty from liberation, which will enable the ultimate sophisticates to get beyond the growing pains of interested follies and wasteful liaisons, often multiple, vexed and subtly deceitful. They perhaps they just might do this, and BE!
There is however no such broader view to tap for this world. There is NOTHING BEYOND, IN IT, this littleness of mundane assumptions of lordliness (cf. Matthew 20:25-28), written into the corrupted hearts of the nations; and the more they intone to the contrary in speech asylums like the UN, the more their specious actions and specific goals merely mock them. They appear as with Nasser and Biafra, with surging scenes of horror and scourging furores about the little shrimp of land left from the broken decisions of the League of Nations, out of Palestine, for Israel, as if oil would grease their slipping consciences, or make up to their raging militant hearts, some kind of peace. More and more, they echo, for the multiplied millions of Islam, the shrouding and vast territories of its control or dominance. What Israel needs is LESS, and no singular capital, even if they win it amid many national insurgents, tongues alight for its destruction! It is indeed a broken ideal, and a captive calamity, a dream that does not awaken to the light of common day (cf. It Bubbles... Ch. 11, Mystery of Iniquity).
Where is the new hinterland of reasonableness ? Where is the unity vision, seeking in vain since Babel, to realise itself ?
Patriotism grows weak as national vision rots. What is BEYOND the despising of patriotism which once included zest for liberty and hatred of tyranny, it is not in this world found outside the sheer littleness of heart in the big-headed aspirations of man. Sinner, he is inveterate, hypocrite, wanton destroyer, ill-considered morass of desire, as in his fallen state man runs about like a rabbit in a cage; often indeed admiring the state of the beautiful grass outside it, but never considering escape. He merely wants a bigger cage, and tends to persecute what thinks otherwise. IF you are determined to forget your Maker, whether in atheism or agnosticism or idle sects or some semi-dreamer, ill-thought out wantonry of devious philosophy, or drifting thought, then there is no escape. What remains except in dream that does not transpire, or heady affluence which waits to go, that is available!
The form of this world is passing away! said Paul (I Cor. 7:31). It lies in the nature of the case. Forget your basis and you are baseless, and trying to find a base outside the actual one HAS to be a work of vanity, confusion with all the impediments of established philosophy to help you remain confused (cf. SMR Ch. 3 with Ch. 5).
There is then for us a message to be found, to the point, in Hosea as he is speaking not only to Israel, in its final Chapter 14, but to all degraded by trusting in merely peripheral dynamics, unworkable patterns of idols, their odiousi names often suppressed because of dignity, of the need for illusion to prevent the pangs and pains of reality, amid naturalistic mis-foci, opportunistic nostrums. RETURN to the Lord is Hosea's plea. Cause and effect enter in.
Let us listen to him, since here lies the answer to the sophisticated, disheartened, vaguely hoping world, on the one hand, and the zealotry of the wildly torrential world on the other, where reason has abdicated, truth is fallen and body bags are a method of thought (cf. Revelation 6 and its mania for death, making virtue in violence, and Isaiah 59).
INVITATIONS AND THE ROYAL ONE with Hosea 14
I. The Preparation
a) Positive 14:1-2
What spiritual dress do you have, and in what is your spirit clothed as you prepare to meet this invitation ?
You must realise the sin which separated,
express you realisation, be vocal, neither merely shame-faced nor brazen, but acknowledge your transgressions,
return to your heart's Creator,
appeal to Him to remove rubbish,
ask Him to receive you just as you now receive Him.
It is God who is inviting you. Take heart and go.
b) Negative 14:3
Dismiss apparent options - as Israel had to dismiss Assyria as a buttress, which in fact abused it: alas even Judah dabbled in this in the spurious King Ahaz (II Chronicles 28:16-21). How fearful to hear of a large group of Anglicans, willing even to consider returning to the massive idolatries of Romanism (cf. The Great Divide Ch. 5), amid scandalous accusations of that immorality sustained in priesthood circumstances, which so readily accompanies the elevation of what is not God, to the level of things uniquely His own! (Romans 1:17ff.).
In fact there is NO OTHER NAME UNDER HEAVEN GIVEN AMONG MEN, by which they may be saved but that of Jesus Christ - not Mary or pope or bread in sacrifice instead of in remembrance. Sects multiply with just the same fatal fault - this or that person has come to tell us about it, with no authority but vanity, no place but distortion and no basis but self-belief! What is the use of someone's self-belief when it is remedy, redemption and realisation that you need. Can man save you ? or bits of stuff called this or that ? or Assyria ? or the UN for that matter, or unsubstantiated vision of any other kind! Decidedly not.
SO with Israel, following the word of God to it, declare roundly, "Assyria will not save us," no, neither naturalism, nor proliferation of gods nor sects nor centres of non-God-appointed authority. These will not save you. Don't put your trust in what you or someone other than God can do ("we will not ride on horses, nor will we say any more to the work of our hands, 'You are our gods...' ").
It is not strength but spirituality which matters, nor is it socialistic spree spending, but actual care, not in pink bats or with batty pinks, putting God securely to one side (cf. SMR Ch. 10) as money is sprayed like the odour of the skunk, leaving an infamous trail. It is not prancing thought but reality which counts, not urges and surges in political power, but movements of the heart which start with the God who created us who created the problems, and THEN in His wisdom seek answers, BY applying the only answer that is primary. Omit the heart and the hands are relatively useless. Give God a back seat and you are sure to find a front one for folly!
2. The Processing
What more then is this message from Hosea to tell us ? Returning to the Lord being clear and with preparations in order, we come to what matters most. GOD is willing to act: call on HIS NAME (not that of an idol or idol-god-combination), and find in Him the wisdom and the strength and the power and the purity of purpose. It is HE who acts.
"I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely, for My anger has turned away from him."
Do you even KNOW the Lord, the singing in your heart, the joy in your life, despite suffering, the grand Person of Jesus Christ by His Spirit dwelling in you, interpreting life to you, granting to you eternal life, remembering your sins no more, giving you conviction, confidence and direction according to His word ? (John 17:1-3).
Backsliding in the current occupational pre-occupation, appears spiritually, in Britain, Europe, USA, Australia, where having tasted liberty based on the Lord who KNOWS, and TELLS us the way of life, such nations are finding funding problems in being free FROM God instead of free FOR God; or else massive and compromising debt. Atheists swell like an ill-kept wound, spiritual squalor surging into the crack like crickets into an untended house. You find ill-thought out things flung at you. Instead of an election determining a major issue, we find in Australia an undertaking to do one major action, turned through the use of another Party and independents to enable a NON-mandate, a failed commission to do the opposite. This was achieved in a way that would appear devious, delinquent morally, undemocratic and an act of usurpation. Where is wisdom here ?
It is necessary to have all options considered, apart from personal invective, and the tone and criticism made stringent on the POINTS AT ISSUE, the strong and weak points in every approach, the degree of guess-work acknowledged, the failures and even counter-productive or illusory aspects noted, these given factual and careful answers if possible, and all made clear so that voting can occur by a people who if they want to gamble, or be careless, can be. At least, they could make that decision after due effort in a balanced model. Both sides need to demonstrate thought in action, wisdom at work, care in diligence and a shaping worthy of a nation that spends time, and not just money, where it is needed, to present the issues with a minimum or preferably a lack of cover-up!
This nation has been bent on backsliding for long now, and it is always surprising that its stanchions of democracy, decency, self-control, care for the weak, concern for realities, freedom of speech and education about facts rather than fancies, have lasted in so much for so long. The last-named however, tutelage, now has systematic prejudice heavily ideologically entrenched, the naturalistic fallacy with its spree into organic evolution, putting merely fanciful ideas into the legally enforced program.
What has at least ameliorated some of the increasing failure is the secretly working endorsement of truth from relatively few Bible-believing churches, such as are left, and urgent prayer, which helps renew the failing face of the land before its cut-off, as with ancient Israel, becomes inevitable.
The same watchful awareness is needed to be put back into currently sky-jacked education, which is becoming increasingly a ground of absurdity and intolerance, as former P.M. Howard was beginning to show before he was dismissed from his lively stay at the Lodge. It is not that he had all the answers by any means; but a certain balance and poise and watchfulness is apparent, in contrast to the current eruptions and evocations and battering personal words, bulging in a politics that fails.
Truth needs to be valued, not considered for nuisance value, and the current investigation into news and media is well able to spill over even yet again, into a determined witch-hunt, to ensure that even more than now, the presentation of truth in God's name with eminent reason, is made as exclusively abhorrent as so often in the schools of this nation, are the eminently clear realities of His creation (cf. The gods of naturalism have no go!). Slant is seeking to call itself societal security; and the days before more outrages follow up a detestable surge of tyranny against truth, may be few.
Backsliding is spiritually based as many churches have forsaken the Bible, contradicted it, made of Christ a draw-card for social and political agendas. In contrast to all this, it is the Lord Himself who is the answer, as with Israel in its revivals under Hezekiah and his like: "I will heal their backsliding. I will love them freely."
Divine anger is turned away when repentance and a humble and a contrite heart are to be found, and return to the Lord (Isaiah 66:1-2). What the nation is increasingly failing to do, however, individuals need more and more to do.
3. The Results 14:5-9
What then, when repentance, redemption and return comes to the land ? What then is renewed man to find ? God will be like the dew. Quietly, unharmfully, He will bring refreshing (cf. Acts 3:19ff.) where human hands cannot find. "He shall grow like the lily." A certain naturalness of inward beauty of heart (II Cor. 3:18) becomes normal, as grounded in Christ, the most natural seeming people become sculpted in grace, adorned in the Lord with His peace of heart and presence. Their grounding in Him will become increasingly obvious, their roots lengthening as all kinds of spiritual goodness are accessed and brought into the holy home of His presence (John 14:21-23).
"His branches shall spread;
His beauty shall be like an olive tree,
and his fragrance like Lebanon."
Results of the outpouring of divine grace begin to flow like a pervading perfume, where the eye does not trace or the foot tread (cf. II Corinthians 2:14-15); and one contemporary means for this is the Internet! and another, works where the right hand does not know what the left is doing. It reminds one of John 7:37-38, where the Spirit of God was to come, not speaking on His own authority, but overflowing the heart, in Christ's name. Where do the impelling waters go ? As in Ezekiel 47, it is into many channels which tend to make more for the fishers to find, as they angle on the banks.
Such a transformation, which can come with increasing revival and return to the Lord in many a fallen church (cf. II Peter 2:1ff.), such decomposition being part of the disgrace of our race as the end approaches (II Timothy 3), will bring some back in revival that is real, as when a coma patient awakes. This, it is not in mere emotion, far less in anti-biblical profusions of social torment and psychology, but it comes in return to the truth which needs no parade and is inhabited by no allure of this world (James 4:4). To seek to be hated by God is not so very hard: LOVE this world! and you are well on the way, as the apostle points out.
Indeed, as steps of true return and revival appear, those concerned, by the tens or hundreds or thousands, will despise the idols which misled them, the combinations of worldliness and godlessness, cultural norms and forms at which they fell in virtual worship, and say, What have I to do with such things! Many then believing in the power of God will find the rational reality and spiritual power of His work transcends any mere kick from the mule of milling culture, which in itself, is likely to hurt as well as direct!
It is then, returned with grace to the Lord, that the heart can say,
"I am like a green cypress tree,"
and the Lord returning His word to the heart declares,
"Your fruit is found from Me,"
as in John 15. There is release and restoration. It is like a movement, to change the figure, from frothy flummery to the everlasting arms of the vital and creative God! Now you walk in the Spirit (Gal. 5:16), so that your good works may speak of the Lord when your tongue does not (Matthew 5:16). Now you see the application of Isaiah 40:27-31.
This is the way of it, and the prudent need to know it (Hosea 13:9, 14:9). It is not some new educational revolution, confirming godless and pointless warping with sovereign contempt for critical care in handling knowledge, it is not this which is needed, but the realisation that the Lord who made Britain great, despite all her errors, and now has before Him a declining nation of declining moral singularity and faith, unlike the day of Dunkirk, is unchangeable, unchallengeable.
Follow Him in righteousness; but if not, then stumble (Hosea 14:9). Stumbling has become almost the chief feature in Europe and Britain and the USA in their massive debts, over-spending, shrinking from direct acknowledgement of the Lord, UN type airy-fairy falsetto platitudes and dark deeds.
The past is not one's sponsor; it is the living God who is needed. Thank God that those who have been reconciled to Him by the redemption of Christ and have placed in Him their hearts and heads and thought, and find in Him their salvation, He is able to keep from falling and present faultless before the throne of His glory (Jude 24-25, Romans 5:17, 6:23). It is well in any confrontation, to be covered; and to go to the divine auditor naked of any help but that of boasting, is vanity itself. Praise God for the cover in Christ for sin, for power, for peace, for spiritual propulsion, for the heart, whose peace is past all understanding, and whose truth is the source of understanding.