Every morning, I wake up and immediately take the puppies outside. I'm half awake when I step outside, but by the time I come inside I'm ready to face the day. The puppies are always very anxious to get outside, and seemingly just as anxious to come back in…but I've noticed something about the early mornings. When I let the pups out, their paws are nice and dry, but when the puppies come back in their little paws are completely soaked. It doesn't matter if it has rained or not the night before EVERY morning the grass is covered and dew, and so every morning, my puppies come back inside with their wet paws leaving paw prints on all over my floors. The interesting thing is that if I sleep in late enough on Saturday (which doesn't happen often enough), the dew is gone and I can let the puppies out without getting their feet wet. The dew doesn't stay on the lawn very long, especially in the summer heat. In Hosea 6:4, God is a very honest tone, related the Israelite's love for him to the morning dew.
“What can I do with you, Ephraim?
What can I do with you, Judah?
Your love is like the morning mist,
like the early dew that disappears.
The Holy Bible : New International Version. electronic ed. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984, S. Ho 6:4
This verse is not a warm fuzzy verse. If you read Hosea, you'll see God's honest thoughts about his children. He likes them to an unfaithful wife. Here we see God convicting His children of being before Him one moment, but in the next vanishing…no where to be found. When I read this I was deeply convicted. I began to think of all the mornings that I have woken up early to spend time with the Lord, and by the time I sit down at my desk, I can't even remember what I read or what He and I talked about. Or all the Sundays that I sat in church half listening and half making my to do list for the day…or listening and walking away unchanged…maybe even criticizing someone that I saw a church by the time I reach my car. This same experience can happen on retreats or in small group…we have an amazing time, feeling like we've gone deeper in our faith, but then when we return to the “real” world we immediately fall back into our old routine. A routine that we have created in such a way that we can fulfill all our duties without the assistance of our Heavenly Father. A routine that includes sinful habits that we don't care to break. God has become a check mark in our to-do list rather than the Father of our hearts, minds, bodies and souls.
I know I can relate to the Israelite children here. There are sins that I've become so numb to in my life that I don't notice them anymore. My time with the Lord can even become routine. One challenge I face is reading God's word and finding what I can teach from it rather than reading it and asking Him to change my heart and my life through it. As I read this passage, I pray that I will not just engage my mind in the moment, but the God would help me engage my heart for a lifetime pursuit of Him! I pray that I as spend time with Him, we would have two-way conversations…that our time together wouldn't be consist only of my telling Him my agenda for my life and asking Him to accomplish it, but for me to really stop and listen and to surrender my life to Him. To take the time to listen to His voice, and to be quiet enough to hear it. With that said, I want to leave you with time to reflect on your day. Has your relationship with God become more of a business relationship, where you only meet to discuss agendas, or is it a love relationship between the faithful Father and His beloved child? Is your heart fully engaged when you are with Him? If not, what are some practical ways you can practice listening and becoming fully engaged? Are there sins that you've become numb to that you need to repent of and ask God to bring to light and develop a sensitivity to? These are questions you can think about as you go about your day, and questions that may require a journal, your Bible and a quiet spot to reflect. So, as we close today, I pray this prayer for you and for me.
Thank you that you are faithful. You are faithful even when we are faithless. Lord, thank you that you long to have a deep intimate relationship with us, not because we've earned it by being good, but because you are our Father. Lord, I pray today that you begin to stir up the fire with us that we may each choose to go deeper in our walks with you. I pray that as we spend time with you that you will engage our hearts; let us not settle for an intellectual relationship. But rather, engage our hearts for an intimate loving relationship with you, the King of kings! I pray that today as we spend time with You that we will walk away changed for eternity and looking more like Jesus whom we love and serve. Thank you for Your Word. Thank you for conviction that leads us into a deeper relationship with you. I love you, Father. Amen.