A Desperate Need to Seek God

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A Desperate Need to Seek God
Rev. Thomas A. West, Sr
February 13, 2022
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In this time in our lives we all need to be reminded of our utter dependence upon God for all things. At times, we suffer because we won’t admit our need of the Father, relying instead on our own strength.
God is patient with us, just as every parent is patient with their child who doesn’t know they aren’t strong enough or desperately wants to believe they are sufficient even when it’s obvious they aren’t.
(Erik Raymond, “He Knows Our Frame,” The Gospel Coalition, June 2, 2015 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/erik-raymond/he-knows-our-frame/).
Erik Raymond speaks to this idea when he reads in Psalm 103:13–14 that God knows our frame and remembers we are dust: “I tend to have a much higher, a more inflated opinion of myself than reality.
I think I deserve to be treated better, think I’ve acted better, and believe that I will do better. I’m the 4 year-old kid who thinks he can pick up the 50 lb. air conditioner out of the trunk of the car.
But God is under no such illusion. He knows my frame. He knows how I was formed. He remembers that I am but dust. He knows this because he is my Creator! He has infinite knowledge of me and my weaknesses”
Then there is An unknown author once wrote, that life is funny, sometimes it gets extremely dark in a tunnel. Suddenly, just when we think we see a light at the end of the tunnel, instead it turns to be a train wreck coming right at us. Such is the hopeless, fatalistic view if a desperate person.
Desperation it is all around us …
Our title for today is A Desperate Need to Seek God
Our scripture for today is taken from The Book of Hosea Chapter 10 and our focal verse is taken from:
Hosea 10:12 NKJV
12 Sow for yourselves righteousness; Reap in mercy; Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to seek the Lord, Till He comes and rains righteousness on you.
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Main Text
Honest Assessment
No doubt everyone here has undergone some kind of assessment in their lives at work, school, or counseling. The purpose of an assessment is to discover where an individual is.
Imagine being assessed by God, Jeremiah 17:9–10 says this:
Jeremiah 17:9–10 NKJV
9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? 10 I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings.
And that is exactly what happened in Hosea.
God’s Assessment of Israel (Hos. 10:1–11)
As we read through Hosea 10:1-11 we find that state of Israel, let me provide you with the cliff notes …
Israel was prospering and idolatrous(10:1). The analogy of a spreading vine was that of prospering. It was a time of economic prosperity.
The more they prospered, the more unfaithful they became. What an insult that must have been to God, since He was the one who allowed Israel to prosper. And you guessed it, Israel forgot the source of their prosperity, see Deuteronomy chapter 8 for more details on this.
Israel had a divided and deceitful heart (10:2).
The NIV translates the Hebrew word dih-seet-fuhl as “deceitful.” Its common meaning is “divided.” The word was commonly referred to the parceling out of land.
Israel had a divided heart. A divided heart is a deceitful heart because it pretended to belong to God when in reality it does not. Their heart was slippery smooth, like a rock in a mountain stream.
God was going to smash their adulterous idols (10:2).
Israel would realize the futility of their self-appointed kings to deliver them (10:3).
Israel would not depend on God to save them because they had rejected Him (10:3). Israel had sealed their own fate by virtue of their choice to trust an earthly king rather than the eternal King. Like many of us today. We would rather depend on the government than trust in our Father.
Israel was full of deceit and dishonest. Israel had become a litigious society because of the deceit (10:4).
The courts were full of lawsuits. The analogy of poisonous weeds that are popping up everywhere and ruining the field. It was killing Israel and they were letting it happen. Greed was flooding the country side just as it is taking over the world today. More, we want more and more stuff. Storage units are a multi billion dollar industry, just here in the good old USA.
Tracy lists 15 self storage facilities to store our junk.
Dublin lists 9 self storage facilities. That’s crazy.
Anyway ….
Israel was in love with their idols (10:5).
The calf-idol of Beth Aven was an idol set up in the city of Bethel. It must have been related to the worship of Baal because of the word translated “priests” later in the verse. They worshipped a heifer, so God called them a stubborn heifer.
Israel feared the removal of their idols more than God (10:5).
Israel’s gods would be defeated (10:6).
Israel would be destroyed (10:7).
Israel’s religious shrines would be utterly and completely removed. Israel would be in desperate straits, wanting to die (10:8).
Israel would now reap what they had sown in God’s time (10:9, 10).
God made it clear that even though it would be another nation (Assyria) that would conquer Israel, He is the One behind it all.
During my study of this message a question came to mind. Verse ten reads:
Hosea 10:10 “10 When it is My desire, I will chasten them. Peoples shall be gathered against them When I bind them for their two transgressions.”
• What does He mean by “two transgressions” (10:10)?
The text doesn’t state it specifically, so we are left to conjecture. Two of the commonly held views are; The double sin is the sin of Gibeah and now the sin of Bethel—defiant rebellion.
Another view is that the double sin is Israel’s forsaking God and the house of David (Judah).
Lets continue with our cliff notes journey …
Israel is living a life of unbridled luxury and ease (10:11).
The analogy is that of a heifer threshing, which means she is unharnessed, walking around, threshing the corn and eating freely of it.
Israel had lived an unbridled life of luxury and ease, doing as she pleased. She was a fat, spoiled heifer. And that was all about to change as God put her under the yoke. Her unbridled life of ease was coming to an end.
Israel would pay a heavy price for her sin(10:11).
So that is the end of our cliff notes, now lets look at God’s assessment of today’s world.
A Modern-Day Assessment
There is little difference between Israel and America today. As I have heard from many great preacher or shall I say teacher? There is nothing new under the sun.
The only difference is that we have technology to help us either accept the truth as presented by God, or ignore Him and do our own thing as they say. Listen not everything you hear is the truth.
Have you ever had a conversation with someone and they tell you that they heard XYZ? Have you ever asked for the source of the information so that you can do your own research like you were taught in school? Don’t just take someone’s word for it.
Now a days people will disagree with anything? Is the sky blue, is the orange really orange in color or maybe its blue (if it is … please don’t eat it.) it does not matter they will argue the point just to be in disagreement with you.
Anyway…. In all this God has a remedy for what ells Israel and us.
God’s Remedy (Hos. 10:12)
Is the situation hopeless? No. Israel doesn’t have to continue down the path of destruction, and neither do we. Right in the middle of His assessment, God tells Israel how to change its destiny. It involves two parallel action steps.
Action Step #1: Sow Righteousness
The righteousness that Hosea speaks of here is two-dimensional.
1. We are to sow righteousness toward God—vertically (Ps. 45:7; Prov. 21:21).
2. We are to sow righteousness toward others—horizontally.
The outward evidence of the person who is living righteous before God is how he or she relates to others. Its all about the relationships. God and us and us with others.
Action Step #2: Seek God
Parallel with sowing righteousness, there must be the seeking of God. The Hebrew word for seek here means to seek with care or to inquire.
It was something they were to diligently do. This was not a casual seeking; this was the earnest seeking of God.
For more on this subject please read Deuteronomy 4:29; 1 Chronicles 22:19; Isaiah 55:6; and Jeremiah 29:13.
So, another question, What does it mean to seek God?
Glad you asked … here are some practical applications:
1. long for Him (Ps. 42:1, 2).
2. make Him the priority in your life (Matt. 6:33).
3. spend time daily with God (Mark 1:35).
4. run to God instead of from God (Prov. 18:10).
5. demonstrate His presence in our daily lives (Ps. 89:15; Matt. 28:20).
(Pete Greig, God on Mute [Grand Rapids: Baker Publishing Group, 2007], 46–47, Kindle)
I want to close with a story that Pete Greig relates and quotes from C. S. Lewis’s The Magician’s Nephew.
In the book, a boy named Digory begs the Lion, Aslan, to give him something to make his dying mother well. “It’s a heart-rending request—a prayer of desperation—and yet, at the time, Aslan appears to ignore it completely: ‘He had been desperately hoping that the Lion would say “Yes”; he had been horribly afraid it might say “No.”
But he was taken aback when it did neither.’ … But a little while later, Digory dares to ask Aslan for help again: ‘He thought of his Mother, and he thought of the great hopes he had, and how they were all dying away, and a lump came in his throat and tears in his eyes, and he blurted out: “But please, please won’t you—can’t you give me something that will cure Mother?”
Up till then he had been looking at the Lion’s great feet and the huge claws on them; now, in despair, he looked up at its face. What he saw surprised him as much as anything in his whole life. For the tawny face was bent down near his own and (wonder of wonders) great shining tears stood in the Lion’s eyes.
They were such big, bright tears compared with Digory’s own that for a moment he felt as if the Lion must really be sorrier about his Mother than he was himself.’ Digory’s prayer remained unanswered, but everything had changed. Now, he knew that the great Lion—in whom all his hopes were resting—truly cared”
What Will You Do? (Hos. 10:13–15)
Back to the text, The question remained, What would Israel do? God already knew. Israel was stubborn; she refused to turn from her wicked ways and seek God. What happened to Israel?
Israel was conquered by Assyria in 722 BC under the rule of Shalmaneser the 5th. The days of Israel as a sovereign nation ended.
It is too late for Israel, but it is not too late for you.
Will you be stubborn and hardheaded (Hos. 4:16)? Will you repent of your stubbornness and instead sow righteousness and seek God (Rev. 2:5)?
It’s your decision to make, obedience or rebellion.
Choose you this day whom you will serve!
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