Train Wreck

“Israel is a luxuriant vine; he
produces fruit for himself. The more his fruit, the more altars he made.”

Observation: The context of Hosea 10:1 is that as the
people became more prosperous, they had less need to rely upon God and began to
build their own altars. This is an echo of Hosea 8:11, which speaks of having
built “multiplied altars” that became places of sinning. The rest of the
chapter describes God’s response: He would destroy literally everything the
people had come to value other than God Himself.

Application: This
verse is a spiritual mirror if ever one existed: Altars: 401k plans, IRAs,
houses, careers, ministries. I see my own reflection, filled from earliest days
with a stubborn determination to be independent, to “make it” on my own, to do

But who is to say what “doing well” looks
like? Have I asked God’s opinion lately? Or dare I not, for fear His opinion could mean total derailment and train wreck
from tracks so feverishly laid down? The Gospel of Christ is a downward call
insofar as this life is concerned. It is a call I strain against, a call to
simplicity of lifestyle and singularity of focus. A call away from entitlement.
It’s terrifying, because the more I understand it, the more I realize it is the
complete opposite of the mentality I have learned to live by. 

In my prosperity, I do indeed build my own
altars. I worship at them, asking God to bless my plans and the work of my
hands. The possibility that these plans, these works, may not be His plans and
works is too profoundly troubling for me to seriously consider. But verse 12
tells how to right things: “Sow with a view to righteousness, reap in
accordance with kindness; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek
the Lord until He comes to rain
righteousness on you.” And again in Psalm 73:25–26, “Besides You, I desire
nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my
heart and my portion forever.”

O God, You Who have made
all that my eyes delight in, You are indeed all I need. Pull me back today,
Lord, from the precipice of my own pursuits, and cause my heart to exalt You
and You alone. Teach me contentment in less, Lord, for as I make You my only refuge,
You open storehouses of heaven as my portion in You. Rain Your righteousness on
me today, Lord. I love You!

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