Below is the journal from my morning quiet time with God.
Look: “‘In that day,’ declares the Lord, ‘you will call me “my husband”; you will no longer call me ‘my master.’” (Hosea 2:16)
Hosea was called to confront Judah and Israel for their prostitution, their idolatry, worshiping the baal idols rather than the one true God Who saved and nurtured them by His grace.
The baals were sticks of wood (Hosea 4:10) that the people--God’s people--called “master,” which is what baal means.
But God wants to have an entirely different relationship with His people. He wants to be their husband.
Listen: While Biblical faith never ceases to treat the God now ultimately revealed to everyone in Jesus with respect and awe, calling Him things like Lord, Master, and King, God also, throughout both testaments, calls people to an intimacy we could never have with an inanimate stick of wood.
Jesus tells those who seek to follow Him and do God’s will (disciples, ancient and modern): “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:15)
Unlike the ancient deities people worshiped that might take on human form in order to have sport with people or to use them sexually, the one true God revealed to Israel and then to the world in Jesus, cares about us. This is also true of all the deities we worship or may be tempted to worship today. (I like how Martin Luther explains idolatry to those of us who may think that it’s solely the behavior of superstitious ancient peoples who aren’t as smart as we moderns are: “Whatever your heart clings to and confides in, that is really your God.”)
John 3:16, of course, is one place where Jesus talks about how much God loves us: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
This is stunning whenever I think about it. (And sadly, I don’t think about it enough!) God cares about me. God wants a personal relationship with me, not as opposed to a relationship with the rest of His people in the Church or with those who are outside the fellowship of the Church (with whom I’m called to share the good news of everlasting life with God that only comes through faith in Jesus), but as part of those other relationships!
God is no inanimate, implacable deity. God is the Creator of the universe Who seeks a relationship of love with His creatures, especially with those who are made in His image (Genesis 1:27). He aches for we human beings, weeps for us, loves us, gets angry with us, not for His sake or to satisfy any sick need for codependency, but simply because He wants what is best for us. God yearns for a relationship of intimate love between Himself and, in Lewis’ wonderful phrasing, “the sons of Adam and the daughters of Eve.”
The God of the Bible, the God we see in Jesus, is a living God and He wants us to live with Him forever. This is what lay behind the New Testament imagery of Jesus as the bridegroom and the Church, the fellowship of believers in Jesus, the only earthly thing that will survive the end of this world, as His bride.
Respond: Forgive me, Lord, for sometimes keeping you at arm’s length, avoiding intimate, quiet moments with You in Your Word and in prayer. It’s so stupid too, when I avoid You because I don’t want to be confronted for my sins--my failure to love You or love others, because You already know everything about me, yet still love me and want a relationship with You!
Forgive me for hardening my heart to all those other people you love and who you free me to love in Your name.
Today, I cherish and worship You not just as my Lord, Master, and King, but also as my Savior and Friend, Who saves me from myself, from sin, and from death by Your grace through the faith in Christ You have fostered in me. Thank You, Lord. I love You. In Jesus’ name. Amen
[I'm the pastor of Living Water Lutheran Church in Centerville, Ohio.]