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I Will Betroth You in Faithfulness

The Hedge of Thorns

6Therefore, behold, I [the Lord God] will hedge up her way [even yours, O Israel] with thorns; and I will build a wall against her that she shall not find her paths.

7And she shall follow after her lovers but she shall not overtake them; and she shall seek them [inquiring for and requiring them], but shall not find them. Then shall she say, Let me go and return to my husband, for then was it better with me than now.

8For she has not noticed, understood, or realized that it was I [the Lord God] Who gave her the grain and the new wine and the fresh oil, and Who lavished upon her silver and gold which they used for Baal and made into his image.

9Therefore will I return and take back My grain in the time for it and My new wine in the season for it, and will pluck away and recover My wool and My flax which were to cover her nakedness.

10And now will I uncover her lewdness and her shame in the sight of her lovers, and no one shall rescue her out of My hand.

11I will also cause to cease all her mirth, her feastmaking, her New Moons, her Sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts and appointed festive assemblies.

12And I will lay waste and destroy her vines and her fig trees of which she has said, These are my reward or loose woman’s hire that my lovers have given me; and I will make [her plantations] an inaccessible forest, and the wild beasts of the open country shall eat them.

13And I will visit [punishment] upon her for the feast days of the Baals, when she burned incense to them and decked herself with her earrings and nose rings and her jewelry and went after her lovers and forgot Me, says the Lord.

14Therefore, behold, I will allure her and bring her into the wilderness, and I will speak tenderly and to her heart.

15There I will give her her vineyards and make the Valley of Achor* to be for her a door of hope and expectation. And she shall sing there and respond as in the days of her youth and as at the time when she came up out of the land of Egypt.

16And it shall be in that day, says the Lord, that you will call Me Ishi [my Husband], and you shall no more call Me Baali [my Baal].

17For I will take away the names of Baalim [the Baals] out of her mouth, and they shall no more be mentioned or seriously remembered by their name.

18And in that day will I make a covenant for {her} with the living creatures of the open country and with the birds of the heavens and with the creeping things of the ground. And I will break the bow and the sword and [abolish battle equipment and] conflict out of the land and will make you lie down safely.

19And I will betroth you to Me forever; yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and justice, in steadfast love, and in mercy.

20I will even betroth you to Me in stability and in faithfulness, and you shall know (recognize, be acquainted with, appreciate, give heed to, and cherish) the Lord.

21And in that day I will respond, says the Lord; I will respond to the heavens [which ask for rain to pour on the earth], and they shall respond to the earth [which begs for the rain it needs],

22And the earth shall respond to the grain and the wine and the oil [which beseech it to bring them forth], and these shall respond to Jezreel [restored Israel, who prays for a supply of them].

23And I will sow her for Myself anew in the land, and I will have love, pity, and mercy for her who had not obtained love, pity, and mercy; and I will say to those who were not My people, You are My people, and they shall say, You are my God!

(Hosea 2:6-23 AMP)

*vs. 15: Valley of Achor – Achor translates to “trouble.” God promised He would turn the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of hope.

Spiritual Warfare – GOD’s Way

Sometimes things can get a little rough in a Marriage when one or both partners aren’t following the rules of The Ephesian Marriage as outlined in Ephesians 5:21-33. More often than not – and whether or not you will admit it – BOTH partners are responsible for the breakdown of their Marriage. It is very rarely attributable to just one partner alone. If your Marriage is in trouble, somebody needs to take a stand for what’s right – no matter who is right or wrong. The survival of your Marriage depends on it. It is not the time to ask yourself “Why should I be the one to do it? I didn’t do anything!” “It’s not me that needs to change!!” Sound familiar? First of all, our pride is what keeps us from doing the right thing – so we are actually doing something that is detrimental to the health of our Marriage. It’s time to retreat to your Prayer Closet and get some one-on-One time with God.

A Small Introduction to Hosea

The Book of Hosea shows God’s relationship with Israel and His impending judgments through the living prophecy and ministry that is Hosea’s own life. It can also be used as an allegory of the human marriage. Both relationships, that of God to Israel and Hosea to his wife, are spiritual and physical relationships. Both have spiritual and physical implications in their judgments.

GOD commanded Hosea to marry a woman of whoredoms. Whether or not Gomer (his wife) was a prostitute when he married her is not clear to me but it is clear she became a prostitute during the marriage seeking out other lovers through the lusts of her flesh. Gomer bore Hosea three children with God-given names that reflected and represented divine punishments and judgments that He had decreed upon the nation of Israel for her spiritual harlotries. The children’s names were later changed to represent the redemption of God’s people. Hosea’s life was a living prophecy with regard to the judgments of God upon His people. Hosea later redeemed his wife with pieces of silver and barley. Note: Hosea represents God in His divine character, judgments and mercy while Gomer represents Israel’s unfaithfulness to God.

A Wicked State of Mind

As Gomer strayed from her husband, Hosea, God placed a Hedge of Thorns about her. (Again notice the parallel between that of God with Israel and Hosea with Gomer.) The spiritual warfare began at the moment God placed the Hedge of Thorns around Gomer. Her life was about to change. God was going to get her attention. It was a battle of Gomer’s depraved will against the righteous will of God. God started to apply pressure in Gomer’s life to show her that what she was doing was wrong – and in so doing, those divine pressures pointed Gomer back toward home — to God and to her husband. Everything that Gomer had pridefully attributed to her own abilities and used to serve her own gods and lusts were slowly removed from her – one by one until she was left with nothing but to acknowledge the Truth. In the meantime, Gomer’s life became so bad that she sold herself as a slave.

Is that not so with us? We look at what we have and we make the mistake of thinking “Look what I have done for myself in my life!” We loosely acknowledge Him somewhere in the back of our mind (if at all) but we completely leave God out of the equation. We have not acknowledged that God has given us the ability to get what we have – jobs, money, cars, homes, etc. We make the mistake of hollowly and surfacely “thanking God” for what we have while at the same time we are not willing to follow in HIS precepts for our lives. We think that because we have everything and all is well in our life — no major crises and no drama — all is ok… Surely God is pleased with us or things would be all wrong! Surely I must be doing the will of God in my life because life couldn’t be better! Know this – God gives even to the wicked their food and rain for their land. How much more should we the righteous be blessed BECAUSE we follow and serve HIM and not our “things.” Our “things” are to be used to His glory and for His purpose and we are to acknowledge HIM as the giver of all we have. A very hard lesson to learn: The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away… Time for a reassessment of where we place our value. If you don’t, expect to run headlong into a wall so hard it will knock you off your feet. Expect to meet God in class for Wilderness 101 Training.

Back to Hosea and Gomer…

We judge Gomer’s behavior and shake our heads at how far down she had gone in her life – and if we were to go by all the worldly accounts and feelings and current societal values and teachings, there aren’t many people who would offer one single penny found on the street to buy back their wayward spouse and bring them home in love and forgiveness to nurture them back spiritually, mentally, physically and emotionally. There aren’t many who would exhibit the grace of God through forgiveness and mercy. What happens is the good old fashioned “escape clause*” becomes just that – an escape. We run far and we run fast – and we run taking everything we can even if it costs us everything we are and everything we own. We’ll fight till hell freezes over to take every last dime in a divorce court. The children be damned! The children become pawns in an all-consuming and maddening rampage that destroys their tender souls. Everything be damned! Anger takes over. Bitterness sets in. And you live your life in a state of prideful, seething hatred that oozes out of every pore in your body not realizing you’re a slave to darkness and a prisoner of your own making. Yes. I said that… (*See also my blog post on Fornication vs Adultery)

And satan laughs in his hell…

The spiritual and physical applications with respect to God’s relationship to Israel are the same to the husband-wife relationship. That is the profound meaning of the mystery in Ephesians 5. The Book of Hosea here also has a redemptive meaning in regard to the relationship between God and each individual. For the purpose of this blog, I am speaking in the allegory of Marriage and the redeeming power of reconciliation through the same power of forgiveness.

So You Think You Want to Stone Your Wayward Spouse…

Ok. So you’ve established a problem. What’s next? Spiritual warfare. Why? Because that’s what it’s going to take. Because God commands us to love and to forgive. There are no clauses in these two commands. God doesn’t command you to love your spouse so long as they are behaving to your standards. God doesn’t command you to forgive only if you feel like it. God commands us to love and forgive because HE did that for us. Because the wayward spouse is STILL your one-flesh spouse by Covenant Vow with God and with each other — till death do you part. (another blog for later…)

Forgiveness is the “in thing” folks. Stoning went out when the adulteress was caught in the act, brought before the masses for stoning to death as was their Law; used to test Jesus and her death sentence abandoned! Why? There was no one left standing there who could cast one stone at her for each of her accusers had sinned as well. Sin is sin. I’m not suggesting that any one sin is more offensive or less offensive – but rather that ALL sin is offensive to God. The adulteress was forgiven. She was no longer an adulteress. She was set free and told to go and sin no more. She had to accept her forgiveness in faith and it was credited to her as righteousness because Christ had not yet died for the sins of man. By faith she accepted that and after the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, she was redeemed because of His blood.

So you can’t stone your wayward spouse – at least not in the technical sense. An attempt at warped humor – but God has all the arsenal that any one human could ever need at their disposal to get someone’s attention. God has a few rocks of His own to throw. I like knowing that there are God-sized rocks if I need them. But I let God throw them. –> This is not something that can be misused or abused. God knows the state of your heart before you ever try to bring hellfire and brimstone down upon your wayward spouse! He won’t let you do it. Vengeance belongs to God.

(A side note about the free will of man with regard to a wayward spouse: If you are a child of God, you gave up your right to the freedom of your own will. You gave Christ ownership of your life. He bought and paid for it in His blood. You may continue to exert your “right” but God has a way of making your “will” line up with His. Once you realize that, you actually find that you do have freedom because you are walking in His light. If you aren’t a child of God, you may think you have free will to do what you want — and I guess in a sense you do — but you are a slave to what controls you. You are a slave to your father, the father of lies and your will lines up with his.)

Before you can do any spiritual warfare, you MUST be in right standing before God. Get rid of all anger, hatred, bitterness and unforgiveness. Get rid of every malicious thought and rude attitude. You cannot pray in this condition. You are in a state of unforgiveness. God will NOT hear you; neither will He forgive you your own sins until you confess them and repent. Yes those are sins. They are the opposite of the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness and self-control). You have sins of your own and it is important to keep short accounts with God because we are responsible to God only for ourselves. You are your brother’s keeper only through prayer…

25“Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions.

26 But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions.”

(Mark 11:25-26 NASB)

If you’re having a difficult time with forgiveness, it is imperative that you seek the Face of God on this. Forgiveness is a command. It’s not about how you feel or whether or not you think the other person deserves it. God is very clear on this. If you don’t want to forgive another for their transgressions against you – no matter how gross you judge the transgression on their part – remember that this is a definite issue of obedience to a command of God. If you can’t forgive, it’s because you won’t forgive. God enables us to do what He commands. Your lack of forgiveness is an issue with authority and this is between you and God – not between you and the one who slighted you in their transgression. Know this for certain: If a wayward spouse has come to repentance and confession before God, God HAS FORGIVEN them for He is faithful and just to forgive those who call upon Him in spirit and truth. Who are we to withhold that forgiveness? Certainly our pride is standing in the way of our relationship with our God and is a testament to the standing judgment against us until we repent and confess it in Truth seeking forgiveness as well. What is noteworthy is that HE forgave us no matter how gross the transgression we have committed against Him. He forgave us freely and set us free. We must do the same. Yes we can be angry. But it’s what we do with that anger that determines who we will become. We can’t be full of love and still have hatred nor can we claim to forgive and be full of bitterness at the same time. It’s a definite continual walk in prayer.

Now that you’re in right standing with God in the forgiveness of your wayward spouse, it’s time to call upon the power of God in prayer. Prayer is a dialogue with God. Prayer is a relationship with God. It’s not an automatic pill or a magic spell or potion used to call down the wrath of a mighty God upon someone who has committed some grave act of sin against you. And it’s not about making your own personal demands about what you think God should do. It’s about God’s will. It’s about our relationship with God. It’s not a one-time prayer. This is warfare. The battle isn’t over until God says it’s over. Be prepared to hunker down in your prayer bunker. It could get nasty… Especially since you are fighting for the soul of a loved one who is one in flesh. The devil won’t give up his territory easily and go quietly into the night. Expect resistance. But most importantly – expect GOD!

Judgments and Promises

Read again the verses in Hosea, Chapter 2, Verses 6 through 23.

Notice verses 8 through 13 represent God’s judgments and divine pressure applied in steering a wayward Gomer back to her God and then to her husband. God can and will remove all the “props,” one by one, in order to get the attention of one of His wayward children. Gomer used her God-given blessings of wealth and prosperity on the lusts of her flesh, spending them on her manmade gods and idols. God reduced her life to near nothing; exposed her life for what it was; stopped all her partying and celebrations; and took away her pagan loyalties and her ability to make her wages. It got so bad that she sold herself as a slave in order to survive. She had been literally brought into a dry, barren spiritual wilderness where God could finally reach her and lovingly bring her back from the depths of her depravity – the depths to which she had sank through her vices. God in His mercy brought Gomer back home. And it cost Him more than we could ever imagine it would cost us.

Verses 14 through 23 represent redemption and restoration. The things that God took from Gomer to get her attention were restored to her when she came back into a right relationship with GOD and acknowledged GOD as her sole source for life. She was also restored and reconciled to her husband, Hosea. And because God restored Israel to Himself (Gomer to Hosea) the relationship was that much more precious and more than it ever was in the beginning.

God will do the same for you – and for me. I stake my very breath on the promises of God. Amen

What to Expect

Some characteristic results of praying the Hedge of Thorns prayer include: (Insert your Spouse’s Name in the Scriptures while praying them.)

  • Your spouse may become confused and lose perspective:

“Therefore I will block (spouse’s name) path with thornbushes; I will wall (him/her) in so that (s/he) cannot find (his/her) way.” (Hosea 2:6 NIV)

  • Others who might be looking for a relationship or already are in a relationship with your Covenant spouse will lose interest:

“(Spouse’s name) will chase after (his/her) lovers but (s/he) will not catch them; (spouse’s name) will look for them but (s/he) will not find them.” (Hosea 2:7a NIV)

  • Troubles may increase as God encourages your Covenant Marriage Mate to return to the Marriage:

(Spouse’s name) will say, “I will go back to my (husband/wife) as at first, for then I was better off than now.” (Hosea 2:7b NIV)

Prayer

“Heavenly Father, I ask You in the Name and through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, to rebuke and bind satan and his minions and hindering spirits on assignment against my (husband/wife), the rebuilding of this marriage and against this family. I ask you to build a “hedge of thorns” around my (husband/wife), so that nothing but the power and truth of Your Holy Spirit can enter. I pray that through this hedge of thorns, that any other possible or potential lover will lose interest and depart running away and not be found or sought after. I pray that any potential lover suddenly become ugly and disgusting in _________’s (name spouse) sight as all sin is ugly and disgusting in Your sight -and that none will compare to the beauty of (his/her) own mate as Your Bride the Church is to You.

I base this prayer on Your Word which says:

“For the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I hate divorce & marital separation and him who covers his garment with violence.” (Malachi 2:16 AMP); “but if {they} do divorce, let {them}…..be reconciled…” (1Cor7:10-11 AMP); and live in accordance with Ephesians 5:21-33, one in flesh and one with Christ for we are His body, the Church, and His Bride; because we were created as “…one flesh” in the beginning. (Genesis 2:24); for You command that “what God has joined together, let  man not separate, put asunder or divide.” (Matthew 19:6 NIV).

I stand upon the promises and precepts of Your Word as it is written that the Father may be glorified in and through the Son. In Jesus’ Name I ask it in faith believing.

Amen

 

 

 

© 2009 – 2010 TheEphesianMarriage. All rights reserved by Celia Ann and The Ephesian Marriage unless otherwise stated. All other symbols are the trademark of their respective owners.

 

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