Cause for Distress

Hosea 5:15 – I will return again to my place, until they acknowledge their guilt and seek my face, and in their distress earnestly seek me.

The book of the prophet Hosea is a call for Israel to turn away from her sin so as not to incur the judgment of God. Like many of the prophetic books, it contains strong symbolism and powerful warnings. God cautions the people that, if they do not turn away from their sin and idolatry, he will give them over to the wrath that they deserve because of their sin.

In the midst of these warnings, God says what we read above in verse 15 of chapter 5. God intends to withdraw his hand of blessing from the nation until, in their distress, they return to him. This is a common thing for us to see God do in the scriptures. When people refuse to follow God, he often allows them to experience, for a time, the due consequences of their behavior. The goal of this is not for God to feel better about “getting back” at the people for their sin; rather, his purpose is to allow them to see the harshness and emptiness of their lives without him. God allows them to see what life without him is like in order to allow them to call upon him. All the while, God’s intention is that, when the nation does finally call upon him and repent of its sin, he will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land (2 Chr. 7:14).

Today, how close do you feel to the Lord? Are you feeling the sweetness of the fellowship that you should have because of a relationship with God through Jesus Christ? If not, ask yourself if you have cause for distress. Is there something in your life that is breaking your fellowship with the Lord? Is there a sinful pattern that you have not given up which might be causing you to feel the distance from your Lord that you ought not feel? Do not become bitter toward God for this distance. Instead, allow yourself to, in your distress, earnestly seek the Lord. He will hear the cry of his children who genuinely seek him. Then, when you return to the Lord, thank him for the distress that has caused you to truly seek his face.