S (Scripture) – Hosea 14:8-9 “O Ephraim, what more have I to do with idols? It is I who answer and look after you. I am like a luxuriant cypress; from Me comes your fruit. Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; whoever is discerning, let him know them. For the ways of the LORD are right, and the righteous will walk in them, but transgressors will stumble in them.” NASB
“Ephraim is finished with gods that are no-gods. From now on I’m the one who answers and satisfies him. I am like a luxuriant fruit tree. Everything you need is to be found in me. If you want to live well, make sure you understand all of this. If you know what’s good for you, you’ll learn this inside and out. God’s paths get you where you want to go. Right-living people walk them easily; wrong-living people are always tripping and stumbling.” Message
O (Observation) – Lord, when will we learn that You know what You are talking about? So many times in our lives we proclaim with our lips that we are trusting You with everything, yet we still lead a life devoid of Your power and peace; we continue to strive in our own strength, worry and anxiety dominate our thinking, and we can become consumed with ridiculously unimportant minutia that floods through our day…and we miss it. We miss the kingdom work that You have for us to do. You are the One who answers and looks after us. From You comes our fruit. It’s all from You, all about You, and the enemy wants so desperately for us to believe the lie that it isn’t.
A (Application) – Satan knows that “those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:31).” Satan knows that the Lord “will keep in perfect peace all who trust in Him; all whose thoughts are fixed on Him (Isaiah 26:3).” Lord, Your ways are right, and You offer a life of peace, joy, victory, and eternal security. Yet so many choose to disregard You, and exchange the truth of You for a lie, and worship created things rather than their Creator (Romans 1:25). As a result, these people are broken, making their way through life trying to make sense of the world around them, and attempting to find answers to life’s deepest questions within themselves. Truth, by definition, cannot be relative. Today’s post-modern world would have us believe that my truth is true for me, and someone else’s different truth is true for them, and somehow, it all can be true, without error, simultaneously. This is absurd. John 18:37 records the dialogue between Pilate and Jesus, “Therefore Pilate said to Him, ‘So You are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” We can have confidence in Jesus that His words are true – Jeremiah 29:13 says “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” May we stop searching for answers in all the wrong places.
P (Prayer) – Heavenly Father, as we look around at our world today and see all of the brokenness, emptiness, and tragedy that is occurring, it is tempting to wonder what is “wrong” with You – I read something recently where a person I have great respect for asked this question, “What is wrong with our world? And with our God?” It stopped me in my tracks – there is nothing wrong with You…our world has intentionally chosen in incremental steps to reject You and Your truth, walk away from Your ways, silence those who would say otherwise, sue those who fail to fall in line with the majority, and make it illegal to say Your name or pray in schools. We are then interestingly shocked at what happens – it is impossible to maintain a land of peace and righteousness when the people of the land shut You out. What we are seeing today is only the beginning of the fruit of our harvest. I pray that all would come to a knowledge of the truth, and instead of questioning what is wrong with You, that we would rather look within – what are we doing for You, and for Your kingdom? Show us, Lord, what it is that You have for us to do, and empower us to follow through in Your strength. Rebuild our nation, one family at a time…one person at a time.