Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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Wait On Your God

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“So you, by the help of your God, return; observe mercy and justice, and wait on your God continually” (Hosea 12:6).

It is hard to be patient. This is especially so when you perceive injustice. While you are striving to be good and righteous, the ungodly prosper. The Psalmist knew this, and counseled:

“Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; do not fret — it only causes harm. For evildoers shall be cut off; but those who wait on the Lord, they shall inherit the earth” (Psalm 37:7-9).

Hosea prophesied for about 65 years, during the darkest days of depravity in Israel. It was a time of idolatry, as the nation reveled in her infidelity to God (cf. 2 Kings 17:9-10). Hosea’s personal life mirrored the sad state of the nation itself. “When the Lord began to speak by Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea: ‘Go, take yourself a wife of harlotry
and children of harlotry, for the land has committed great harlotry by departing from the Lord’”
(Hosea 1:2). Hosea’s marriage to Gomer, and the birth of their son Jezreel was a sign from God, who said He would, “bring an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel” for her sins (cf. 1:4).

In our text (12:6), Hosea called Israel to repentance, patience, and obedience as a response to God’s judgment. In the words of the prophet Micah, “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8).

The lesson is an important one for us to learn. In addition to the call for repentance from sin and obedience to God, patience is a great and needed virtue. Consider the following thoughts from the pen of James:

  • Patience is needed in the midst of chastisement. “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:2-4). If patience is the response to trials in our lives, it is an indication of our spiritual maturity. Our willingness to endure, when our faith passes through the crucible of tribulation, is a true reason for rejoicing.
  • Patience, (endurance), is needed in the midst of temptation. “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him” (James 1:12). Temptation is the realm of the devil. He is the one who entices us to sin. He seeks to wear us down with continual attacks. While we might say no again and again, he looks for the day when our defenses are down, and we say “yes” to his wiles. The man who can patiently and consistently refuse his advances is the man who proves himself to God. As such, the promised crown will be won.
  • Consider the work of the prophets, and learn from their example. “My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience. Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful” (James 5:10-11). As revealed in the Old Testament, the prophets of God were time and again rebuffed when declaring God’s will. Their teaching and motivation were maligned. Remember Ahab’s query to Elijah? “Is that you, O troubler of Israel?” (1 Kings 18:17). Stephen noted the Israelites’ treatment of the prophets while condemning his audience for their duplicity in killing Jesus. He said, “You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers, who have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it” (Acts 7:51-53). Yet, despite the persecution they suffered, the prophets were bold and brave in proclaiming the will of the Lord.

Yes, it may seem that the ungodly prosper while we, seeking to serve the Lord, suffer persecution and privation. However, our accounts are not settled on this earth nor in this time. If we could only see things as God sees them! While acknowledging God’s impending judgment and the eventuality of eternity, the apostle Peter wrote, “Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?” (2 Peter 3:11-12).

In the end, all of our suffering will end, and we will be received by God. Tears will be replaced with joy, darkness with light, mortality with immortality. “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:17).