March 29 I Thursday
“I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.” —Isaiah 45:3
In addition to having unusual names and acting in unusual ways, God also used His prophets’ lives and experiences to speak to His people. For example, God broke the hearts of many of the prophets so their brokenness would send a message to the Israelites.
Jeremiah thrived in relationship with others, but God told him that he was to remain unmarried and childless. He was also commanded not to attend any parties or celebrate with anyone. This went against Jeremiah’s nature, but God did not want His prophet giving the people of Judah the impression of a hopeful future or a reason to celebrate. Judgment was coming, and Jeremiah’s loneliness, disappointment and heartbreak were warnings of the hardships to come.
In contrast, Hosea’s difficult marriage was a demonstration of God’s relationship with Judah. The book opens with God telling Hosea, “Go, marry a promiscuous woman and have children with her, for like an adulterous wife this land is guilty of unfaithfulness to the LORD” (Hosea 1:2). The adulterous behaviour of Hosea’s wife, Gomer, devastated him, but God’s message was not yet finished. He later commanded Hosea to take Gomer back, “...though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress. Love her as the LORD loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods…” (Hosea 3:1).
We can be quick to blame God for painful experiences, something Jeremiah and Hosea could easily have done. However, to hold God responsible for our pain is to forget both His faithful love and our place before Him. God has the right to mold our lives and so lead us into situations that are not intrinsically good in themselves but that teach us something of His heart.
Those who have come through painful experiences have the potential to know God more intimately, and to share Him more effectively than those who have not. Because of his broken heart, Hosea knew the heart of God, a heart broken because of His people’s idolatry. Hosea could speak with authority and conviction about God’s unending love in ways Jeremiah never could. But in his loneliness and isolation, Jeremiah knew about alienation and could speak fervently into the impending plight of Judah and its people.
Our personal experiences, however painful, are the “hidden treasures” that give us a revelation of God. This may not make the experiences any less difficult, but it will make it easier to trust God for His purpose, rather than blaming Him in the face of trials. As we share these experiences with others, we become a channel of blessing to them in ways we could never be had we not been through the dark tunnels that held in store God’s hidden treasure.
Prayer: Lord God, it is hard when life is challenging and difficult, but I thank You for revealing Yourself through my hardships. Grant me the courage and humility to share what I have learned with others so they may find hope in You. Thank You, Jesus.