Sunday Afternoon Musings
That thought was driven home to me while reading David Timms, Living the Lord’s Prayer. Chapter 8 is a meditation on the phrase “Forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Timms quotes Hosea 4:1-3 and camps out on the word, “languish’ in verse 3.
Hosea 4:1–3 (ESV)
. Hear the word of the Lord, O children of Israel,
. for the Lord has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land.
. There is no faithfulness or steadfast love,
. and no knowledge of God in the land;
2 there is swearing, lying, murder, stealing,
and committing adultery;
. they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed.
3 Therefore the land mourns,
. and all who dwell in it languish,
. and also the beasts of the field
. and the birds of the heavens,
. and even the fish of the sea are taken away.
Languish. Synonyms abound for this rich English word: droop, fade, grow indifferent, listless, weak, and feeble. It’s exactly what the ancient prophet Hosea wanted to say. The people of Israel had grown complacent about life, each other, and sin. Nothing really mattered—not their word, not their neighbors, not marriages, not civility.
. As Hosea sought to describe the pitiful state of his day, he chose a Hebrew word that translates as “languish.” And the message he delivered 2,750 years ago still strikes with considerable force.
. The very offenses Hosea identified in Israel have become the stuff of our entertainment. Swearing, deception, murder, stealing, adultery, and violence form the subplots to our movies and the grist for our daily news. And we languish.
. It’s not that we approve such things. Rather they intrigue us and draw us like moths to a flame. The sin of our culture has ceased to horrify us and now titillates us. Gradually, perhaps imperceptibly, we grow blind to “righteousness and justice … love and compassion” (Hosea 2:19), and the vices we tolerate inoculate us from abundant life. We languish, which is precisely the reason that Jesus in His wisdom builds confession and forgiveness into the Prayer. (p. 148-149)
“Oh God, forgive us for living life apart from Your will. We run to things we should be running away from. And then we find ourselves desiring the things that keep us from Your word and finding our satisfaction in You. Draw us Lord. Satisfy us with You. Make our hearts cry that You are enough. For the sake of Christ and our joy. Make our hearts cry for You alone.”