Grapes in the Wilderness 

I’m currently reading the book of Hosea which illustrates God’s great love for His adulterous people. I was recently brought to a pause on Hosea 9:10 which reads,

 “Like grapes in the wilderness, I found Israel. Like the first fruit on the fig tree in its first season, I saw your fathers. But they came to Baal-peor and consecrated themselves to the thing of shame, and became detestable like the thing they loved.”

In Scripture, the word “wilderness” is used for a place that is isolated or barren. There is no food to satisfy the hungry or water to quench the thirsty. I imagined myself in this wilderness. I tried to really capture what God is illustrating. If I was isolated with nothing to eat or drink and suddenly a bunch of juicy grapes appeared, I would be greatly overjoyed! This is how God felt about Israel, this is how He feels about us. It goes on to say that He saw Israel like the first fruit on the fig tree. The first fruits at their peak are the best of the harvest. They have the best taste and the most nutrition. In Scripture we see that the first fruit was the offering that God requested of His people. It was the most honorable and it was an offering in which He was well pleased.

This struck me for two reasons: 1) It tells us that God was greatly delighted with Israel. They were His joy. They were His chosen ones. God delights in us! 2) At that time, He no longer delighted in them. He said, “Like grapes in the wilderness, I found you….like the first fruits, I saw you….”

The people of Israel had forsaken God to serve false gods. They no longer delighted in God as He once delighted in them. God was hurt by this. He was sadden. Israel had become detestable. His grapes, His first fruit……

I was reminded of Psalm 37:4 , “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”  So often we read this verse and think that delighting in God is simply walking about merry and thinking good thoughts of God. But to delight in God means so much more. It is to be willing to suffer as you walk in obedience because you delight in his precepts. Israel was not walking in obedience. They had forgotten their words to God after He took them out of Egypt, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do.” (Exodus 19:8) Because of their disobedience, God no longer delighted in them. Though God’s love for us is constant, for what can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus, it does not mean He always delights in us. God loves us all, but He delights only in those who are obedient to His Word. Sincere obedience to God’s word is a result of our delight in God.

Though God has loved us first, we must first delight in God so that He may delight in us. As we acknowledge God’s love, we should be brought to delight in our Father, and because we delight in Him, obedience to His Word will follow, and as we walk in obedience, He will delight in us forevermore. God delights only in those who love Him in deed and in truth.

To love God is to obey His commandments (1 John 5:3).

To love God is to remain faithful to Him.

To love God is to hurt when we fail Him and to feel the weight of sin.

The very moment a heart comes before God, broken and contrite, in repentance, God is delighted, for this child is choosing to do his Father’s will.

Are you delighting in God? Is He delighting in you? 

Prayer: Father, help me be like the grapes in the wilderness. May my thoughts, actions and speech be pleasing to you. Give me the strength to obey you. Fill me with your Spirit so that I may depart and flee from sin. Though my flesh and my heart may fail, You are the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Delight in me, Father, as I delight in you.

May your day be graciously adventurous,

Tati

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