In HOPE

  In HOPE 7.2                                  back to home                        David Timms

Ministry Resource

For those of you who have enjoyed the spiritual writings of Henri Nouwen, Wil Hernandez has written a very helpful book Henri Nouwen: A Spirituality of Imperfection (Paulist Press, 2006: 155 pages). The book summarizes many of the core themes of Nouwen's teaching in a rich and yet concise way. Hernandez has written a helpful guide to one of the most influential Christian writers of the last century.

Hope Happenings

Hope International University presents Frontline: Training Leaders for Student Ministry - a one-day event on March 17, 2007. This special seminar will provide a range of resources for those in youth ministry. More information can be found on the University homepage. Go to www.hiu.edu .

Hope International University
Fullerton  CA  92831

"There is swearing, deception, murder, stealing, and adultery. They employ violence, so that bloodshed follows bloodshed. Therefore the land mourns, and every one who lives in it languishes."   (Hosea 4:2-3a, NASB)


We Languish

Languish. Synonyms abound for this rich English word: droop, fade, grow indifferent, listless, weak, and feeble. It's exactly what 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 well with "languish." And the message he delivered  2750 years ago, still strikes with considerable force.

The very offences Hosea identified in Israel have become the stuff of our entertainment. Swearing, deception, murder, stealing, adultery, and violence form the sub-plots to our movies and the grist for our daily news.

And we languish.

It's not that we approve these 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 insensitive to "righteousness, justice, love, and compassion" (Hosea 2:19-20). But the vices we tolerate, innoculate us from abundant life.

And we languish.

Sin undermines our intimacy with Christ. Always has; always will. Our denial of it, indifference to it, or tolerance of it limits the depths to which we can know Him. When cursing and lies become the norm, when life is cheap and marriage is meaningless, when violence thrills us rather than grieves us, our hearts stiffen and our spirits wilt.

We languish.

Tragically, Israel never heeded Hosea's warning. They stumbled about in a spiritual daze, blinded by the toxic effect of their collective and private sin. They refused to repent and the outcome was devastating - a ruined land; a listless people.

Sin still seduces us, until what we call "life" is but a pale reflection of what the Father intended.

In our pursuit of godliness, prosperity, and abundance, may we rise above the indifference of ancient Israel. In our own lives, may our search for God also include ruthless surgery on our sin. "I will go away and return to My place, until they acknowledge their guilt and seek My face." (Hosea 5:15)

And we'll live!

In HOPE -

David

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David Timms serves in the Graduate Ministry Department at Hope International University in Fullerton, California. "In HOPE", however, is not an official publication of the University and the views expressed are not necessarily those of the Administrators or Board of the institution. "In HOPE" has been a regular e-publication since January, 2001.