"Dedicated to strengthening and encouraging the Body of Christ."

Seek Him Till He Comes

By Rich Carmicheal

    In the January/February 2023 issue of the Herald we were blessed to share the message “It Is Time To Seek The Lord” by Vance Havner based on Hosea 10:12 –  “Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the Lord, till He comes and rains righteousness on you.”  We praise the Lord for how He used that article and other articles in that issue to stir up the hearts of many readers to seek the Lord for revival!  If you are interested in sharing that material with others, we still have copies available and will gladly send them while supplies last.

    In light of how significant that verse from Hosea is for our day, I invite you to consider it again in the overall context of the message the Lord entrusted to Hosea.  Hosea was a prophet to the people of Israel in a time of great spiritual, moral and political decline.  To symbolize the gravity of the situation, the Lord went to the extreme of having Hosea take “a wife of harlotry” – “Go, take yourself a wife of harlotry and children of harlotry, for the land has committed great harlotry by departing from the Lord” (1:2).  Can you think of anything more serious than for the Lord to accuse His people of “great harlotry” or “great whoredom”?

    As you read through the Book of Hosea, the reason for such a serious accusation is evident.  Though the Lord loved the people and had cared and provided for them, they had forsaken Him and chased after other gods – “‘…She decked herself with her earrings and jewelry, and went after her lovers; but Me she forgot,’ says the Lord” (2:13).  The people were guilty of all sorts of sin – “...There is no truth or mercy or knowledge of God in the land.  By swearing and lying, killing and stealing and committing adultery, they break all restraint, with bloodshed upon bloodshed” (4:1-2); “The more they increased, the more they sinned against [God]” (4:7); they “plowed wickedness” and “reaped iniquity” (10:13).  They became full of pride and turned away from the Lord – “When they had pasture, they were filled; they were filled and their heart was exalted; therefore they forgot Me” (13:6).

    No wonder the Lord used the imagery of spiritual adultery to describe the condition of His people!  He even took the imagery a step further by the names He instructed Hosea to give to the children of this marriage.  The first son was called “Jezreel” which means “God sows” or “God will scatter,” and the name points to the judgment God planned for Israel (1:4).  The Lord told Hosea to name the next child, a daughter, “Lo-Ruhamah,” which means, “not loved” – “Call her name Lo-Ruhamah, for I will no longer have mercy on the house of Israel, but I will utterly take them away” (1:6).  And the third child, a son, God said to name “Lo-Ammi,” which means “not My people” – “Call his name Lo-Ammi, for you are not My people, and I will not be your God” (v. 9).

    The situation was critical because God always takes sin seriously, even if His people are prone to underestimate it – “They do not consider in their hearts that I remember all their wickedness; now their own deeds have surrounded them; they are before My face” (7:2).  The Lord had “withdrawn Himself from them” (5:6), and Hosea issues strong warnings that judgment is upon them. 

Yet There Is Great Hope!

    If ever a situation seemed hopeless, it was the condition of God’s people in Hosea’s day.  And, yet, Hosea’s message offers glimpses of hope.  His message reveals that the Lord’s heart is not for His people to experience judgment, but for them to repent and to seek Him for an outpouring of spiritual life.  Consider, for example, the wonderful invitation and hope expressed in our text:  “Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the Lord, till He comes and rains righteousness on you.”  If we sow righteousness, we will reap in mercy!  If we break up our fallow ground and seek the Lord, He will come and rain righteousness on us!  God will come!  He will come “to us like the rain, like the latter and former rain to the earth” (6:3).

    And we know from the history of revivals that when God comes, conditions in the lives of individuals, churches, communities, and even nations, can change quickly and dramatically!  This is because when God comes, He comes with power, holiness, truth, conviction, salvation, life, love, peace, joy, and the glorious list goes on and on!  We may think it is too late for revival in our nation or for our churches or communities, or even for ourselves, but anything is possible when God comes!

    I recently came across a Herald article by a pastor’s wife (Eleanor McKinney) describing her encounter with revival in the late 1960s and early 1970s.  The article is entitled “Still Fresh As The Morning Dew Forty Years Later” and in it she writes:  “What event could captivate a person’s heart, leaving an indelible impression for forty years, while retaining details as though they happened yesterday?  If you have ever experienced a heaven-sent outpouring of God’s holy power, you have the answer!  It is as you have probably heard it said, ‘Your life will never be the same.’”  (See the article, “What Is Revival?” for her list of characteristics of revival.)

    Do we not long for such an outpouring of the Lord’s presence and power in our day?  Can we not say with the Prophet Isaiah, “Oh, that You would rend the heavens!  That You would come down!  That the mountains might shake at Your presence…” (Isa. 64:1)?  If that is our longing, Hosea 10:12 reveals that we must not only repent and break up our fallow ground, but also seek the Lord “till” He comes and rains righteousness on us.  Such a little word – “till.”  And yet vital to revival.

    How encouraging it is to know that even with spiritual, moral and political conditions as pathetic today as they were in Hosea’s day, the Lord’s heart is that we will sow righteousness, reap in mercy, break up our fallow ground, and seek Him until He comes and rains righteousness upon us.  This is His call to us.  It is His kindness that leads us to repentance (Rom. 2:4).  The question is, will we take His invitation to heart?

Asbury Outpouring

    How grateful we can be for the season of revival – or “outpouring” – recently experienced at Asbury University.  During the sixteen days of the meetings in February, the revival impacted many students on that campus and from visiting campuses, as well as many thousands of other people who visited from all over the U.S. and other countries.  May the Lord fan into flame the little fires that were ignited in other campuses and locations, and graciously pour out revival on a larger scale!

    “Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?  Show us Your mercy, Lord, and grant us Your salvation.  I will hear what God the Lord will speak, for He will speak peace to His people and to His saints; but let them not turn back to folly.  Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him, that glory may dwell in our land” (Psa. 85:6-9).

About This Issue

    A major focus of this issue is upon revival, including the vital roles of brokenness, humility and surrender as we seek the Lord.  May we, as His people, humble ourselves, break up our fallow ground, turn fully to the Lord, and seek Him until He comes and rains righteousness upon us!