These are two of my favorite verses in the entire Old Testament, and they’re two of my favorite verses because of the contrast between them. So hear the first one, Josiah 2:13, God says about his people, Israel, in their sin, deserving of judgment, God says,
“I will punish her for the feast days of the Baals, when she burned offerings to them, and adorned herself with her ring and jewelry, and went after her lovers, and forgot me, declares the Lord.”
The picture is clear. God is speaking to his people who have worshiped other gods instead of him, who have run after lovers. The language that’s used here goes along with the picture we have in Josiah of God calling Josiah to marry a prostitute. It’s this picture of adultery in marriage that really is a picture of idolatry in relationship with God. We have turned aside from the one who loves us most, more than anyone or anything else and we have run after other gods instead. Josiah 2:13 says, “Me.” She forgot. The people of God forgot God.
The whole first part of this chapter is just a picture of judgment and it culminates here in Verse 13, in the punishment and holy judgment God’s people are due, but then, but then, listen to Verse 14. The first verse says, “Therefore,” so I’m expecting, okay, a lot of this judgment. “Therefore,” like this is about to be a picture of God’s wrath coming down upon his people, but listen to Verse 14, “Therefore, in light of the fact that she’s worshiped other gods, therefore, in light of the fact that she forgot me, therefore, behold,” Josiah 2:14,
“Behold, I will allure her and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her.”
Is that not a beautiful picture? We deserve God’s judgment, God’s wrath, in our sin, our idolatry, our spiritual adultery. What does God do? In response, God says, “I am going to allure you.” Allure you, like draw you in with my love. Bring you into the wilderness, speak tenderly to you.
Oh God, even as I read this right now in a fresh way, I am struck by, overwhelmed by, the reality that you have allured me. You have loved me. You have drawn me to yourself when I had turned against you. You did not give me over to my sin. You allured me with your love, and your grace, and your mercy. Oh God, I praise you for your alluring love in my life. I love you God. I love you because you have loved me.
God, I pray for everybody listening to this right now, each person. God, I pray that they would know your alluring love. God, maybe for the first time today that you would use this prayer, this podcast episode to open people’s eyes to the fact that they’ve participated in religion, but they’ve never experienced a love relationship with you. God, I pray that they would see your love for them, maybe for the first time today, where they really see it, feel it, and be drawn in love to you.
God, I pray for those who are in relationship with you. God, I pray that they would be reminded in this text of your alluring love, of the greatness and the wonder of your alluring love. God, we pray, we pray in light of our tendency to wander from you back into sin, to wander from you to worship other gods. God, we pray that your alluring love would draw us closer and closer and closer and closer to you. I pray that we would know your alluring love in greater and greater and greater ways. God, I pray for that for each person who’s listening right now. Please help them to know your love for them. Help them to hear you speaking tenderly to them, even right now, through your word.
“Behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her.” All glory be to your name, oh God, for your alluring love for us. Jesus, we praise you. We pray that you would use our lives today to allure others by your love. Help us to speak of this love. People right around us, we pray for the spreading, this love to the Malay in Indonesia. Got a couple of million of them who live in Indonesia. They’re so unreached hardly. So very few Malay people who know your love in Jesus. God please change that. Please allure the Malay by your love. Use your church toward that end. Show your alluring love. God, we love you. We love you and we praise you for your love for us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
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