Monday, April 2, 2007

Why Does the Land Mourn?

Hear the word of the LORD,
You children of Israel,
For the LORD brings a charge against the inhabitants of the land.
“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,
Therefore the land will mourn;
And everyone who dwells there will waste away
With the beasts of the field
And the birds of the air;
Even the fish of the sea will be taken away.”
(Hosea 4:1-3)
God created the world to respond to man, His likeness upon the earth. When man, through his rebellion, disconnected from the life of God, the world plunged into chaos. By Adam’s sin, death entered into the world, not just the death of men, but of all the animals — the birds, the beast, and even the fish. Even the land itself suffers. Wherever truth, mercy and knowing God has been replaced in the land by swearing, lying, killing, stealing and adultery, the land itself mourns, for that is not why it was created.

“Swearing” is cursing, speaking evil about people, places or things. Many people go around cursing and damning people, places and things, often using God’s name to do it, and then they wonder why their lives are like hell on earth. The earth, having been created by words, responds to our words. When we speak evil, the earth retches.

We were created to be in the image and likeness of God, even to speak like God and bring the earth into divine order. But when we speak evil, we are taking the name of God, in whose likeness we were created, in vain. And so our words become destructive, not only in the psychological realm, but also in the earth itself.

God gave us the Ten Commandments to instruct us and bless us, to teach us how to dwell in the land in fruitfulness. Notice that the five reasons Hosea lists for the mourning of the land are five of those commandments. When we curse, lie, steal, commit adultery and kill, or honor any of those things, we destroy the land and its fruitfulness. What is more, we will have to give account to God for what we have done to the land, because, ultimately, it belongs to Him. We are merely stewards, and stewards must always give account.

We thank God for sending the Lord Jesus Christ to save us from our sins and restore us to proper relationship with the Father. But we must let that salvation come and work in every area of our lives, even in the words we speak. When cursing, lying, stealing, killing and adultery are dealt with in Jesus Christ, the land will be no longer mourn, but be healed and blessed.