9 The heart is more deceitful than anything else,
and incurable—who can understand it?
10 I, the Lord, examine the mind,
I test the heart
to give to each according to his way,
according to what his actions deserve.
Hey guys! Welcome back to the PSALMS to God podcast. Today we are back to the Yearbook Superlatives Series, and I want to talk about the person that is Most like to Step Out on Faith. Stepping out on faith is hard. It basically means that we have no idea what's going on. It probably seems a little illogical. It's not something that we necessarily want or desire, but it's something that we think God desires and God has called us to do. And so we do it, even though we don't necessarily know what the plan is. We don't know how it's going to work out. We just do it. And there's a person in the Bible that—well, OK there's a lot of people in the Bible who clearly exemplify this type of behavior, but in the past week or so I've been talking to some of my friends, we've been talking about a lot of things and this one person has been on my mind because of the nature of the conversations we've been having. And so I wanted to talk about this person and how it relates to our lives today.
Before I go into talking about the person and what they did and what their life was about, I really wanted to stop and talk about why I chose Jeremiah 17:9-10 to start off this discussion. So part of why I'm doing this particular episode, and why I want to talk about this person, comes down to one of the things that I personally struggle with, and that is trusting in my own self—which I don't know if that's really how I want to word it because we're not supposed to trust in ourselves, we're supposed to trust in God. You know, lean not unto your own understanding but trust in the wisdom of God. That's from Proverbs, I think it's from Proverbs 3; not really sure which verses in Proverbs 3. But basically, there are things that we should be able to trust. I should be able to trust in my knowledge of God, that I know God. I should be able to trust in my knowledge of scripture, because I should know the scriptures, and one of the things that I think, personally for me, is that I think I have the gift of discernment.
All my life I have been really, really accurate at predicting the character of people or the nature of situations. My first instincts are almost always right. I can't really think of a scenario, right now, where my instinct has been saying "trust this person," and they were untrustworthy or said "don't trust this person," and they've actually turned out to be trustworthy. Pretty much every time—I remember being a kid—there were, you know, all of these scams and stuff that people were bringing up. People trying to, you know, weasel their way into property to get money and stuff from our family, and you know, I was like 10, you know, I'm 8/10/11, and when these people would come to the house, you know, after they left I would tell my dad or my mom or my grandfather, whoever I had met these people with, I'd be like "I don't trust them. I think they were lying the whole time," and you know, a couple of days later, a week later, whenever things would come out, the truth was they were lying. And so I was like clearly I have some sort of radar for this, and I think that that would boil down to the Spirit of discernment.
But I wish I could say that I always follow through on that, but a lot of times I'm like "Shiree maybe you're being judgmental, you shouldn't think that. You don't know that person; they could be a really nice person." And a lot of times, I second-guessed whether my instinct is correct or not. And I think some of that is self-taught—err, not self-taught but, you know, people—because it started when I was a kid—people would say things like, "Oh you're negative. Oh, you know, you don't trust people. You have trust issues." And so instead of people saying "Oh I think you have the Spirit of discernment, you should trust what The Spirit is telling you," I was more so told "you're paranoid," or something like that. And so I think in that I learned to distrust my own instinct.
And it even boiled over into school. So when I was taking tests, particularly like multiple choice tests, I would always think of the right answer first, and then when I would go back and check the test, and I would go back over my work, I would second-guess my own answers. I would be able to rationalize and talk myself out of the first answer and think that something else was the right answer, and then I would try to give that answer, which would inevitably be the wrong answer. So when I would get my test back, I could see, you know, the faint pencil markings where I had erased the correct answer, but I had marked the wrong answer and I'd get the question wrong. And that's not how I want to live for God. I don't want to be standing before God and He's like "You know, I know that you thought about doing XYZ but you talked yourself out of it and did ABC, but you were supposed to do XYZ, and you didn't do it." That is not—you know it's one thing to fail, you know, an English test, I'm not trying to fail God's test.
I want to be able to step out on faith and do what God is actually telling me to do. And so that is one of the motivations I had for the episode. So the reason the person that I am going to talk about came to mind is because me and my friends have been talking a lot about dating lately, and if you're single, you know that dating in 2019 is hard. It is hard. It is rough, and it is crazy. And you know who else had a crazy experience in the world of love? Hosea.
Hosea is or was a prophet from the Northern Kingdom of Israel. For those who are a little rusty on your history of Israel—ancient Israel not modern Israel—in ancient Israel they had the united kingdom, which was ruled first by Saul, then by David, then by Solomon. After Solomon's reign, when Solomon's son took over, there was a split, and they had the southern kingdom—which was Judah, which had the temple and had Jerusalem, and was continued to be ruled by the lineage of David—and then they have the northern kingdom—which is often referred to as Israel or Ephraim, or eventually it becomes Samaria. And it was ruled by other kings, and they basically were in apostasy. They were kind of doing sin the whole time. None of their kings were particularly good kings, but then they eventually fell to Assyria—and this is where we get the lost tribes of Israel, because there were about 10 tribes that were living in the northern kingdom that once they got captive by Assyria, they never really returned and regained their identity as Israel.
So Hosea started to minister and prophesy slightly after the reign of one of their—I guess—biggest rulers, or one of their most successful rulers. I'm not really sure how you should classify him, but he started reigning after someone named Zechariah became king, and he basically started ministering. And during his reign, I think... Reign? During his prophecies, basically the Assyrian Empire takes over Israel, and so that's kind of the era that Hosea was prophesying in—right at the collapse of Israel. There was basically chaos. They were changing kings like we change socks, OK. It was just basic chaos, and so Hosea was trying to talk some sense into these people. Clearly they were going astray, and God was trying to use Hosea to make a point to the Israelites. So God told Hosea to do something that I don't think nobody would expect God to tell them to do, and that is to marry a prostitute...
Marrying a Prostitute? (00:10:49)
Y'all! God had Hosea marry a prostitute! I know y'all know the saying: you can't turn a you-know-what into a housewife. I know you know the saying. But God told Hosea to do that. The whole point of God telling Hosea to do this was to illustrate the whole concept of the Bride of Christ or the fact that the Church is the bride and God is the husband, and it was to illustrate the unconditional love that God has for His people—even though the people were turning away from God—what the Old Testament ultimately refers to as adultery. They were out, you know, consorting with other gods, with pagan gods, with pagan practices—God was still willing to love them. He was still willing to go to them. So even after this woman does all of this stuff, she's still worthy to be the wife of Hosea, and he's still supposed to love her and to treat her well, and to show her back to the state that she was supposed to be and was meant to be in it. And that's a lot. That's a lot to ask of somebody. I don't think anybody really desires someone that has that kind of a past, let alone somebody who might be currently entrapped in that situation.
Preconceived Notions (00:12:31)
So one of the things that stood out to me about what Hosea did and what God called Hosea to do versus these conversations I've been having lately with my friends about dating, is that we are not necessarily... We think that we're following what God says but sometimes we're still following our heart. Like I said in the beginning, the heart is deceitful. And it can be a circular thing, because you know the devil will step in and have you thinking this that and the other. It can be really confusing to just simply clear your mind, listen to God, and see whether that's playing this way or that way. It's hard. I can testify to that, but I was sitting and talking to one of my friends. We're talking about dating, and she was saying that, basically, she was saying that she knew that God would not send her a man who had a child to be her husband. She doesn't want a husband who already has children. It was interesting because when she mentioned it, that's pretty much when Hosea popped into my head, because I was thinking, I mean obviously the one thing that I think is a definite is that God will not send you somebody else's husband. OK, let's put that out there. God is not going to send you somebody else's husband, or for my gentleman that are listening in, God is not going to send you somebody else's wife. That's... OK. That's fool proof. You can trust on that, but when we got into these other things, I think there are definitely things that we desire of the heart that actually have no merit in what God is trying to do in the grand picture.
And so you know her saying God would not send me a man that already has children, I was like yeah... You know, I would like for God to send me a man that doesn't already have children, and I'm sure you would, too, but I'm not actually convinced that God would not send you that, because what it is is that something we don't want. But just like God used this situation with Hosea to prove a point, both to Hosea and to the nation at large, sometimes our purpose is a lot greater than what we think it is or it's a lot trickier than what we think it is. Sometimes there are these things that we have to go through, these things that we have to accept. So we have certain ideas, certain desires, but the truth is no one is perfect, and everyone has a past. Everyone comes from something, and in the end whatever experience the person that God has for you has been through, has brought them to where they are now. And perhaps for them to be the person that is compatible with you, they may have had to go through XYZ experience, and that experience may not be something that is particularly desirable of your heart—whether it's because of something society has taught us, or is it just because we basically desire a perfect spouse. You can't really be certain.
And so it was interesting, because like I said, as we were talking about it, I started to think about all of the things that I just had as like a preconceived notion in my mind, and I think this is one of the problems in the church. When people walk into the church, church people can be judgmental. They see somebody that has tattoos, they see somebody that's dressed a certain way. If you attend a Seventh-Day Adventist Church maybe if you see people with jewelry, they feel a certain way—and I didn't even know that was a thing until people started talking to some of my friends at church about their jewelry. It's a whole thing. We'll come back to jewelry in another podcast episode, but people will look at that outward appearance and they will jump to all kinds of conclusions because they have a preconceived notion of what it means to be of God, or to be a Christian, or to be following the Word of God. But there are things in life that are permanent. They're permanent markers of our experiences. You could call them scars, you can call them battle...victory, victory scars? Victory markings, whatever you want to call them, but there are things that happen in our life that shape our walk with Christ, and shape how we become who we are, that cannot be erased. They just exist. That's kind of how tattoos are. If you went out and got a bunch of tattoos when you were 19, they're there. They're going to be there. You could have a whole, you can be tatted from head to toe, and you could have found God years later, days later, whatever. You could have been a believer and just not had a conviction about tattoos when you got the tattoos, whatever that doesn't mean that at the moment that I see you, you are not in a relationship with God, and that you are lost. But that's how a lot of people will treat that person. But none the less, whatever experiences they went through are showing, because you're going to see those tattoos, you're going to see these markings of what they liked at the time that they got the marking or what they thought or what they believe.
And that's similar for other experiences that may not be so visually appropriate, visually...I don't know what word I'm looking for there, but basically you could have gone through something, whether you went through a rough time... Whether you had a rough upbringing—those lessons, those treatments, how you view the world, they're going to shape some of how you behave now. They're going to shape how you perceive the world, how you change your actions, and how you react to things. You're going to have, I don't even know... There's just so many examples that can be given, but all of these things, ultimately, are things that God had you go through to make you who you are. So when I look back, you know, there are things that I'm not necessarily proud of that I've done or said, and then there are things that I look back on that I'm like you know I had to go to that to be where I am now. I had to experience that to be who I am now, and so while my journey may be tame compared to other people, some people may have had to go through more extreme trials and tribulations. So I just think it's interesting that when we meet people, we can see these things, and it can alter our perception of them.
And one of the things that I've really clung to as an adult—probably in my mid-twenties I started to realize that a lot of times when were saying certain things, like the example of my friends saying that she didn't think that God would send her a husband who already has a child, a lot of times we're looking at our past and seeing how similar our past is to the other person's past. And we're looking for someone who has been demonstrating a past that is similar to ours to look for our future. And so we're looking to try to see the future, but the problem is just because we walked the same walk from the time we were children until the time we were in our twenties, does not mean we're going to continue to walk the same walk. Because you may not have any children... So for instance, keeping that theme and that topic, I have male friends who don't have any kids. They never been married, but they don't necessarily believe in God. That's yeah, OK, so we came from the same place: we both don't have kids. This is a desirable thing. You haven't necessarily been out here being reckless and unsafe, but we're not going in the same direction. We have no desire to go in the same direction, and that's not to say that just because someone does or doesn't have kids that you can tell the direction they're going in, I'm just saying that we have to be more focused on where we're going, if we're going in the same direction, than where we came from. I think where we came from is important, and it does have some bearing on where we're going, but that's not the most important thing, and I think it is, that is a crucial component to stepping out on faith, because if Hosea had looked at Gomer, which is who became his wife, if he had looked at her behavior and saw that she was a prostitute and that she had been reckless and doing all of these things, he would not have pursued her.
Let's think about this: yes, there are plenty of men out here who have no problem dating somebody who has slept with everybody and their mama, because they don't care. Or they just have different ideas about life, but when you picture a godly man, when you a picture a man who is for instance a preacher, or somebody who is, you know, leading a ministry, the men that you think are the most desirable men in the church, the ones who have their life together, they are steeped in the Word of God, you do not picture them dating a prostitute—some girl that they met at the club, who was tooted up, dress all up her behind, everything showing. That's not who you picture them marrying. And these are things that you know we as women, we be sitting here like, "Wait a minute! Here I am trying to be a nice godly woman. I'm trying to imitate the Proverbs 31 Woman out here. They out here marrying a prostitute!" You would be appalled, and you would feel some type of way. But that's exactly what God told Hosea to do.
Now, I think it's slightly different in the context of Hosea being a godly man and, Gomer being a "lost woman," because the man is supposed to be the head of the household. His job was to lead her to Christ, that again is probably a lot longer of a topic than can we have to go into right now, but I think it might be slightly different in the context of a woman and a man if the roles are reversed. But in the New Testament, there are passages that talk about if people are married and their spouse is not a believer and they are a believer, and it being on the believer to win the spouse over, and that their behavior may influence the spouse. And it talks about women influencing their husband and showing their husband the love of God through their walk, as well. So I don't think it's necessarily impossible that God would have you in a situation that is not what you expected and that you would have to step out on faith in dealing with that situation. Now, that's not to say that you should be reckless and just be getting any ol' trifling person because you think that God is trying to lead you to convert them, or to make that change in their life. What I'm talking about is, like I said in the beginning, of discernment and instinct.
Follow Your Discernment (00:25:59)
Do not let the world and their perception of people talk you out of your instinct. That is my whole point. There are things that God does that we don't expect. And some of the things that God does, we already know and we already expect it, and so we have to trust our instinct. We have to trust the voice of the Holy Spirit. So once you start communing with God, once you start that relationship, you're praying. You're reading the word. You're walking with God on a consistent basis. You have to get to the point where you can hear His voice and trust what He is saying, because if He comes to you with something like this, then that's what He comes to you with. And if the devil comes to you with something like this, you need to know the difference. And that is where things get a little tricky, and that is the thing that I want us to all be mindful of as we go out in the world and pursue relationships—whether they are romantic relationships, friendships, professional relationships, familial relationships, all types of relationships—let us be mindful of what our role is in that relationship and what God is calling us to do in the lives of those around us.
Wrap Up (00:27:23)
Thank you guys for tuning in. I hope you enjoyed the episode. I hope you learned something. I definitely learned some things. The transcript for this particular episode is on the website www.psalmstogod.com/SteppingOutOnFaith. Thank you guys once again! I will see you next time.
References and Footnotes
- Proverbs 3:5-7
- If that is the gift I have, I should be able to trust in that as well.
- By reigning I definitely meant Hosea started ministering. My brain was suck on kings it seems.
- 1 Corinthians 7:10-16
- This is not meant to be a condemnation of prostitutes, from Rahab, to Hosea’s wife, to the prostitute in the New Testament, we see former-prostitutes that are influential and loved. It’s meerly a statement that the average person isn’t sitting around day dreaming that their future spouse was previously or currently a prostitute.