Devotional of the week: Waste (4 in Hosea series)

Because of this the land dries up, and all who live in it waste away; the beasts of the field, the birds in the sky and the fish in the sea are swept away. (Hosea 4)

DSCN0138The book of Hosea gives a stark picture of humanity’s damaging effect on the earth – on the land, water, and its living creatures. As we see in chapter 4, the Israelites’ sins result in harm to the land. Its fruitfulness will dry up and its flora and fauna will die. As Adam and Eve’s sin affects the world and ushers in a diseased creation, so too does the unfaithfulness of Israel wreak havoc on the earth.

But though God is angry, he promises that he will relent. Earlier in chapter 2 we see a lovely promise of the covenant he will make with the beasts, birds, and creatures. He will turn the Valley of Trouble into a door of hope. And he will set off a chain of response between the skies, the earth, and its bounty. All will work in harmony, along with his beloved people.

We know that our self-centered behavior harms the earth: our wasting of its natural resources; our pollution; our covetous need to acquire. I wonder if our lack of prayerfulness can affect creation. How many selfish prayers motivated by, for example, sunny weather for that perfect picnic have resulted in drought conditions? We simply don’t know how God answers our prayers.

Agnes Sanford lived in the twentieth century and prayed fervently for the healing of the earth. She even moved near to the San Andreas Fault in California so that she could pray daily for the gentle release of the tension in the earth’s crust. How can her example shine today? Could you pray for soaking rains to replenish the water levels where you live? Or perhaps your area needs sunshine to dry up too much moisture. May the Lord help us to be good stewards of his creation.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I’m sorry that often I put my own needs first and don’t consider the effect of my actions on your creation. Love the earth through me.

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