I’m going to talk about cows, calves, heifers and calves lips. Yes, I said calves lips. Are there any cowboys out there? I’m reading this scripture in Hosea, and it hits me that I know very little about cattle or a rancher’s life. But I do know The Lord is trying to show me something.
“For Israel slides back like a stubborn heifer…” (Hosea 4:16 KJB).
How does a heifer backslide? Have you ever been hiking up a hill and the ground was wet or snow covered, and you slid backward? Yes, I think we all have done that. Nevertheless, this is not a very good example of this animal’s behavior. Heifers are erratic in manners, and they don’t trust anyone. Even if you are trying to feed this young animal, it becomes flighty. So what was the Father comparing Israel to in reality? A heifer would rather run and crash into an electric fence or barb-wire than let a cattle hand help it. Stubbornness!
Consequently, we need to go back to the verse and read the whole portion of it. “For Israel slides back as a backsliding heifer: now the LORD will feed them as a lamb in a large place” (Hosea 4:16 KJV).
Now, we have a heifer and a lamb. What’s the difference here? Lambs are usually timid creatures, but they are attracted to the person who feeds them. A lamb can be in a large place and feed. Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me” ( John 10:27 NIV).
And they do.
The heifer is vastly different from the lamb. In training, it is tied with a very short rope, and it is left that way for long periods of time. Then meticulously, day after day, it is walked to its water and food that is just several paces away. This routine goes on until the stubborn heifer learns you just want to feed the unfortunate creature! Abba Father help us trust you with our whole being.
“Return, O Israel, to the LORD your God, for your sins have brought you down. Take with you WORDS, and turn to the LORD: say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render the calves of our lips” (Hosea 14:1-2 NASB).
Did you catch that? Calves of our lips. The Father tells Israel to repent and then he explains how they can. Now hear me out because I think some people have this concept wrong. They get caught up with tithes, fasting, works and time. Not that these aren’t good, but they don’t bring repentance or INTIMACY. They are signs of obedience, but He wants both. God says return to me and take with you Words or Praise to our Abba. A more correct translation of the text would read “So will we render as bullocks the offering of our lips.” The fruit of the Spirit and the treasured adoration of Our Father.
Words are my very favorite thing. And they always will be. Why may you ask? Well, anyone who knows me and knows me well knows that shopping, diamonds, gold and shiny things don’t excite me too much. They are nice and may make me feel better about my appearance, but they don’t make my mouth water. Even with my shortage of inflated words and my lack of extensive education, words, even little ones, captivate me.
With words our Father created everything we see. He spoke it into existence! With words– THE WORD became flesh and dwelt among us, and with words, I can make someone smile, ponder, weep or laugh. Words can even cause a person to turn around and go in a different direction.
The Father wants them to bring words, not just offerings of calves and sheep and bulls. He wants their hearts to repent. Oh, Father the pride of it all. They thought they could just bring an offering. So many times we think we can just bring a tithe, an offering and show up at a meeting once a week. We give to get. We pray and fast to get answers. I am guilty as charged. What about you?
What about words, how does one return with words? I think they must not be repetitious. Some of the traditions are not repetitious but meaningful, like the Shema or the prayers offered during Festivals and at the hour of prayer. Paul said, “So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us” (2 Thessalonians 2:15 NASB).
Have you ever heard someone say, “if only I would have known that was the last time I would see my husband, wife, my dad, my mom, brother, sister or that friend that died in a sudden car crash?” If right now was the last time you could speak to Your Abba Father what would you say?
Father, I come to you with words. And my words seem so small and what can I even say to the King of the universe, who with Your very Breath blew life into dust, dust that You had spoken into existence. The ocean and its waves seem too grand for me to describe and how can I speak about you with GLORIOUS descriptions brilliant enough to do You justice? I repent. Help us to become humble people and know that soon all our skin will hang and our bones will groan, our hair will be as white as the clouds, and then back to the dust, we will return. We render the calves of our lips! We render our hearts!