Lose the Look

Have you seen it? It is difficult to describe. But if you look close, it’s almost always there.

Let me back up first; back up to an Old Testament minor prophet. Hosea prophesied to the northern kingdom of Israel, just before its captivity by Assyria in 722 B.C. As a vivid object lesson, God tells Hosea to marry an adulterous wife, a symbol of Israel’s unfaithful relationship to God. Hosea marries Gomer, and despite bearing him three children, she still found her way to the street corner in the bad part of town. She prostituted herself to other lovers. Likewise, Israel tried to wed the worship of God to Canaanite religion. After all, Canaanite religion was a lot of fun—it deified sex—going to “church” was going to the brothel. God makes His assessment of His wayward people, “They consecrated themselves to that shameful idol [Baal] and became as vile as the thing they loved” (Hosea 9:10). What God is saying is that the character of what is worshiped rubs off; people become like the objects they love.

And this is the “look.” I have seen it many times. Masks and make-up can veil it for awhile, but in time, the unfaithful heart reaches the surface. People ensnared in sin or vice begin to look different. I’m not talking about the emaciated junkie. I’m talking about the effects of idolatrous sin on one’s countenance and even on one’s features.

Have you seen someone you may have known for years come to saving faith and before long, they look different? Once again, I’m not talking about someone getting a haircut or straightening their teeth, I’m talking about that new look in their eye or that new smile that reveals something very real and profound has happened inside of them.

But Hosea is talking about the opposite scenario. We actually take on the character of the idol or sin we bow to or fondle. People start to look different. I’ve especially seen it with sexual sin. If I may, people actually look uglier! It makes sense; sin and idolatry is acidic; unbeknownst to the deceived is that which they embrace is spiritually killing them. And what is happening on the inside begins to make its way to the outside.

Do you have the “look”? You don’t need to gaze in a mirror, simply be honest with God. Have you replaced Him with someone or something else? Have you downplayed sin in your life, perhaps even redefining it as something else?

Do you see the “look” in others? Do you love them enough to speak with them about it, doing so with humility and love?

Don’t think the “look” just goes away. What is behind it must be confessed: “Say to [God]: ‘Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously, that we may offer the fruit of our lips’” (Hosea 14:2). The prophet’s final words are these, “Who is wise? He will realize these things. Who is discerning? He will understand them. The ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them” (Hosea 14:9).

Be wise and discerning, lose the “look.”

Pastor Rich Hamlin

February 9, 2012 

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