The Word Hosea 14: 5-9(NIV) 5 I will be like the dew to Israel; he will blossom like a lily. Like a cedar of Lebanon he will send down his roots; 6 his young shoots will grow. His splendor will be like an olive tree, his fragrance like a cedar of Lebanon. 7 People will dwell again in his shade; they will flourish like the grain, they will blossom like the vine—Israel’s fame will be like the wine of Lebanon. 8 Ephraim, what more have I[t] to do with idols? I will answer him and care for him. I am like a flourishing juniper; your fruitfulness comes from me.” 9 Who is wise? Let them realize these things. Who is discerning? Let them understand. The ways of the LORD are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them.

The Message Just yesterday, my last daughter went back to school to write her final exams. The COVID 19 Lockdown is gradually being eased off. We are all settling into our new ‘normals’. Life has to normalize again. We all want to get back to life as we knew it-school, work, going out, watching movies, visiting family and friends, parties, weddings, meetings ….and the list goes on. No matter how life becomes, we all have come through a very dark period. For some it was much darker than others. People lost loves ones. Some families lost more than one person. Some businesses died, there is no more need for their kind of services. Many lost their jobs.  Even some who survived the COVID attack are still battling with their bodies. Life in this new normal will never really be the same again. For me and my family, it was a time of reflection and prayer. That sounds right. However, as we reflected and prayed and got into the Word, we were throwing up a lot of negatives. There were unpleasant family scenes that were really troubling. Our business did not earn a dime throughout the period. That did not help matters. However, God’s grace made adequate provision for us. We had all needs met and food on the table. In all the drama, we just kept praying.  We tried to keep relationships going despite intense disagreements. Some days were bad. Others were great. Yet others were tolerable. In it all we kept praying. I woke up most days at 3.30am to pray. I would pray with my ladies at 4.30am. Then I would join my husband at 5.30am. Then we would pray with the kids at about 9.30am. Most days, that was the routine, give and take a few minutes here and there. It was perplexing because I just expected that the prayers would take care of things, but somehow, the issues stretched. By the end of June, things began to ease up. We all began to desire to make things become alright. Somehow the air began to clear.   As God would have it, the birthdays began to roll in and that was when the dam broke. Somewhere in the Spirit, it broke and we all suddenly realized how much we really all wanted our family back.  For me, it was dark because I always felt my family was strong. All of a sudden, it looked like I had a mirage. I would still air my show every weekend helping people build strong families but mine was going through a dark phase. As the light began to dawn, this scripture in Hosea just made so much sense when after the dark period of the lockdown characterized by dryness and lack of warmth in my family, flowers begin to bud and blossom again.  Hosea wrote today’s text to the people of Israel after a time of dryness because they turned to other gods in idolatry. He was calling them back to God and making promises of better days ahead. I was particularly blessed by some of the terms he used. He said God would be like dew to Israel. Dew is made of liquid water that has condensed from some of the water vapor contained in the air. If you have a garden, you will notice that the dew rests on the plants and eventually drips off unto the ground around the plants providing the moisture they need to survive. That means He will be the source of life to them. He said Israel would blossom like the lily. Lilies are flowers that grow from bulbs. The bulbs contain the nutrients necessary for the flower to grow. Lily bulbs are either producing a flower or storing up nutrients to produce a flower for the next summer. That means the lily is always in a cycle of production and storage. That means we will always be fruitful. Everything we need to progress and prosper is already in us. We will either be productive or storing up for the future. He talked of the cedar of Lebanon which is a grand tree planted in the parks and gardens of stately homes and mansions. It has a distinct shape. Its average height is 18-35 meters with a huge trunk of up to 2.5 meters in diameter. It is evergreen with deep and strong roots that spread wide. That means strength, longevity and depth, so much so that other people will flourish in our space because they will find refuge in us. He further refers to Israel in terms of the splendor of the olive tree. They are also evergreens, flowering and ornamental trees. The European olive grows to be 30′ – 40′ feet in height. This olive does well in full sun and can grow in acidic, alkaline, drought tolerant, loamy, moist, sandy, well drained soils. The European Olive tolerates heat, wind and dry conditions very well. That means we will flourish, prosper and be beautiful no matter the circumstances we find ourselves in. He also talks about the fame of Israel being like the wine of Lebanon. Did you know that Lebanon, which is a Middle Eastern country, has an ancient wine culture? Lebanese wine history dates back more than five millennia. Wine was an important export for this ancient culture, and was taken to Egypt in large volumes and traded for gold. It is still a major source of the wine drunk around the world, despite the devastation of war over the years. That suggests that we will have fame for good that knows no boundaries. Then He turns all attention from what He thought of Israel and refers to Himself as a flourishing juniper from where Israel gets her fruitfulness. The Juniper is an impressive plant that comes in more than 50 varieties, some of which are used as an excellent ground cover. There are several reasons to sow ground cover. The biggest reason is to control soil erosion. Most ground cover plants are vigorous spreaders. Ground cover helps to regulate the temperature and moisture of the soil. Gardeners usually choose juniper because it is evergreen, drought-resistant and can add to a garden’s structure and contrast. They are also good-looking shrubs year-round and are tough, durable plants in both the heat and the cold. Are you surprised God refers to Himself as a flourishing juniper? It maintains and holds up the entire garden. That means He holds us up and our essence comes from Him. He makes sure we are not destroyed. As I kept reading up all these descriptions, I realized that the words were carefully selected to say that Israel would get into a season where they would flourish, prosper, be strong, in and out of season, be a place of refuge for other nations- a place known all over the world for abundance as a way of life. We are being ushered into a new season of new experiences in our lives- families, relationships, work, businesses, ministries in ramifications we can never imagine. We are the spiritual Israel and if God promised them so much, how much more does He promise us who are the bride of His dear Son, the apple of His eyes, His children by adoption, His peculiar people. Yesterday to confirm what God is doing in our lives, The Lord showed me Leviticus 26:9 For I will look on you favorably and make you fruitful, multiply you and confirm My covenant with you. I was so excited. I saw it as icing on the cake. My expectations are very high based on these promises. I hope yours are too. Did the COVID 19 Pandemic throw you into the dry place? Did it bring drought into your family? Has it brought fretful moments making life seem very unclear at the moment? Does it look like God is nowhere to be found? Then today’s message is for you. There is a new season coming your way. That is what Hosea was talking about. He was talking to you, child of God. The truth is that with God, every dark season is followed by light. The darkness is now fading away and light is coming in. The dawn is breaking and our lives will blossom again. God is set to do new things that will blow our minds. We must believe it and position ourselves by way of prayer, fasting, being in the Word and being discerning. Like the sons of Issachar, we must be able to discern the rumblings in the Spirit. This is really our time. All you have to do is prepare. Get ready. Put your house in order to receive the visitation of God’s goodness. Expectation is hope and hope fuels faith and does not make us ashamed before God. As you read, be encouraged that God has great plans for us. Have a great week. CK