Part One: Who Are You?

Fresh Manna© by Pastor Tim Burt
http://www.freshmanna.org

Hosea 14:1-2 (NKJV) “O Israel, return to the LORD your God, For you have stumbled because of your iniquity; 2 Take words with you, And return to the LORD. Say to Him, “Take away all iniquity; Receive us graciously, For we will offer the sacrifices of our lips.”

“Who are you?” Do you remember back in your teenage years when you became interested in pursing the opposite sex and got together with that person you thought might become a true love? As you got together, the process of mutual discovery began. I would want to get to know who this girl was as a person and likewise she would want to know who I was. When I think back to my answers of who I said I was, I’m sure there was some truth mixed with the fantasies of who I wanted to be – and probably who I thought she’d like me to be.

We all know that trying to be who you aren’t doesn’t work out for the long haul. We’ve all been guilty of trying to be someone other than who we are to please someone else. It’s something we hopefully grow out of over time. Too often, many grow out of it for the wrong reason. Age. They simply don’t care what others think anymore. It would be better for people to learn to get comfortable in their own skin and with who God created them to be.

I can’t tell you who you are. I hope you can. For me, in learning to honestly discover who I was, I had to learn to discover who God made me to be. Once I learned who God made me to be, I could learn how God expected me to live – the guidelines and boundaries that would promote blessing and protect me from the temptations and destructive places the enemy of my soul would try to lure me into. When I learned who God made me to be and how He wanted me to live, then and only then did I for the first time begin to become settled with who I really was. What a life transforming path that was!

Who does God say we are? I hope the some degree of revelation of “Who we are in Christ” comes forth every time a write a Fresh Manna. But today, let me start out answering the question, “Who am I?” by focusing on today’s Fresh Manna verse in Hosea 14:1-2. (NKJV) “O Israel, return to the LORD your God, for you have stumbled because of your iniquity; Take words with you, And return to the LORD. Say to Him, “Take away all iniquity; Receive us graciously, For we will offer the sacrifices of our lips.”

This verse starts off with Hosea the prophet speaking God’s words directly to them. These are God’s words to His people. He addresses them, “O Israel…” These words – the name God gave Jacob – “Israel,” mean “the power and strength to rule as God.” This is how God addressed them. This is what He named these people – “O Israel” meaning “You the people who I established a covenant with, who I gave power and strength to rule as God in the earth.” Think about that! That is what God named these people! Why? Because they were to become His influencers – His leaders of all He represented in the earth. They were to be His light to all people – the ones to show them God’s ways and God’s power in the earth.

Just like anyone might, they had trouble believing that. They answered the “who are you” question from who they thought they were rather than who God said He created them and covenanted with them to be. They saw themselves as ordinary people who sinned and weren’t capable of much more than becoming like their surroundings caught up in the culture or peer pressure of the day dictating their limited life. Consequently they were often backslidden – entangled in sin, idolatry, and living far outside of God’s will for them. Instead of representing God with lives of power and influence, they lived a mediocre life filled with sin and complacency – a joke to the world.

What did God say to them? “O Israel, return to the LORD your God, for you have stumbled because of your iniquity…” God was crying out for them to come back to be who He created them to be. He then said, “Take words with you, And return to the LORD…” “Take words” means “Take my counsel.” He told them, “Return to Me.” He then told them how. He said,, “Say to Him (Say to God,) “Take away all iniquity; Receive us graciously.” God is the one who at this point said, “Ask me to take away your sins and receive me by my grace.” Grace is the undeserved blessing of God given from His love and mercy as a free gift. He wanted to grace them with forgiveness.

He then told them one more powerful thing to do. He told them to say, “For we will offer the sacrifice of our lips.” That meant they would begin to praise Him for everything He was, for everything He had done in the past for His people, and for all He yet promised to do. Why was this important? Because this praise would help stir in their hearts, “who they were” and “who God created them to be” so that they could answer the question, “who am I.”

It is from this place that “who am I?” becomes more clear. Psalms 95:7 says, “For He is our God; and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand. To day if ye will hear His voice.” If Jesus has become your Lord, then like Israel, you are His people. You aren’t just another guy on the block or in the workplace. You are someone that God established a covenant with through Jesus Christ, who He gave power and strength to, to rule as God in the earth. Hard to believe? Most things God reveals to us about who we are in Him, are difficult to believe. But, it’s the only way you will get to know “Who you really are?” More tomorrow…

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
http://www.freshmanna.org

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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