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Too Smart for Faith

Too Smart for Faith

The Lord said to Hosea, “Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom . . . Hosea 1:2

It is not uncommon, working with addicts, to meet those who are too smart for their own good. While the addict must have some knowledge of recovery before he finds it, the addict often thinks himself out of right behavior. I don’t need to go to treatment. I’ve already been there. There’s nothing new I can learn. I already know it all.

I’ve been there. I’m a physician for goodness sake. How is anyone in treatment going to know more than me? At that point, my supposed intelligence was actually a stumbling block as I mistook knowledge for right behavior. Anyone could see that I was a fool, but I still found myself to be quite brilliant. Intelligence and right behavior are not the same.

If faith is keeping our eyes on God and making our feet follow, then one does not need to be overly smart to have tremendous faith. In today’s passage, God commanded his servant Hosea, to marry a prostitute. Hosea could have easily thought himself out of obedience. That can’t be right, God. Your ten commandments say, “Do not commit adultery”. Surely you wouldn’t ask me to marry an adulterer. I must have heard you wrong. I’m not going to marry a prostitute.

I’m not suggesting that adultery isn’t a sin and I’m not suggesting that intelligence is a bad thing. I’m just insisting that we often confuse knowledge for spiritual maturity and faith. Faith and knowledge though, are not the same and often, our supposed intelligence gets in the way of our obedience. God doesn’t want me to give money to the homeless. The bible says if a man doesn’t work, he shouldn’t eat (2 Thessalonians 3:10). I don’t want to enable laziness, so I won’t help the poor.

If we want recovery, faith, and God, we must, like Hosea, practice radical obedience. When we hear God asking us to do a thing, like a child, we must follow (Mark 10:15), or we will naturally think our way out of faith.

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  1. Sarah says:

    If you were to continue on in this passage it would appear that God was using Hosea and his family as an illustration of his own relationship with Israel, as a visual lesson to them you night say – Hosea went into this knowing that his wife was going to commit adultery, how many of us could say that we would willingly enter into something that was going to be so painful and not really of “benefit” to us, but instead serve as a lesson to others? Hosea though, was being obedient to God regardless of the pain and discomfort it would cause him personally as this is what God had commanded. I don’t know that I could say I would be so willing to suffer pain and consequences like that knowing it wouldn’t directly benefit myself (selfish, much?!) Rather, I feel it’s not uncommon for me to instead sit and overthink things rather than to just simply listen, trust, and obey (as Hosea did)

  2. JoAnn says:

    This act of obedience requires so much faith. After imperfectly following Christ for 10 years I’ve learned that He builds my trust through when I am in right relationship with Him. This trust-building helps me to rely on His guidance in my life so that when He asks the hard things of me I can obey because we’ve been building a right relationship of trust. I think I would need to battle my flesh in order to obey – Hosea probably did – the ramifications of obedience through faith and trust can be huge even when I don’t benefit in this life which I think is pretty cool to see God working to help others…so maybe the book of Hosea is also about destroying our own selfishness in order to serve God.

    • Scott says:

      It seems to me that faith and obedience are so intertwined that obedience must be part of my definition of faith. Peter had to step out of the boat, keeping his eyes on Christ, making his feet follow his gaze, to practice faith. I often mistake faith to be just a purposeful thought, but true faith requires action I think. Thanks JoAnn!

  3. JoAnn says:

    Agreed. It’s active and suspends our own individual sel-importance each time one walks so closely with Jesus. It would be nice if it lasted more than moment it takes me to look down at my own feet but how wonderfully peaceful it is to wholly move towards Christ (like Peter) before I refocus myself.

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