Think On This
Nettles and Thorns Nettles and Thorns Nettles and Thorns Nettles and Thorns
  • What will ye do in the solemn day, and in the day of the feast of the Lord? or, lo, they are gone because of destruction: Egypt shall gather them up, Memphis shall bury them: the pleasant places for their silver, nettles shall possess them: thorns shall be in their tabernacles. - Hosea 9:5-6
(See also: Proverbs 24:31; Isaiah 34:13.)

Nettles Of Neglect And Thorns Of Forgetfullness Grow Where The Heart Fails To Tend The Important People And Places Of Our Lives As Our Days Pass.

Haven't we all at some time or other stood overlooking a scene that at one time was so fresh and vital to someone's life, maybe our own, but now lies in shambles, with nature all but obscuring it?

Some time ago while reading and studying Hosea again, expecting but unaware at what point I will be moved by His Spirit as I read His Word afresh, I came to verses 5 & 6 of chapter 9 and my soul was arrested. It was as though I sat in black darkness and the only thing I could see were these words shining brilliantly and blindingly before my face. It began seemingly as benign thoughts as I reflected upon the scene of the nettles and thorns of Hosea's day, reclaiming the important places of the people of his time, as they eventually have victory over all man's attempts at permanence. My initial thoughts of those ancient people and their loss shifted ever so subtly to my own time and life. The darkness closed in around me even further as these words glowed brighter into my eyes. My heart began to burn slowly, rising within me.

Suddenly I was consumed! My soul was afire, my mind, my heart, melting into one as my eyes raced across the pages of my own memory to scenes from my past, places and people that gave witness to this verse--the splendor of cherished places long ago, now desolate from time and neglect. A place in time once important, but now divorced from the care of anyone. I thought of my own places, then and now, and how some, like those scenes in my memory and the writings of Hosea were grown over beyond recognition with nettles and thorns of my own neglect and care: personal relationships once so cherished, now a distant memory, days in my life, and that of others, passing now with little or no recall, prayers once so urgent sleep would not come but now tossed aside in lieu of the latest care. The flood seemed overwhelming and unending.

My sadness for some ancient one's tragic loss in Hosea's scenes viewed by my mind's eye quickly had yielded for my own. And then I realized: the tragedy of their day and loss was gone but my time was still now! Restoration, renewal, and rededication was possible if I was not going to live with the nettles and thorns of my own neglect. Intending to set about clearing the fields of my own nettles while wiping my tears, the first glared before me. As hope began building and the pain in my heart beginning to ease, I reached for the phone to call a friend, a devoted prayer partner and dear friend from another time and another place of my past, someone once so important but through neglect had not spoken to or seen in years. I recognized his wife's voice at the other end and she mine. The years seemed to vanish in the warmth and familiarity felt in our spirits during our conversation. However, after sharing for a few moments then finally asking for my old friend, my heart sank once again as she replied, "Oh, Ken. Didn't you know? Leo left to be with the Lord 5 years ago."

Although I heard her remaining words before we ended our conversation, my heart was numb as I sat in tears that came from the news of his departure and the consequences of my neglect and loss. It was then that the tools and time for renewal became of supreme importance to me if I was to clear the nettles and thorns from my own life and be vigilant in their future prevention.

Admittedly, there are many, and some would say it is as much their responsibility to reach out to me, regardless, it remains a daily vigil and a life-long quest. As God places their names and burden upon my heart, I will continue to search and return and clear. May He and they forgive me for my neglect.

God bless you in yours.

- Author: Ken Livingston

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