Summary: Sermon 7 in a study in Hosea
“For they sow the wind and they reap the whirlwind”.
Anyone who has experienced winds strong enough to be classified as tornado or hurricane strength comes away with story after amazing story of what a profound experience it is.
In our most recent memory as this sermon was being prepared, in fact, so recent that the number of dead was at 10 and they were still searching, was the tornado that devastated Greensburg, Kansas on May 4th of 2007.
The news footage of that area was astounding. The tornado was, at one point, 1.7 miles in width, and the winds are estimated to have been about 205 miles per hour. The entire town was torn to shreds; homes and businesses demolished. One picture from the news was of a sports utility vehicle, crushed and partly wrapped around what was left of a tree.
It only took 20 minutes for that storm to hit a thriving community and virtually wipe it off the map.
When we walk down the street on a breezy day our reaction to it will be according to its strength. We may be enjoying it, if the breeze is gentle and helping to relieve us from a warm, noonday sun. If it is stronger we may be irritated as it blows dust in our face. If it is even stronger, it may drive us to duck inside somewhere just to keep from being blown off balance.
But the gusts that most of us experience on any given spring or autumn day can hardly be compared to that which strips trees of foliage and flattens brick buildings to the ground.
Hosea has made a connection between the two though, here in our text, when he says that the people sow a wind but reap a whirlwind. He is speaking of a spiritual principle of cause and effect. He is saying that it is the ‘little sins’ that come back on our heads in spiritual devastation.
Let’s talk for a moment about the difference between the way we see sin and the way God sees sin.
First, let’s just jump right past all of the obvious things we can say about sin and its universal effect. If we are born again believers we understand that the Bible says ‘all have sinned and come short of the glory of God’.
Those who are not born again are still dead in their sin and do not have spiritual life to discern these things at all.
So instead of spending our time describing the Biblical view of sin in general, let me go to where the rubber meets the road and point out that the best of us and the most spiritual of us and the most spiritually aware and scripturally knowledgeable of us still does not see sin the way God sees sin. Because of the fallen nature that continues in us until the day we are glorified, even when we view sin as an affront and an abomination to God, we are yet viewing it through the lens of sin itself.
Because of sin our nature is to deny sin altogether until by His grace the Holy Spirit of God reveals it to us and in us. When that happens and He grants us repentance so that we might turn to Him for salvation, we have now acknowledged sin, but the tendency of the sin nature even as spiritually born children of God, is to then see sin in others but not in ourselves apart from deliberate self-examination and responsiveness to the convicting work of the Holy Spirit.
It is due to the fallen nature still alive and well in us that we put degrees on sin and categorize sins and project guilt on others before ourselves. The father of one of our local church family has been quoted among us as saying, ‘Let me say what’s sin and I’ll be sinless’, and that is precisely what we tend to do, which, itself, is sin and evidence of sin.
So while we say that God has saved us from sin and death through the sacrifice of His only Son on Calvary’s cross, and we read His Word and find that He has now reckoned us justified and forever freed from the guilt and eternal consequences of sin, and we are right in believing these things and rejoicing over them, we have to be constantly on guard against the tendency to project sin on others yet excuse and even deny the presence of it in our own lives.
Because the natural drift of the fallen human nature that we inherited from our father in the flesh, that is Adam, is to go our way and make decisions apart from the counsel of God and act on those in the flesh and justify ourselves in our own minds and presume upon God to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to the ‘little’ things because, after all, we’re not as bad as those who are of the world, indeed, not even as bad as we were when we first believed.