In his wilder days, my dad had a group that he partied with. They were good guys but they all liked to drink and smoke. A lot. When my dad finally sobered up, he not only had to detox from alcohol, but also from those he had hung out with.
Time after time he would leave the treatment center and go back home and do everything exactly the same.
Nothing changed. His friends were glad to have him back to
Finally he went to rehab, and this time he stayed.
He sobered up.
He got new friends.
He got a new job, new clothes, a new place to live.
And then he decided to stay longer. His new home became Searcy, a town far away from his old life. He knew if he returned to that old way of life, he would revert back to his old self. It would take time to be able to move on.
Years down the road, my dad finally moved back to the old area. He could see those old friends and say hi, chat for a second at the store and then run on. He didn’t hang out with them, party, anything like that.
But slowly, he began to let a few things filter back in. Some of the guys would show up at the house and smoke. So he began smoking again.
And then my Uncle Richard, the last of his brothers, passed away. It was very hard on him, being the oldest and the only one still alive. After the funeral, some of the old friends decided to pay their respects and began talking with my dad.
Right then, they decided it would be a good idea to have a beer for their old buddy Richard. It only took one sip for my dad. He had allowed the influences of the past to take him back to the old ways…
The wife of Hosea the prophet was a former prostitute when God told Hosea to marry her. Even after she left that old way of life, she went back to it time and time again. Each time she repented, however, Hosea lovingly welcomed her back in his arms.
Hosea said, “But then I will win her back once again. I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her there. I will return her vineyards to her and transform the Valley of Trouble[a] into a gateway of hope. She will give herself to me there, as she did long ago when she was young when I freed her from her captivity in Egypt. When that day comes, says the Lord, you will call me ‘my husband’ instead of ‘my master.’[”
This scripture says that Hosea would bring Gomer out of the place where she continued to be lured by sin. He would give her the things she wanted that were good and she would be grateful. She would stop running to her lovers for fulfillment and gifts and run to her husband instead.
Gomer is symbolic for the fickle people of Israel who ran away from and back to God (just like Gomer ran back to Hosea) time and time again. God would take them into the wilderness, away from the temptation to worship idols, and there they would worship the one true God…
The old days are not the “good” old days, if you pursue your lusts and not God. There is no fulfillment, no real fun or joy that comes from it. But if you allow yourself to go back… it will lure you away…right back to where you were.
What you think is “just one time”, “no big deal”, “just one sip”, can lead you into a tailspin.
No alcoholic or drug addict will ever tell you they planned to be one.
There is help! There is hope in Jesus and a comfort through the storms.
by Yalanda Merrell