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On Monday, April 12th, I’ll be on Midday Connection talking about A Mighty Fortress. But now I want to move to a much more tender picture of the Lord, the one that means the most to me.

The following excerpt is from The God of All Comfort.

I’m not giving away Steve’s trench coat. I want to see it when I open the closet. I want to run my hand through its soft furry lining. If I have to run up to our mailbox in the rain, it’s that trench coat I reach for—a sheltering shield covering me from head to foot, protecting me from the wet, yet flooding my heart with memories:

*The day I met him—a cold February day on the campus of Northwestern University. He caught up with me after class and introduced himself. I was so excited that this man whom I’d secretly admired was approaching me that I was trembling. Steve thought I was shaking from the cold wind off of Lake Michigan, and there, right in front of Deering Library, with hundreds of students passing by, he gallantly took off his trench coat and put it over my shoulders. My knees nearly buckled.

*Our first date, just two days later—shy with each other while we were walking to the movie. Suddenly the sky opened up, pouring down buckets and buckets of water. Steve opened his coat and tucked me in, covering me, as we ran laughing into the theatre.

*Running into him by surprise downtown. We’d been married twenty-five years, but my heart still did flip flops to see him. I saw him first: taking long strides, looking strikingly handsome and masculine. His hands were in the pockets of that trench coat, his head down—concentrating, thinking hard about something. I stood still, right in the middle of his path, smiling, anticipating his reaction. Startled to be blocked, he stopped and looked up. A sudden smile of delight, then, that laugh I loved. He spread his arms, which opened his coat like sheltering wings, inviting me in. There we were, on Central Avenue, enveloped together, more in love than newlyweds.

Why do these memories of Steve in his trenchcoat warm my heart? Why do I love the romantic movies that close with a man, often in a trenchcoat, racing to rescue a woman in the rain?

Love stories that move our hearts, if we look deeply enough, point to Jesus. Watching rescue scenes in rainy romantic movies comforts me is because I am reminded of the ultimate Rescuer. I am reminded of Jesus, the Lover of my Soul, the One who will either stop the storm or will cover me with His wing, keeping me warm and safe until the storms of life are past.

There is a Hebrew word, “kanaph” used repeatedly of the Lord in Scripture — sometimes it is translated shadow or wing. It is also used in the love stories of Ruth and Hosea, when Boaz covered Ruth and when Hosea covered Gomer.

Here we go — I might tell you this is my favorite chapter in the book — so I’m anticipating we will have both a joyous and meaningful time as we search together.

1. For fun, what are some of your favorite love stories in books or movies? When your heart is deeply moved, often it is because it touches that deepest place in you that yearns for the One who will truly cover you. How can you see that? (Extra points for romantic rainy rescue movies!)

2. In the book of Ruth, how were both Naomi and Ruth “bereft” of their covering? (If you read the story in The God of All Comfort of my friend Jill, how was her bridegroom a contemporary kinsman-redeemer?)

3. The above painting by Martin French is from Hosea. These passages are challenging, but so meaningful, so go slowly.

A. What did Hosea’s wife do and why, according to Hosea? (Hosea 2:8)

B. Reflect on Hosea 2:15-17. God allowed Gomer to feel enormous pain from her lovers — but what was His ultimate purpose?

C. The scene in chapter 3 is cryptic, but important. Gomer is naked on the auction block, her lovers are selling her. What does Hosea do and say to her? (3:1-3)

D. How does this apply to your life?

4. Psalm 91 translates the word “kanaph” as wings in verse 4. What do you learn from this psalm?

5. What hymns or spiritual songs or even contemporary love songs remind you of this concept?

6. What are some ways the Lord has covered you — in the past, or right now?

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  1. Oh wow! Where might I find a print of that image?? Love it!

      1. Thanks 🙂

      2. Those are truly wonderful, insightful drawings. I often revisit the study just to look at the pictures and pick up forgotten things that I learned…

  2. 1.The Last of the Mohican’s: Daniel Day Lewis, plays an Indian. Bare chested in beads and leather, is under the water fall with Cora, his beautiful lover. In the background is her sister and a few soldiers all out of gunpowder being tracked by a fierce enemy of Indians.

    Daniel has to leave her to get help to survive, “Stay alive! Whatever happens just stay alive!” I will find you! No matter what, I will find you!” he yells over the crashing falls.

    He then dives off the cliff and into the raging falls.

    Such great lengths he goes to for her … just like the Lover of our souls.

    Be still my heart …

    Loved your story about your man Dee, thanks for sharing.

      1. It is very bloody, but it shows the pursuit and sacrifices of Christ towards us. Who is Tom Keller, if I may ask?

  3. 3. The above painting by Martin French is from Hosea. These passages are challenging, but so meaningful, so go slowly.

    A. What did Hosea’s wife do and why, according to Hosea? (Hosea 2:8)

    She has not acknowledged that I was the one
    who gave her the grain, the new wine and oil,
    who lavished on her the silver and gold—
    which they used for Baal.

    Hosea’s wife did not only refuse to acknowledge what Hosea had provided for her but also gave these things to her lovers who offered them to Baal. (I think I’m interpreting this correctly.. if not feel free to tell me)

    B. Reflect on Hosea 2:15-17. God allowed Gomer to feel enormous pain from her lovers — but what was His ultimate purpose?

    15 There I will give her back her vineyards,
    and will make the Valley of Achor [a] a door of hope.
    There she will sing [b] as in the days of her youth,
    as in the day she came up out of Egypt.
    16 “In that day,” declares the LORD,
    “you will call me ‘my husband’;
    you will no longer call me ‘my master. [c] ‘
    17 I will remove the names of the Baals from her lips;
    no longer will their names be invoked.

    God’s ultimate purpose is to cleanse her from her infidelity and restore her from the stains of the Baals. She will be free and happy again. According to the footnote, “Achor” means “trouble”… God will turn her trouble into hope. What better covering is there than that?

    C. The scene in chapter 3 is cryptic, but important. Gomer is naked on the auction block, her lovers are selling her. What does Hosea do and say to her? (3:1-3)

    Hosea 3

    Hosea’s Reconciliation With His Wife

    1 The LORD said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the LORD loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.”
    2 So I bought her for fifteen shekels [a] of silver and about a homer and a lethek [b] of barley. 3 Then I told her, “You are to live with [c] me many days; you must not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man, and I will live with [d] you.”

    Hosea buys her back with fifteen shekels of silver and makes the agreement that she will live with him but she is to be faithful.

    D. How does this apply to your life?

    God has rescued me from many things, including my own quest to be perfect and make it on my own frail human strength. He is the Lover of my Soul and I can see how badly He wants to protect me by going to the Cross for me. I can apply this to my life by seeing that this extends the message of Easter into the rest of the year. Salvation is personal and ongoing forever. He is my only redemption, my only cover. He is all I need. I will cling to Him as the Ultimate Lover.

    4. Psalm 91 translates the word “kanaph” as wings in verse 4. What do you learn from this psalm?

    This is one of my favorite Psalms because it illustrates the protection of God. It is no coincidence that I just read this verse on a friend’s blog a few minutes before working on these questions! I learn that God is my ultimate cover, my protector, keeping me safe from what could tear me apart at every second. I am totally, utterly safe. Forever.

    5. What hymns or spiritual songs or even contemporary love songs remind you of this concept?

    I love old jazz music and a friend of mine sent me a record years ago called “Let Me Share Your Name” by jazz singer June Christy. The lyrics remind me so much of Christ’s love for me even though it is a secular song. One thing I particularly like about it is that it is from the perspective of the beloved, to her lover.

    V1: Take me with you where you go
    I’ll cause you no pain
    I’ll be oh so proud if you let me share your name

    V2: Where you come from, where you go,
    Only angels tell.
    Where your footsteps fall, let my footsteps fall as well.

    V3: Where your heart goes, there goes mine
    Take me with you, dear!
    Then this joy of mine will be thine when I’m so near

    V4: Take me with you where you go
    I’ll cause you no pain
    I’ll be oh so proud if you let me share your name.

    6. What are some ways the Lord has covered you — in the past, or right now?

    Christ is covering me right now with the deepest, richest feathers of love and understanding of Who He is. He is teaching me, confiding more of His truth in me all the time. (thanks for the lovely verse, Dee, about this) I feel myself wrapped in His love day in and day out, no matter how I feel otherwise. Feelings are decreasing and He increases with every breath.

      1. Unfortunately it’s not on iTunes. I’ll need to find a cd and load it onto my computer and then I can share it. It’s from a very old and rare 45 rpm!

  4. 1. Do you deduct points for those of us who enjoy movies while we watch them, but can’t recall them later?? I’ve been writing all day . . . and all I can think of are The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast (the story in that one did get to me!). Does it help that The Little Mermaid has water images? 🙂

  5. I love movies!

    Breakfast at Tiffany’s–final scene (both are wearing trench coats, but their love is their covering:


  6. Mirror Has Two Faces, final scene — if you are like me and love (and pray for) Streisand:


  7. 2.Ruth and Naomi were alone in the world with no husbands to cover them. What is a husband’s covering? More than protection and provision, I think. He is responsible to God for all things in relation to me, not that I have no responsibility, mine are just different, perhaps to my husband. The other thing I think of in relation to a husband is one who sees my faults and loves me anyway. Chapter 9 speaks of passion which brings to mind all things romantic. There is also the passion of similar loves extending outward into the world. I guess this would mean being called to the same mission. But I think what passion means to me is being loved for who I am and not what I do and that is how Christ loves us. His passion for me is so great that He gave His life for me. He wants to be with me, to laugh with me, to delight in all things good with me (what so ever things are pure…). Because of my present sinful nature I must also be disciplined, which will not always be so, but for now this is His responsibility.

    In my reading this morning Luke 13:6-9 stood out to me. The parable of the barren fig tree. The owner wanted to cut it down because it had not borne fruit for years. The vine dresser asked permission to cultivate it to see if it could bear. If I am barren, Jesus will minister to me and help me to bear fruit because He loves me. I can’t really do it on my own. All I can do is stay in relationship and obedience to Him. I’m thinking also that this ‘cultivation’ may not be pleasant.

      1. yes! true, authentic following God with all our flaws, but in hot pursuit: He for us and us for him and bringing others along! Yes!

      2. I will go back and look at that parable again. I did notice that each one seemed to follow a theme. I guess that is the word. It seemed that you had to put them in order and get the context that He was speaking from and who He was speaking to.

  8. #1. The movie that kept coming to my mind is not a romantic love story, but it is a love story on a much, much deeper level. The movie is “Driving Miss Daisy”. I love how Hoke, played by Morgan Freeman, begins to win-over Miss Daisy with his cheerful persistence.
    The movie is so touching on a deep level at the end when they are both very elderly, and she takes Hoke’s hand and tells him, “Hoke, you’re my best friend.” She has become confused and a little fearful, and he comforts her. It’s a story about a beautiful friendship that endures the test of time and frailty. She becomes so vulnerable, and Hoke is so gentle with her, treating her with tenderness and dignity.
    It stirs in me a longing for “covering” when I am at my weakest,
    when I am afraid; a longing for understanding, not someone being
    condescending; for being treated with dignity even when my frailties
    are exposed.

    And now, this whole idea of “covering” is taking me back to the book of Genesis, in chapter 9, where the account of Noah drinking wine and getting drunk is told. Noah uncovered himself inside his tent. And Ham saw his father’s nakedness and told his two brothers outside.
    I wonder how he said it. Was it, “Hey guys, come look at this! Dad’s passed out naked and drunk in his tent!”

    “But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it upon both their shoulders and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were turned away, so that they did not see their father’s nakedness.”

    1. Susan that story of … Miss Daisy sounds wonderful.

    2. Another movie with a deep friendship like “Driving Miss Daisy” is “Guarding Tess,” starring Shirley MacLaine & Nicholas Cage. She is a former First Lady and he is the head of the Secret Service assigned to gaurd her.

      I enjoy watching both of these movies over & over!

      And if you haven’t read Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers, please do! It’s the best! Every time I read it, I’m deeply moved. I always think about how my Lord persues me even when I’m chasing after other lovers. He never gives up!

      1. Love “Guarding Tess”!

  9. My favorite movie is hands down The Notebook. I recommend the t.v. version (less racy) The two scenes that I love most are the dock scene where it is pouring rain (extra points) and she yells that she’s waited seven years for him. The other is the sweet scene where he is dancing with her (after she has dementia) and for a few seconds she remembers their love. I love this movie because it tells the story of love that lasts through suffering no matter what the cost. There are many great love scenes but none affect me like those where the couple is in a committed marriage.
    A favorite book of mine is Redeeming love by Francine Rivers. This novel is based on Hosea and would be a great read. I love the final chapter of this study and enjoyed the love story of Dee and Steve. It reminds me to be thankful for my good husband and cherish every moment with him.
    Esther and Ruth’s circumstances were dire, to say the least. They were without husbands or sons to care, provide and protect them not to mention they were in the foreign land of Moab.
    Few things stir a woman’s heart like when her man sticks up for her and protects her. In Family Man, Jack (I think) sings La la la la la la la la la la,,, I love you to his wife in front of all their guests at her birthday party. This stops a woman whose been flirting with him, in her tracts. Sorry, no rain here but another good love story.

    1. I totally forgot The Notebook, but yes! Reedeeming Love, yes, yes, yes!!!

    2. I too loved Redeeming Love.

  10. Jesus, Lover of my soul,
    Jesus, I will never let you go
    You’ve taken me from the miry clay
    You’ve set my feet upon the Rock, and now i know

    I love you, I need you,
    Though my world may fall, I’ll never let you go
    My Saviour, my closest friend,
    I will worship you until the very end


    [as many times as needed, Jesus] 🙂

  11. I am starting a new schedule in which I have to be at work at 5:30am but get off at 4pm. My manager has been very helpful in light of what has happened with Joey. This way he is not home alone for extended periods. I start tomorrow so I don’t think I will be able to do much more with this posting. I have done most of the questions so I will post what I have. It is kind of involved but appropriate I think. I wanted to fine tune a little more but I hope it will be ok.

    The Lord has helped me so much at work lately. I feel sure I am being prayed for and I so appreciate it. Thank you all.

    1. I’m praying for you!

      1. Thanks so much Tracy

  12. 2. In the book of Ruth, how were both Naomi and Ruth “bereft” of their covering?
    Their husbands have died and left them with no means of support, and no male protection.

    3A. What did Hosea’s wife do and why, according to Hosea 2:8?
    She didn’t acknowledge where her support was from. Not only that, she misused the things Hosea gave her to sustain her by sharing them with her “lovers.” This reminds me of myself with food. God gives me all the food I need, just the kind I need…I want for nothing! Yet, I use it to fill a void in my heart that is meant only for the Lover of my soul!

    1. I know what you mean, Marlys! And even when I am eating “good for you” food, I tend to overeat. I LOVE to eat.

      I have, however, lost 30 lbs over the last several years, eating right and exercising. I feel SO much better and have so much more energy, but still I find myself “filling the void” with food, or my favorite beer, or with way too many cups of hot chocolate (homemade and sweetened with raw honey, but still caloric)

      Of course, it’s harder to fill the void with asparagus than with brownies, but I give it my best shot sometimes. 🙂

      I like your advice on an earlier post. Something you put on your fridge and TV. What was it? Gloris

      1. Hi Gloriadelia
        It was I who shared my refrigerator sign. Here’s what I wrote to myself:

        Are You
        What’s inside of here cannot help you. Run to the well of Living Water and drink. Open the Breadbox which contains the Bread of Life. There you can feast and be satisfied.

  13. 3a.Gomer spent God’s gifts on her lovers who sacrificed them to Baal. She did not recognize that they were from Him and that they were gifts. She thought that she had earned them because she was just that good.

    3b.God’s purpose in allowing Gomer to suffer was that she would realize that He loves her and that her lovers do not. He was wooing her back to Himself. He wanted to bless her but not until she understood His love and would return to Him in faithfulness.

    3c.Hosea bought her and told her that she must be faithful to him and that he would also be faithful to her. He tells her that she must spend many days is faithfulness. I think she needed time to heal.

    3D. How does this apply to your life?
    While I was just as blind and unfaithful Jesus bought me with His own suffering to the death. He calls me to prove my faithfulness to Him. By that I mean sustained faithfulness. I think now may be the time to share why Hosea is so powerful in my life. It is a long story…
    God called me as a child and I was saved but not discipled. As a teen I tried to be faithful but found the allure of the world too strong for me (because I tried to do it in my own strength). At 18 God called me but I turned away. I remember the moment, my hands on the handlebars of my bicycle, when I decided to do it my way. I lived at the time in the only home I had known and was preparing to move to North Carolina with my family. My plan was to find a way to stay in Rhode Island. My way got me to North Carolina soon afterward where I lived for the next 33 years, until I happened on a trip to RI in 2005 for business purposes. During my time in the desert I spent 10 years in rebellion from the Lord and the rest of it trying to come back to Him. During my visit ‘back home’ God spoke to me as you said Dee, deep calling to deep. I was sitting on the porch of a motel taking in the sights and smells of home when God spoke to my heart. Not in audible words, but I knew He was speaking to me. He said “Are you ready now?” and I melted. I was so ready. But nothing seemed to really happen except for inside my heart. I thought I would find some great ministry but I have not. In 2007 I had brain surgery and then my family broke and was restored by His grace and power. I don’t think I will do anything profound until I have drawn near to Him, if even then.
    I was drawn to Hosea for years before I found Dee’s study. I didn’t know why or what was there for me but I kept going back to it. I think I already shared how I came upon the Living In Love With Jesus study which brings me to today.
    What I know for sure that these verses say to me is that you do not turn away from God in unfaithfulness and just bounce back in when you are ready. You come back but not mature and ready to be a ministering part of the church. I needed to be purified. I needed the destruction of my flesh. I had to spend many days in faithfulness. He is also spending many days in faithfulness to me carrying me through painful cultivation. That is how these verses apply to my life.

    1. Thank you for sharing, you encouraged me today, Anne

    2. Very wise.

    1. God laid you on my heart already this morning. He loves you and your crew and those listening, blessings!

    2. Praying and listening today, Dee.

    3. Praying for you too, today Dee! May the good hand of our Father rest upon you! Thank you for all you do! You are a blessing! Thank you!

  14. Praying for you, Dee, for your taping, the listeners, and your upcoming event in KC. ! I am so thankful for this study (right now, I am a little too wiped out to post much)

  15. Dee, I just listened to you on Midday Connection I live in Davenport, Iowa and listen everyday what a blessing you were to me today God always knows what we need to here from Him. I am a busy babysitting grandmother and listen to Midday while working in the kitchen I sat down to listen to you as you were talking about you wonderful husband. My daughter suffered with cancer for many years until she went home to be with her Lord nine years ago. The way in which she lived those many years of suffering showed the glory God she was an inspiration to many people so I guess I related to your talk today. And I am going to purchase your Book God of All Comfort because He certainly is. I am at present writing the story of my daughters battle with cancer hoping the comfort God gave her and myself will bring glory to His name and comfort someone else. I am praying for your ministry and so glad God led me to set down and listen to Midday today. Judy

    1. my heart goes out to you and yours for your loss. God bless you as you write.

      yours in Christ,

  16. Going out to listen to Midday Connection. Judy I also am very sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing with us.

    Today went very well with my new time at work. It was just right. When I got home at 4:30 I cooked for Joey and we both sensed how right it was. Thanks for the prayers. I feel so fortunate in my current work situation. My managers are all Christians and I don’t mean just nominal ones. They are so dear. Thank you Lord. He closed a few doors to put me in this situation.

    Dee, I sense that we are near the end of this study and that makes me so sad. I finished the book Saturday and you are right, it is good, very good. praise the Lord.

  17. 5. The song I thought of first is “Under His Wings.” This is not my first choice of music “style” — so the lyrics are particularly powerful when I read them again. (Might have to look on YouTube to see if there is a contemporary version, because I love the lyrics!)

    Under His wings I am safely abiding,
    Though the night deepens and tempests are wild,
    Still I can trust Him; I know He will keep me,
    He has redeemed me, and I am His child.


    Under His wings, under His wings,
    Who from His love can sever?
    Under His wings my soul shall abide,
    Safely abide forever.

    Under His wings, what a refuge in sorrow!
    How the heart yearningly turns to His rest!
    Often when earth has no balm for my healing,
    There I find comfort, and there I am blessed.


    Under His wings, oh, what precious enjoyment!
    There will I hide till life’s trials are o’er;
    Sheltered, protected, no evil can harm me,
    Resting in Jesus, I’m safe evermore.


  18. Another one altogether: Under His Wings http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUBV4BAZAC0

  19. I’m encouraged by why God is so patient with us: We are made to know His glory, and are (being) prepared for Him. In Romans 9, Paul cites Hosea. Rom 9: 22-26 says,

    “What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles? As he says in Hosea:
    “I will call them ‘my people’ who are not my people; and I will call her ‘my loved one’ who is not my loved one,”and, “It will happen that in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’ ”

    From I Chronicles 16: (In this study, we’ve been learning to sing to the Lord! I’m overwhelmed that He has chosen me to proclaim his salvation; I pray that my life and my words will Declare His Glory.)

    Sing to the LORD, all the earth;
    proclaim his salvation day after day.
    Declare his glory among the nations,
    his marvelous deeds among all peoples.
    For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;
    he is to be feared above all gods.

    1. Amen to that!

    2. Thanks for sharing this Renee. I am thinking and praying over it. I know that it was when I returned to the physical place where I turned away that God called me back…amazing. For all of us with loved ones gone astray I am praying that in His timing God will bring them back to that place and call them again. Lord, may they each one be your objects of mercy, called according to Your purpose.

  20. Dear Anne,

    I have to comment on your above posting, sharing your testimony. Wow.
    It was beautiful. I think, speaking for myself, we have all been there, spending time in the desert, rebelling against the Lord.
    I also understand what you mean by becoming a Christian, but not being discipled. I didn’t come to know the Lord until i was an adult; I was not in a Bible teaching church until I was 34 years old.
    It is only by the grace of God I was saved, because I was totally ignorant about God. When I got married, and my husband and I had some premarital counseling by a pastor in his church, we were asked the question, “How do you think God sees you”? and I wrote something like “I think God sees me as a pretty good person, I’ve done some wrong things, but I think God forgives me”.
    My spiritual growth has been painfully slow because I have lacked,I believe, that one on one discipleship, and it is hard because most of the people surrounding me, in my own family, are not believers.

    But, you mentioned that you don’t think you will do anything profound,….if ever. And you also thought that you would find some great ministry. Well, I want to encourage you today. I’m a nurse, too, though I just work PRN. I often think that if I even ask a patient if they want a drink of water, and hold the cup and straw for them if they can’t do it for themselves, that I am doing something important for Jesus. I’m giving a cup of cold water in His name.
    Your cooking dinner for your family and cleaning up the dishes is an important ministry, as well as the laundry, cleaning the toilets, and all the other household tasks that you do. Who would do them if you were not there?

    Also, one day while I was cleaning, I was thinking about you and how you were praying for the girl who had texted your son. I thought about how big your heart was to be concerned and even willing to talk to that girl. Me, I most likely would have been rather selfish and just wanted to get her away from my son, and that’s that. YOu had said on an earlier blog posting that you wanted prayer because you wanted to love others more. I think that is evidence of loving others more by your caring about what happens to that girl and talking to her grandmother, I think it was, and praying for her. That is an evidence of love. Love, in the Bible, is not described as mushy feeling, but actions.

    Also, I liked how you prayed that if your son was involved in something wrong, you wanted him to get caught. I prayed that prayer for my college-age son a few days ago. I started getting calls on my cell phone from the college, and voice mails from the student health center. I called my son and asked him what did he need to have a follow up appt. with a counselor for? He was taken to the health center last Saturday night by his friends because he was drunk and was really, really sick. I would never have known because, of confidentiality, But somehow (!) they had my cell phone number and were calling me instead of him. So if I may ask for prayer for my son, please pray that God would lay a heavy hand of conviction upon him to turn him away from the desire to drink. I also want to talk with him more about this, but need the right timing and his heart to be receptive, otherwise he will just “turn off” his ears. Not being saved in college, I did drink and do my share of partying. But I want more than that for my son. My opinion of alcohol is certainly different now after addictions have taken the lives of two members of my family.

    1. Susan, What an answer to prayer about him getting caught! Will pray for him, that his heart will be receptive to you talking with him, and for you, too.

  21. #2. In Ruth, how were both Naomi and Ruth bereft of their covering?

    Naomi’s husband died, and then 10 yrs. later, both of her sons died. Ruth also lost her husband, and her father-in-law was already deceased. They had no one to provide for them, no physical protection, no provision of anything – even money to buy food. For Naomi, no one to care for her as she became old.

    Beautiful story in Dee’s book about Jill and how her second husband restored her and her children’s covering!

    #3. A. What did Hosea’s wife do, and why, according to Hosea 2:8?

    “For she does not know that it was I Who gave her the grain, the new wine, and the oil, and lavished on her silver and gold, which they used for Baal.”

    I think this passage also speaks of God’s covenant relationship to Israel, how He is the One who has given her (Israel) everything she has; her grain, wine, oil; He has provided for her basic needs. He has even lavished precious gifts on her; gold and silver. But Israel behaves as if she doesn’t know that it was God Who gave her all these things; in fact, she uses God’s gifts to make idols for herself to worship. It is a metaphor of adultery. It shows what a heart of ingratitude can lead to.

    B. Reflect on Hosea 2:15-17. God allowed Gomer to feel enormous pain from her lovers – but what was His ultimate purpose?

    One of the most beautiful passages is:

    “And it will come about in that day”, declares the Lord, “That you will call me Ishi (my husband) and will no longer call Me Baali (my master, or my Baal).”

    God’s ultimate purpose was to reconcile, to restore their covenant relationship. This passage reads like a love letter; I can see and feel God’s heart for His people. He longs to be a Husband, to care for, provide for, nurture and cherish His bride. He does not want to be a “master” or “owner” in which His bride would serve Him out of fear, or duty, but He wants His love to be returned.

    C. What does Hosea do and say in Hosea 3:1-3?

    From the Amplified Bible:

    Then said the Lord to me, Go again, love (the same) woman (Gomer) who is beloved of a paramour and is an adulteress, even as the Lord loves the children of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love cakes of raisins (used in the sacrificial feasts in idol worship).

    So I bought her for fifteen pieces of silver and a homer and a half of barley (the price of a slave). And I said to her, You shall be (betrothed) to me for many days; you shall not play the harlot and you shall not belong to another man. So will I also be to you (until you have proved your loyalty to me and our marital relations may be resumed).

    God tells Hosea to go again and love Gomer, even though she is an adulteress, to love her even as He loves Israel, though they are spiritual adulterers. Hosea buys Gomer back, for the price of a slave,and she will live with him but must prove her faithfulness before their full husband and wife relationship will be restored.

  22. #4. How does this apply to your life?

    I just had a thought, “the price of a slave”. The Bible tells me that before I was saved, Satan was my owner and master, and I was a slave to sin. What price had to be paid to free me from my terrible master?

    “Knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:18-19)

    If only I could sear that on my mind and heart, when I want to go my own way. That to buy me back off the slave block cost Jesus His life.
    It’s when I have an ungrateful, thankless spirit, and that leads to a sense of entitlement and pride, that I get into great trouble.
    What an “adulteress” I can be, just like Gomer, just like the Israelites! Accepting God’s goodness toward me and then turning my back on Him. What are my idols? One of them is me, “little-g god”.
    I like to think I look pretty good on the outside, I’m doing rather well. But God sees the heart of the matter and sees the wretched woman on the auction block, naked, dirty, sinful.
    And so what does He do? What did He do? Washes me with His Own blood, and clothes me in a fine garment called His righteousness.
    That’s what I need prayer for. I forget. I become ungrateful.

    1. Good post Susan…it is very similar to my thoughts this morning…misusing God’s gifts and having to go back to the cross for that cleansing. Idolatry rears its ugly head in my life and I am so disappointed when I slip from under His covering because I want my own way. The Lord’s heart toward us continues to amaze me. He delivers me from the snare of the trapper… if I would stay under His wings. I have loved the example of Gomer and Hosea. The Lord desires that Husband and wife intimacy and He keeps wooing us back. I have to say it…Amazing Love, how can it be.
      It has been a blessing to read all of your comments. Thank you.

  23. I will pray for you Susan. Thank you for your honesty. Thanks also for pointing out some answered prayer for me. It was very hard for me to confess my hard heart. Doing it in writing is easier for me because I can’t stand blubbering all over everyone. But when you point this out I look at myself and see that I have changed some. God is answering our prayers and we are growing. It is painful but so very worth it.

    I had to lol(laugh out loud) when you told the story about getting the calls about your son and the snafu with the phone numbers. When I was telling the mom that I prayed that prayer with what had happened with Joey, she looked at me just as serious and said “Yea, God really answers that one doesn’t He”. I’m sorry that alcohol has been so devastating in your family but I know it is a power the enemy has lost. God will use it for good even now. We have to trust Him.

    Dee I am very glad to hear that we will continue to study. This has become precious to me and it seems that God is so at work among us.

    1. I think that your “hard heart” has become a very soft heart toward the Lord, and also pliable, as He is growing and shaping you and molding you into the image of His Son!

      You will impact the lives of those whom you minister to at your job, you minister to your family, and you minister to all of us in this study as you share your spiritual growth with us.

  24. You asked, “What are some ways the Lord has covered you –in the past or right now.”

    Well, reading your blog this evening and then reading it later to my husband was a great comfort to me; a warm covering.

    Love your blog and all your insightful questions, Dee. Gloris

  25. #9. What do you learn from Psalm 91?

    I learn some of the many attributes of our God in regards to His protection:

    He is shelter, refuge, a fortress, One whom I can trust, a Deliverer, a Coverer, faithful, a shield and a bulwark, a dwelling place, commander of the angels. He is with me in trouble, He rescues and saves.

  26. 4. Psalm 91 translates the word “kanaph” as wings in verse 4. What do you learn from this psalm?

    4 He will cover you with His feathers;
    you will take refuge under His wings.
    His faithfulness will be a protective shield.

    His kanaph is a protective shield for me. We have associated it with the love, protection, faithfulness and passion of a husband. It is shelter in which I can rest, His faithfulness in which I can trust. He will never hurt me but He will grow me. He is passionate toward me and all of His creation. One of the worst qualities a person can have is lack of passion. When a person just does not care, whether about me or anything else, it is almost as bad as malevolence. There is something so empty about it, the kind of empty that sucks me into it because I tend to react in the same way.

    It seems odd to associate wings with a shield. Wings are soft and a shield must be hard to be effective. I’m not sure what that can mean. Maybe the protection lies in the faithfulness and strength of the One whose wing it is. Wings are soft and warm and can be right over me and still be comfortable while a hard shield would not. I wonder if their ability to flex and let some things through might be important.

    Another meaning for the word kanaph is border or edge giving me boundaries. I have read that children are more secure when playing inside a fenced area that out in the open. In the same way boundaries are security for me. This is why His commands and laws are my security.

    1. Anne, I’m so glad you posted this (interesting thoughts about feathers, by the way!).

      Right now, I’m wrestling with whether to “not care” about something. I tend to become SO passionate about some things that I pour my heart and soul into them for intense focused periods of time. But then, sometimes those times get dragged out longer than I had anticipated, “jerks” get on my nerves, I feel inadequate to advocate for “non-jerks,” and I’m tempted to give up.

      In writing this, God has pointed out to me the solution: my inadequacy. In my weakness, He is strong. (When will I learn to recognize/acknowledge my weakness BEFORE I get to this point?). This chick’s gonna (by God’s grace) shift from crazy work mode to balanced prayer mode. I know I can’t even pray without His work in me. . . too tired.

  27. 1. Favorite love story in books/movies?

    For me, Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility is one of my favorite movies. There is the scene where Marianne Dashwood walks and walks to the border of the neighboring estate where Mr. Willoughby (her first love who turned out to be a cad) is living with his new wife. Marianne gets caught in the rain, falls ill, and Colonel Brandon (who was fond of Marianne) helps with her recovery. He sits and reads poetry to her. In the end they marry. What I like about the Colonel Brandon character is the fact that he thinks of Marianne’s well-being when she is ill. He stands outside the door and wants to know how can he help. Marianne’s sister Elinor asks him to get their mother. He gets on his horse and off he goes on his errand of mercy.

    2. How were Naomi and Ruth “bereft” of their covering?

    Naomi first lost her husband and then her two sons. Ruth lost her husband and chose to follow Naomi back to Bethlehem leaving behind her parents and other family members in Moab. Both women lived at the mercy of society. The Law of Moses (Deut. 24:19-22) commanded owners of fields, olive groves, and vineyards to leave what was left after first gleaning for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow.

    3. A. What did Hosea’s wife do and why, according to Hosea? Hosea 2:8

    Gomer gave all she had gotten from Hosea as a sacrifice to Baal. One commentary I read stated that she may have turned her precious metals into Baal. Why? To Gomer Baal was the source of blessings. In reality Baal was master over Gomer. She was enslaved to Baal.

    B. Hosea 2:15-17 God’s ultimate purpose for Gomer’s pain.

    God’s ultimate purpose for Gomer’s pain was repentance. He wanted her to acknowlege her sin, repent, reconcile so full restoration of marital relationship could occur.

    C. Hosea 3:1-3 What does Hosea do and say to her?

    Hosea burys Gomer from the man who owned her. He isolates her so she cannot return to life as a harlot. He describes to the general conditions in which she would live. She would abide at home and devote herself to household duties. During this time of isolation there would be no marital relations.

    D. Application to my life.

    This particular study has really hit home with me and I’ve had to ponder it alot. Spiritually, I was Gomer for many years. My ‘Baal’ almost destroyed me inside and out but looking back I can see how faithful God was to me in my time of unfaithfulness. Since the annulment of my marriage I have felt isolated as if I’m in a cocoon. It’s hard to put into words. So many don’t understand why I’m waiting to find that next “someone” in my life. After everything I have endured I don’t want to make the same mistake twice. I don’t want to put another man ahead of Christ.

    4. What do I learn from Psalm 91?

    From Psalm 91 I learn that when I fully trust God, He will take care of me in every situation. I no longer live in fear because I know without a shadow of a doubt God is control of everything happening in my life. I recently read Henry Blackaby’s book CREATED TO BE GOD’S FRIEND: HOW GOD SHAPES THOSE HE LOVES. Blackaby writes, “God will regularly reveal His Covenant by intervening in your life and saving you out of your failures.” I see Psalm 91 as a picture of God’s Covenant relationship with his people. He promises to rescue me even when I am the cause of the trouble in my life.

    6. What are some ways the Lord has covered you-in the past, or right now?

    When I read this question I thought of Isaiah 54:5 “Your Maker will be your Husband” God is my Protector and Provider. He is all I need and He is the only one I can truly depend on. I am learning He protects me by saying no when I ask for something that at first glance I think must be from God. This happened to me just this week and after further review of the situation, I realized God was stopping me from making a really bad decision. Every day my basic necessities are met and sometimes, I am blessed with special gifts given to me through the generosity of others. When that happens I know my ‘Husband’ is treating me special.