And there I will give her her vineyards and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.
Linus van Pelt is a man of faith, albeit a young one.
Linus is the blanket-toting, thumb-sucking, brother of Lucy and friend of Charlie Brown in the comic strip Peanuts.
At this time of year, Linus has great faith in The Great Pumpkin.
Linus writes letters to The Great Pumpkin like many kids write letters to Santa Claus.
Linus looks forward to Halloween night when The Great Pumpkin rises out of a pumpkin patch and brings toys to good boys and girls.
In preparation, Linus looks for just the right pumpkin patch. He finally finds one that he believes in the most sincere-looking pumpkin patch, around which no hypocrisy can be seen.
Unfortunately for Linus, despite all his careful preparations and his sincere faith, The Great Pumpkin never shows up.
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is, among other things, a cautionary parable about the disappointments of faith in something that doesn’t really exists, no matter how sincere that faith is.
Linus has a deep, sincere, faith in The Great Pumpkin. But that doesn’t make The Great Pumpkin real.
Our faith should be in things that are real, like in God.
Old Testament Israel needed to learn this lesson, as well. This is why God sent his prophets.
One such prophet was Hosea.
God sent Hosea to Israel – the Northern Kingdom of Israel – in the 8th Century BC.
The majority of Israel – including her kings – had been putting their faith not in Yahweh but in the Canaanite gods like Baal and Asherah.
And by all accounts, the people of Israel were sincere in their faith practices of following these gods, even sacrificing to them (including at times, sacrificing their own children!).
They should have known better, of course. They had a rich history of the salvation and provision of God! They celebrated – or were supposed to celebrate – Passover every year to remind them of the awesome salvation of Israel from slavery in Egypt.
They celebrated – or were supposed to celebrate – Yom Kippur every year to remind them of how God forgives them their sins through the blood of the sacrificial animals (which pointed to the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross).
They were to keep the Sabbath every week to remember that God is their Creator who wants them to rest and find their rest in him alone.
But they did not do this. Like a person who lusts after alluring and tempting people and things, Israel abandoned God and put their faith in the man-made gods of the Canaanites.
Even if they had sincere faith in these gods, they wouldn’t save them because they are not real.
This is a cautionary tale for us today. We may have faith – sincere faith, even – in things other that Jesus Christ but it won’t do us any good!
We should put our faith in Christ alone who can save and sustain us. That is the reason he came, after all!
Jesus Christ because one of us, born to take our place, lived perfectly to give us his righteousness by faith, died on the cross to forgive our sins, rose from the grave with the promise that we, too, will rise someday, and ascended into heaven with the promise that he will come back and take those who have faith in him to paradise forever.
If we put our sincere faith in Christ alone, we will never be disappointed. Christ will always show up, always deliver, and always save.
Heavenly Father, give me your Holy Spirit so that I will always keep my faith in Jesus Christ alone. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
© 2017 True Men Ministries