Thursday, July 19, 2012

July 19, 2012 … Our faithful, forgiving God

Chronological Bible Reading Plan - Day 201 

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Hosea, Chapters 1-7 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link -

Highlight Passage: Hosea 1: 1-3 :[NIV] … 1 The word of the Lord that came to Hosea son of Beeri during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and during the reign of Jeroboam son of Jehoasht king of Israel: … 2 When the Lord began to speak through Hosea, the Lord said to him, "Go, marry a promiscuous woman and have children with her, for like an adulterous wife this land is guilty of unfaithfulness to the Lord."3 So he married Gomer daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.  
Highlight Passage #2: Hosea 3: 1-5 :[NIV] … 1 The Lord said to me, "Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man 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 of silver and about a homer and a lethek of barley. 3 Then I told her, "You are to live with me many days; you must not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man, and I will behave the same way toward you." 4 For the Israelites will live many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without ephod or household gods. 5 Afterward the Israelites will return and seek the Lord their God and David their king. They will come trembling to the Lord and to his blessings in the last days.  
Highlight Passage #3: Hosea 4: 1 :[NIV] … 1 Hear the word of the Lord, you Israelites, because the Lord has a charge to bring against you who live in the land: "There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land. … 15 "Though you, Israel, commit adultery, do not let Judah become guilty. "Do not go to Gilgal; do not go up to Beth Aven. And do not swear, 'As surely as the Lord lives!' 
Highlight Passage #4: Hosea 5: 1; 4 :[NIV] … 1 "Hear this, you priests! Pay attention, you Israelites. Listen, royal house! This judgment is against you: You have been a snare at Mizpah, a net spread out on Tabor. … 4 Their deeds do not permit them to return to their God. A spirit of prostitution is in their heart; they do not acknowledge the Lord. … “  
Highlight Passage #5: Hosea 6: 4-6 :[NIV] … 4 "What can I do with you, Ephraim? What can I do with you, Judah? Your love is like the morning mist, like the early dew that disappears. 5 Therefore I cut you in pieces with my prophets. I killed you with the words of my mouth — then my judgments go forth like the sun. 6 For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.  
Highlight Passage #6: Hosea 7: 1-2 :[NIV] … 1 Whenever I would heal Israel, the sins of Ephraim [i.e., Israel] are exposed and the crimes of Samaria revealed. They practice deceit, thieves break into houses, bandits rob in the streets; 2 but they do not realize that I remember all their evil deeds. Their sins engulf them; they are always before me. … 8 "Ephraim mixes with the nations; Ephraim is a flat loaf not turned over. 9 Foreigners sap his strength, but he does not realize it. His hair is sprinkled with gray, but he does not notice. 10 Israel's arrogance testifies against him, but despite all this he does not return to the Lord his God or search for him. 

My Journal for Today: The first seven chapters of one of the most intriguing books in the OT, Hosea, provides the meat for my large meal of truth this morning. Wow! To think that Hosea, as a prophet of God, was chosen to be a living allegory for the people to whom he was asked to prophesy must’ve been very daunting for poor Hosea. Here he was asked by God to be a living picture of the Lord to His people; and the prostitute, Gomer, whom he married, become the living picture of Israel (and to some degree, Judah as well). Then, after chapter 3 in the book Hosea, God’s word from Hosea doesn’t focus on his own allegorical marriage anymore. He gets right to the message he has been charged by God to bring to God’s people, and especially to their leaders.

There’s a lot one could comment/journal about with regard to the Hosea – Gomer relationship, especially how it pictures God’s covenant loyalty to His chosen Bride. What an incredible picture was Hosea, by his own life and marriage, of God to God’s people of Hosea’s day and to us, as God’s chosen bride, the church, today. But this morning in this journal entry I want to focus on the verses I’ve highlighted above from Chapter 7.

In these verses, especially verses 1-2 of Chapter 7 [in bold above], we see that God is declaring that we, His people, who become recalcitrant and rebellious to His ways, need to remember that He is always watching; and He ALWAYS cares; and then the toughest of truths, … He will not abide our sinfulness. Yet, as the whole book of Hosea declares, though our Lord may chastise us in disobedience, as He did with Israel/Judah, our God will never forsake His promises and He will always remain faith, … always coming after His children to bring those who remain with Him, in faith, back into a loving relationship with Him.

How are we living and loving our Lord? Are we treating Him like the loving Bridegroom He is or are we being a prostitute, as was Gomer to Hosea? Are we, as it says in Revelation 19, His loving and betrothed bride, preparing our linens for the return of our faithful Groom, Who will one day come to sweep up His Bride and take her to the wedding feast of the Lamb?

I’ll leave you to contemplate and meditate on those questions; because they are at the heart of the message Hosea was bringing to His people in his time and to us in our troubled times today.

My Prayer Today: … Lord, forgive me if I’m in anyway unwilling to love You and patiently wait for You, preparing my linens for Your return. I do so want to be ready when You come for me. Amen

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