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Today we wrap up the book of Hosea! It's been a great read for me this year. It has been a good look at how the prophets of the Old Testament were warning Israel & Judah over and over again of their sins - sins that multiplied as we read in today's readings - and there was no repentance. Things just got worse. This did make me think today - if we continue to sin and sin and things get worse and worse in our lives and how we are adversely affecting other people's lives around us, is maybe the most compassionate thing for God to do - for us and others - to stop us from our path of destruction? My thought here in today's readings is that God is a compassionate God. Yes, he's throwing out some tough stuff in what he's saying - and will be doing - but for the end goal of getting people from stopping their sinful ways and harming themselves and others. Today, we are fortunate, compared to the Old Testament days, that we have Jesus Christ as a mediator for our sins between us and God - and not just a mediator - but a Healer. Jesus can heal us from our sinful desires and ways. So, while I do see God as being compassionate in the Old Testament & I am so thankful for his great compassion of sending his son Jesus to the earth for us. Without a doubt, God is good.
Hosea chapter 10 verse 12 I loved today: "Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of my love. Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the LORD, that he may come and shower righteousness upon you.'" Beautiful verse! Are you planting good seeds of righteousness in your life? What would good seeds of righteousness be? Is it possible that faith in Jesus is a seed of righteousness that you should plant - and that would indeed harvest a crop of God's love in your life? To plant these seeds of righteousness, you may need to plow up some hard ground in your heart and you may need to seek God like never before. Do you think this plowing is worth it? Will you plow so that God may come into your life and shower righteousness upon you?
In Hosea chapter 11 verses 8 & 9 we read this about God's compassion: ""Oh, how can I give you up, Israel? How can I let you go? How can I destroy you like Admah and Zeboiim? My heart is torn within me, and my compassion overflows. No, I will not punish you as much as my burning anger tells me to. I will not completely destroy Israel, for I am God and not a mere mortal. I am the Holy One living among you, and I will not come to destroy." I absolutely love these verses. Do you believe that God will not give up on you? Do you believe that God's heart overflows with compassion for you? Do you believe that God is the one and only Holy and Living God, who is indeed involved in every single moment of your life? Do you believe God is closer than the air you breathe? (Thanks to the musician David Wilcox for this last question. I love that thought - God is closer than the air we breathe!)
Hosea 12 verse 6 has a phrase I love - "So now, come back to your God! Act on the principles of love and justice, and always live in confident dependence on your God." Always live in confident dependence on God. Wow. My prayer for each of us is that we would indeed always live in confident dependence on God...
The book of Hosea ends with a phenomenal verse - chapter 14 verse 9: "Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those who are discerning listen carefully. The paths of the LORD are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. But sinners stumble and fall along the way." This verse reminds me of the beauty of studying the Bible! The Bible gives us wisdom - and also we need wisdom to understand the Bible's teaching. But, the beauty is that the more we study the Bible, the more we gain wisdom, and the more that wisdom allows us to truly understand what we're reading in the Bible! It's a never-ending circle of elevation in our study of the Bible - we'll never fully "get it" all this side of heaven. But the more we study the Bible, the more I believe we'll be able to truly understand it and put it into practice. Do you believe this to be true? Have you found over time that studying the Bible becomes more and more interesting and you gain more and more insights and understandings? This verse above I think also has a warning if we don't surrender our lives to Jesus, dive into God's Word, and put it into practice in our lives. There is the very real risk of stumbling and falling along the way... Let us not stumble!
Worship Video: Today’s readings remind me of the song “O Come All Ye Faithful” sung here by Passion Music:
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