Hosea 14:1-9 – Refreshed

Read Hosea 14:1-9

I didn’t realize the book of Hosea was so beautiful with the word pictures and expressions of God’s love for his people. God says, I will be to Israel like a refreshing dew from heaven.”

After the last several passages chronicling the Lord’s displeasure and doom for his people’s behavior, they repent. It’s like a light is turned on or a veil lifted. The curtains have flung open, and God’s people are back. They are following him again. The whole tone has shifted.

This passage again clearly shows how God is crying out to his people, warning us of the ways of the world (idols) that will not give us what we are looking for. Only God can answer our prayers. Only God can provide for us. “Like a tree that is always green” – that suggests plenty, provision, completeness. What a beautiful reminder.

Ask yourself: Am I wise, as is suggested in verse 9? Do you want to understand God? Do you long, like I do, to hear him? I seek discernment for my life, it works better that way. I am hopeful I living in God’s will. What if I’m not? What if I’m making him angry like he was with the Israelites? It’s one thing to be safely in my box, going through the motions of life, sleeping, eating, working, etc. I know God wants more for me. I want to make a difference on this planet while I’m here. Leave God fingerprints all around.

There is such a happy ending here in today’s reading. This is a happy place we should all return to regularly.

Let’s pray. Father God, how blessed you are when your people return to you. Joy is felt by all when we realize that we are not in charge, we don’t have to be. In fact, it’s better when we let you have it God. Thank you that you have patience with me. Open my ears so that I can hear you loud and clear. I want to live in your will and help others find their way back to you, too. Use my words, this blog site, my actions all for your glory. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Hosea 13:1-16 – What Makes You Angry?

Read Hosea 13:1-16

We see what has made God angry. His people have turned away from him. He has tried to reconcile, but his requests have been ignored. Verse 4 sums it up and even speaks to us. “I have been the Lord your God ever since I brought you out of Egypt. You must acknowledge no God but me, for there is no other savior.” There is no other savior. Jesus Christ is the truth, the way and the life. He is the ONLY way to the Father.

Think of what makes you angry, and then multiply that times infinity. God is infinite. His plans are now underway. It is not going to be a pretty sight by any means. It is fury like this that has given people a picture of God that is less than favorable. How could a loving God rip his people up and let them be exposed to such destruction?

We may forget how accommodating God has been. How he has rescued his people time and again. As he says here, he has given them what they wanted. He is referring to the kings. You may recall he had sent Judges first to try and keep peace and bring wisdom to the people. They were already starting to grumble and be ungrateful while in the wilderness. In their greed and wanting to “keep up with the Joneses”, they asked for kings to rule them like their neighbors had. If kings were good for other nations, they must be good for the Israelites, too.

Have you ever done that as a parent? Had a child ask for something you knew would not be the best for them, but gave it to them anyway? Perhaps it was soda pop, candy, or a toy when their toy box was already overflowing. What happened? Did it satisfy them for good? Or, did they soon tire of it and want more of the same or something even worse for them?

God had every right to feel anger. His power and provision was not enough. His love had been trampled on. Rather than act in haste, God issued a warning to his people. He gave them a chance to get right with him, to realize the stupidity of their ways.

Are there any verses in today’s reading that puzzle you? Drop a note in the comments and I’ll see what I can do to find an answer for you. Remember, we brought our library with us, and I’m just waiting to do a little research to help you out with your burning questions.

Let’s pray. Father God I am sorry for the pain you feel when your people turn from you to other idols. Forgive me when I have been one of them. It’s easy to say I would listen if you sent a prophet to warn me. I believe that is true. Lead me in the direction you want for me to go. Help me overcome obstacles that rest in my way. Show me the people you want me to touch. I will wait upon you. In the meantime I praise you with all that I am. Be blessed. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

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Hosea 11:12-12:14 – New Chapter

Read Hosea 11:12 – 12:14

If the reading looks disjointed today, it’s because a new section started at the very end of chapter 11. I wanted to keep the thoughts together. I see that happen, especially in the New Testament. Chapters flow into new chapters.

It’s kind of like that with life, too. One chapter of our life may not close before a new chapter begins. They can run concurrently for a while. Or, the new chapter once opened, immediately extinguishes the preceding chapter.

Think of some of the scene changes or new chapters in your life. Have you always been a follower of Jesus? If not, what did that conversion process look like? What changes do you foresee in your near future? Perhaps you have a big change coming, how are you preparing?

For me, our retirement to Mexico is probably the biggest life change I’ve ever experienced. Many people retire, and many people move abroad. Some do both at the same time like us! We felt God was really working this process for us. Thinking back, the transition time was so short. I still am amazed to be here, and we’re coming up on our year anniversary! How can that be?!

Speaking of new beginnings, verse 6 has a bit of a homecoming feel to it. So now, come back to your God. Act with love and justice, and always depend on him.” Coming back to God. What a nice through for us today. We know God has never left our side. Not for one minute. But have we wandered? Have we always been on the path God has for us? Maybe a detour looked alluring, so we stepped away from God. Maybe roadblocks kept us stuck, despite the ability to work around them with opportunities only God could offer.

Re-read this passage, knowing that Jacob is Israel, the person and the region.

Reflect on the person God made you to be. Review the chapters of your life. Many more chapters are yet to be written. Is your current chapter a doozy or a dozer? Either way, depend on God to get you to the next chapter.

Let’s pray. Father, this chapter I’m in right now is intense. I feel so empowered by you to make it the best I can. I know you are fighting for me and giving me wisdom. Satan is also at work, looking for any and all opportunities to make me stumble. I can feel him close. It’s unpleasant God, put him in his place. Help me not to listen to his lies and deceits. Thank you for healing me from Satan’s attack on my body. It feels good to be able to enjoy your world and my tasks again.

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Hosea 11:1-11 – Parent’s Lament

Read Hosea 11:1-11

Oh, the lament of a parent in this passage. God, speaking through Hosea, is recounting his upbringing of Israel, remembering the rescue and the provision. Despite all this, Israel continues to turn away.  

Such agony a parent feels when children turn away or do not heed the advice or direction we give, going their own way. But the words that jumped out, “how can I let you go?” As I write this, it’s back to school time for many in the U.S., and even here in Mexico. I’ve watched friends become empty-nesters for the first time. While we all know this is the rite of passage, and we’ve been helping to prepare for this moment from the day they were born, it is hard. We mourn. Something has ended. We need to focus on dawn of a new beginning.

No matter what our children do, we can and will never give up on them. To let them hurt and struggle does tear our hearts. I recall times worrying about one of our children in particular that I might never see him again. Still to this day, there is a strong bond there that keeps us connected despite the miles.

It’s easy to let fear creep in. We can feel so helpless in our moments of fear. That is Satan telling us lies and reducing our trust in God to mere rubble. Satan is strong, but never stronger than the power of God, the power within me. It is especially in our times of fear that we need to get on our knees. We must rely on God to take care of our children. He gave them to us, so we must return them to him.

When trust and our reliance on God returns, so will a sense of calm and peace. Allow it to wash over you and refresh your weary soul. In weakness, our conversations with God must increase, not decrease. We need to arm ourselves with God’s grace and power to withstand the evil that tries to take us over. We must to cling to our faith, trusting God in all circumstances. 

So what are you struggling with today? Have you given it to God?

Let’s pray. Father, thank you for the beautiful children you have given me to love. Forgive me if I have failed them in any way. You are healer, and I pray for your healing on them as they all continue to deal with past hurts. You know their struggles better than they do themselves. Work in their hearts to create a readiness and desire to know you. I pray this for all people who do not have a relationship with you. I pray for those who have broken relationships with you. I ask for your guidance in pursuing all that you have for me. I am ready. Send me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Hosea 10:1-15 – Sow Righteousness

Read Hosea 10:1-15

God has spoken. Judgment for Israel is here. All are being called out. I got the feeling that maybe some were cowering now, hoping that God would pass over them and not bring his wrath. Even some players outside Israel were brought in.

What I liked about today’s reading were the word pictures or descriptions. While it didn’t lessen the intent, it made it easier to understand. The same message only with a different “package”. The descriptors helped me to see parallels to our day.

What struck a chord with you? What questions came to your mind? I welcome your comments at the end.

I would love to have this blog be a safe place where we can enter into conversation. We didn’t bring David’s library of Biblical history and pastoral care to Mexico for nothing. I would love to use those resources to answer your questions. I’ll get the joy of watching David know exactly what book will have your answer if he doesn’t already have a nugget to share.

So please, don’t be shy. Comment below — and go back to any of the other posts and comment.

When I read verse 4, I was hit by the reality that still exists. They spout empty words and make covenants they don’t intend to keep. So injustice springs up among them like poisonous weeds in a farmer’s field.” Ouch! God’s promises and word never fails. Not so for us all of the time. Can you remember a time when you made a promise but didn’t keep it? Maybe you said something in haste or anger, without thinking it through. Empty. What better way to cause bitterness or distrust with those involved.

Let’s also look at verse 12. I said, ‘Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of 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.’” Here it is. The nugget I’m taking away. This is what God wants from us. As we’ve said before, our purpose is to love God and others. This is a great formula to follow to make it happen. Read that verse several times and let it sink in. We have our marching orders, just like the Israelites did.

What are we waiting for?

Let’s pray. Father God, thank you for your instruction today. I love how your Word is always perfect. There is always a message for me. Now it’s up to me to heed your challenge and get to it. Cleanse my heart of things that are keeping me from you. Help me break apart the hardness that has set in so I can be open and ready for your righteousness. Don’t let my eyes be closed to the needs around me. Show me those that are ready to hear from you. Give me the words to say. I trust you will in your time. I love you Lord. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

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