Hosea 9:1-17 – Punishment or Not?

Read Hosea 9:1-17

This is way more than a time-out kind of punishment. God’s fury toward Israel has now unleashed their doom. Do they deserve it? They are worshiping other gods. They are defiling their own traditions.

With the great power of God comes the strength to punish. Israel has had plenty of warning to shape up. Nothing has changed, unless for the worse. God was giving out no more second chances. Do you blame him?

What I took away from this is that I certainly never want to make God mad like this. I want to be obedient and seek his wisdom. I want to stay faithful, even on days when I don’t feel connected. It’s in those times that I need to seek God more fervently, because the world is closing in and clouding the truth.

I can’t even imagine a life where I am not following God and being loved by him. The unfaithfulness of the Israelites has always been something I just couldn’t fully fathom. But how much different is that from our society today? People are far from God. People are worship idols like money and fame. People walk around like little gods. What is it that motivates most people?

“Bible-thumpers” often get a bad wrap, too. Why is that? I often want to apologize for being a Christ follower. Why? Because too many so-called Christians have really muddied the waters with their bigotry, judgment of others and pushiness. I don’t think Jesus would EVER have been like this. He dined with sinners. He sought out the broken. There was no condemnation EVER in his actions. Jesus loved everybody.

We have been given two very important missions here on earth. (I realize I am totally digressing from our text today, but it’s what’s on my heart.) We are called to love God above all things and to love each other. Sounds easy, right? It’s simple but not certainly not easy.

Take a moment to think about who you may have encountered recently that needs a touch from God. How will they receive this message best? Can you help bring that message?

Let’s pray. Lord, forgive me when I am rebellious and try to do things my own way. I never want to be cut off from you like the Israelites were by their own actions. Give me clarity in how you’d like me to proceed today. Bring healing to my body so that I can serve you with my entire self. Fill me anew with your Spirit. You are mighty and powerful and I am in awe of you and all you have done. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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