Judges 10:6-16 – Tough Love

Read Judges 10:6-16

Did you ever push the boundaries when you were a child growing up? I certainly did. Even though I was a bit afraid of my mother and her paddle, I would still “sass back” and try to get my way. Looking back, being the oldest had its drawbacks. I watched my younger brother get away with a lot of the same things I had gotten scolded for!

On the parental side, I know how frustrating it is to watch our children test and learn. I also know how difficult it can be to employ the discipline called for or expected. In our reading today, we see the Israelites falling back into the same evil trap of following other gods and angering our one, true God. It seems that God has finally had enough!

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Proverbs 12:1-10 – Love Discipline

Read Proverbs 12:1-10

There is a lot of talk in today’s reading about wickedness. To whom was Solomon referring? Perhaps to violent people, to those guilty of sin against God or people, or even to the one who is perverted trying to keep other people from God. I’m not going to focus on that, but I did want to mention it because it did strike me. There are many wicked people we need to be wary of. If we ourselves are wicked, these verses will surely call us out.

What did speak to me loudly was verse 1, “To learn, you must love discipline; it is stupid to hate correction.” This probably hit a little close to home because of how I despise being wrong and being caught or called out when I have made a mistake. I need to be easier on myself. We are all going to make mistakes. It’s a great way to learn. We should welcome correction when it helps us see the error of our ways.

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Proverbs 3:9-20 – Honoring God

Read Proverbs 3:9-20

There are a lot of nuggets in today’s passage. Which one really resonated with you? The one about wealth, the Lord’s discipline, the familiar lyrics of a song? Wisdom has been with God since creation. And blessed are men who find wisdom. The book of Proverbs is already whetting our appetites to know more, to truly seek wisdom, to be blessed.

Yet, how many of us will read this text and then return to business as usual? Do we really let what we read soak in? Are there things we can do differently in our lives because we are on a mission for wisdom?

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Hebrews 12:1-13 – Why is Being a Christian So Hard?

Read Hebrews 12:1-13

Take a step back in time and think about how your parents disciplined you while growing up. Maybe you were the perfect child and never riled anger or correction from your parents. I was not, and I spent many nights “grounded.” Perhaps you have been a parent yourself and had the distinct pleasure of correcting your own children, “for their own good.”

I was not a good disciplinarian, or rather I didn’t like being one. I loved my children and corrected them as a good parent does. Sometimes I would catch myself saying “No” more than saying “Yes. Seeing the big picture and knowing how those corrections would shape their lives was hard. I was always hopeful I’d done the right thing. Today’s reading affirmed me a bit because I was doing the best I knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness.” Continue reading “Hebrews 12:1-13 – Why is Being a Christian So Hard?”

Hosea 2:2-23 – Sin, Judge, Restore

Read Hosea 2:2-23

The comparison or relationship between the identity of Gomer and Israel continues. I really struggled with this passage and what it might be saying to me today. There was so much emphasis on the bad things being done against Gomer/Israel. Very harsh, didn’t you think?

Here are a few examples: left to die of thirst, strip naked in public, etc. It would be easy to feel sorry for Gomer/Israel, but what we’re seeing is a husband distraught with hurt and pain. Israel has turned away, and the good things provided are being sacrificed to a non-existent God. Do we do the same thing today? Do we waste the precious gifts God has given us?

After judgment and discipline we see hope revealed toward the end of the passage. We need not feel abandoned. God may allow us to struggle but only for a teachable moment. He is there all the time, cheering us on, waiting for us to return to him. He longs for us to say, “YOU ARE MY GOD”! Our only hope is in the Lord!

God’s love for Israel (and for us) is never-ending. He can’t stay mad forever, his love is too strong. But the punishment is necessary lest a lesson not be learned. It is at the end of this chapter that Hosea’s children are renamed to be their positive counterpart.

We have a choice who we spend time with. Do you long to spend time with God? If your devotion time is in the morning, do your bed sheets often win one more snooze. Did you stay up too late last night and want just 10 more minutes? That’s 10 minutes you just cheated God. I know I’ve done it, and the truth stings. 

We have a choice and should be more mindful of who we spend time with, what we make a priority in our lives.  Wake up!  God is waiting for us!

Let’s pray. Lord, forgive me when my attention is not fully on you. I know those are times I struggle with weakness and uncertainty. Help me to stay focused on you and invite you into each conversation, decision, and event in my day. I don’t want to be disobedient like the wife in today’s story. I choose you, God, to be ruler of my life. I trust you for my salvation and know that this is the right choice. Thank you for the reminders and the disciplines you provide to keep me on track. Lord bless those who don’t yet make you a priority. I pray for them to see and know that you are the truth, the way and the life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.