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Hosea chapter 3 brings us redemption again for Israel. Verse 5 I believe applies to us today - we who are in the last days (all the days after the life of Jesus) - "But afterward the people will return to the LORD their God and to David's descendant, their king. They will come trembling in awe to the LORD, and they will receive his good gifts in the last days." Have you returned to Jesus? Jesus who is from the line of David? Is Jesus your king? Are you receiving God's good gifts through your awe and faith in God through Jesus?
Hosea chapters 4 & 5 are classic prophesying! If you ever think of a prophet in the Old Testament going around and stirring things up in the land - think of these 2 chapters... If you're just checking out this website and today's readings, I realize that they will sound very harsh on the surface. However, context from Jeremiah & Ezekiel & 2 Kings will help catch you up on why God is not happy here. Essentially the northern kingdom of Israel is worshiping Baal, an idol/false god, and not God himself. And the immorality in the land is skyrocketing. God's reaction here is actually a compassionate reaction - he is trying to reverse the immorality and bring people back to him in repentance. Below is an image of Hosea prophesying by the artist Duccio di Buoninsegna from the year 1308:
Verses 1 & 2 in chapter 4 set the stage for these 2 chapters: "Hear the word of the LORD, O people of Israel! The LORD has filed a lawsuit against you, saying: "There is no faithfulness, no kindness, no knowledge of God in your land. You curse and lie and kill and steal and commit adultery. There is violence everywhere, with one murder after another." See any violations of the Ten Commandments in these 2 verses?
Verse 18 really stood out to me today: "Their love for shame is greater than their love for honor." Is it possible in our world today that there are people who love shame more than they love honor? It is possible that this happens in our lives at times? Will we pursue love of honor in our lives, leaving behind anything that might look like love of shame?
Today we get prophesying by God via Hosea on what's going to happen to Israel due to her unfaithfulness and many sins. Hosea chapter 6's first 2 verses start things off on what seem like a hopeful note. However, commentaries suggest that this was a very shallow pledge by Israel: "Come, let us return to the LORD! He has torn us in pieces; now he will heal us. He has injured us; now he will bandage our wounds. In just a short time, he will restore us so we can live in his presence." Even if this is a shallow pledge from Israel, I do really like verse 3 too: "Oh, that we might know the LORD! Let us press on to know him!" Are we pressing on in our lives to know God? Are we returning to God? Are we seeking to continually live in His presence?
God's reply to all of this in verse 6 is fantastic: "I want you to be merciful; I don't want your sacrifices. I want you to know God; that's more important than burnt offerings." Are there times in our lives where we try to bring "sacrifices" of prayer or pledges of repentance or works, when really what we should be bringing to God is mercy for others and just simply the desire to know God? Do our "acts" of repentance sometimes get in the way of our actual love relationship with God?
Chapter 7 Verse 16 stood out to me today as well: "They look everywhere except to heaven, to the Most High." If we are hurting, sad, tired, do we look to things other than God? Do we look to "quick fixes" from things of this world that are not healthy for us? Do these "quick fixes" really fix the problem? Are we looking everywhere except to heaven, to the Most High? Will we look only for the Most High - God?
Worship God: Today's readings in Hosea remind me of Brandon Heath's song "Your Love:"
Are you experiencing God's love in your life? Click here for love!
Comments from You: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
p.s. Download our monthly Small Group study notes for our Chronological Bible readings at this link.
p.p.s. Download a schedule of our Chronological Bible readings for the year in PDF format at this link.
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