Isaiah 12:1-6; Isaiah 17:1-14; 2 Chronicles 28:16-21; 2 Kings 16:10-18; 2 Chronicles 28:22-25; 2 Kings 18:1-8; 2 Chronicles 29:1-2; 2 Kings 15:30-31; 2 Kings 17:1-4; Hosea 1-2:13
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Today Isaiah chapter 12 is a very short chapter. But it is a wonderful song of praise to God! Verse 2 reads: “Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation." How does this verse resonate with you? Do you frequently sing songs of praise to the Lord? Do you trust in God? Are you not afraid? Is God your strength and your song?
In 2 Kings 16 today King Ahaz of Judah messes up big time... Whaddya think about his idea to remove the bronze altar from the Temple and install an altar that was designed in Damascus? Think God will be happy about this? Essentially King Ahaz swapped his security in God to placing his security in King Tiglath-pileser of Assyria and his pagan gods. Stay tuned to upcoming readings... Again - I come back to our lives today. Are we ever similar to King Ahaz in doing something in our lives that we know is not pleasing to God? Do we know what is right and what is wrong and sometimes choose what is wrong? Why do we do this? Can we stop doing this? If so, how? Might it help us to stop doing wrong things if the #1 priority in our lives today were God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit? What is the #1 priority in your life today?
Allright, today is a big day! We start the book of Hosea. Hosea prophesied in about 750 B.C. in the northern kingdom of Israel - which was rare. Most of the prophets were in the southern kingdom of Judah. Hosea lived during the final / last days of the northern kingdom, which ended in 722 B.C. Below is an image of Hosea with the five kings: Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah and Jeroboam, and with his wife, Gomer, from a 14th century illuminated Bible:
~ Hosea ~
Date: Eighth century B.C.
Content: The book of Hosea consists of two unequal parts, the first containing Hosea’s life (chapters 1-3) and the second containing Hosea’s messages (chapters 4-14). Hosea was a prophet to the northern Kingdom of Israel prior to its fall in 722 B.C., and his ministry spanned some forty years. He was a contemporary of Amos, Isaiah, and Micah. Hosea’s unhappy marriage life depicted symbolically the state of affairs in his nation. Just as his wife left home for a life of prostitution, so Israel had left God to seek after false gods. But as Hosea continued to love his wife and finally brought her home again, so God continued to love Israel and promised to restore her someday.
Theme: Two things stand in marked contrast in the book of Hosea: the love of God and the waywardness of Israel. God is depicted as faithful, caring, forgiving, kind, and loving. God’s unfailing love is the theme of the book. Israel is seen as faithless, straying, sinful, rebellious, and wanton. She is characterized by ignorance of what God requires and total lack of desire to please God. However, just as Hosea’s love triumphed in the end, so will God’s love work a miracle of transformation in Israel. (Above commentary is from Tyndale Publishers “The One Year Bible Companion” p. 15) A wonderful commentary on the book of Hosea by Hampton Keathley IV is at this link. Below is an image for the traditional tomb of the prophet Hosea near the Jordanian mountain called Jabel Osha (Osha is Arabic for Hosea):
Hosea chapter 1 certainly stands out right away - with God commanding Hosea to marry a prostitute, Gomer. The purpose of this relationship is to parallel Israel's unfaithfulness to God. You'll note that the names of the children born to Gomer get progressively worse for the people of Israel - 1. Jezreel, or "God scatters" 2. Lo-ruhamah--`Not loved'- 3. Verse 9 provides the worse name that could be bestowed to symbolize God's relationship with Israel: "And the LORD said, "Name him Lo-ammi--`Not my people'--for Israel is not my people, and I am not their God." Ouch.... This is about as bad as it can get for Israel. Below is an image of Hosea, Gomer and their 3 children:
Fortunately, we see redemption in verse 10: "Yet the time will come when Israel will prosper and become a great nation. In that day its people will be like the sands of the seashore--too many to count! Then, at the place where they were told, `You are not my people,' it will be said, `You are children of the living God.'" Whew! This applies to most of us reading this as well - Gentiles. This is the beginning of the mission to the Gentiles after the time of Jesus. Do you we believe we are part of this promise? That we are parts of the sands of the seashore? That we are children of the living God?
Chapter 2 is a powerful "legal case" against Israel and her unfaithfulness to God. Verse 8 stood out to me in this chapter today: "She doesn't realize that it was I who gave her everything she has--the grain, the wine, the olive oil. Even the gold and silver she used in worshiping the god Baal were gifts from me!" Do we realize that everything we have comes from God? Everything? Do we misuse any of these gifts from God in our life in ways that would not be pleasing to God? Could God bring a "legal case" or "lawsuit" against us today for misusing his gifts to us?
Worship Video: Today's readings in Isaiah 12 reminded me of the Newsboy's song "He Reigns:"
Does God Reign in your life? Click here and let Him Reign!
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!
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