devotional post # 2105
Hos 4:15 Though you be unfaithful, O Israel, let not Judah become guilty. Enter not into Gilgal, nor go up to Beth-aven, and do not vow, “As Yahveh lives.”
Hos 4:16 Like a stubborn cow, Israel is stubborn; can Yahveh now keep feeding them like a lamb in a broad pasture?
Hos 4:17 Ephraim is joined to idols; leave him alone.
Hos 4:18 When their drink is gone, they give themselves to prostitution; their rulers dearly love shame.
Hos 4:19 A wind has enveloped them in its wings, and they will be ashamed because of their sacrifices.
I grew up in North Florida, and I have seen a number of tornadoes. The winds envelop their victims and take them away. Whether it’s a cow or a house, there is nothing you can do.
Hosea describes Israel’s wickedness as a wind that has enveloped it; they will be taken away by it. He tells them not to pretend that they still worship Yahveh. They are under Yahveh’s judgment, and they will experience the shame of his condemnation. There is nothing Judah can do about that but avoid the condemnation by avoiding the sin.
LORD, give us the wisdom to leave the stubborn cows alone, to seek those who are still seeking you.
devotional post # 2104
Hos 4:12 My people look for answers from of their wood, and their walking staff to tell them things. Because a spirit of prostitution has led them astray, and they have left their God to commit prostitution.
Hos 4:13 They sacrifice on the tops of the mountains and burn offerings on the hills, under oak, poplar, and terebinth, because their shades are nice. For this reason your daughters commit prostitution, and your brides commit adultery.
Hos 4:14 I will not punish your daughters when they commit prostitution, nor your brides when they commit adultery; because the men themselves go aside with prostitutes and sacrifice with cult prostitutes, and a people who do not understand will be ruined.
After spending a lot of time hiking in the great outdoors, I have a special appreciation for a passage like this. Sturdy walking poles, glorious mountain tops, cool shaded areas — these are words which remind me of the experience. The Israelites spent a lot of time walking outdoors, and they picked up the habits of the pagans who did the same. They forgot the God in the sky above them, and started worshiping the blessings all around them. Hosea reveals that this defection was due to a lack of understanding, and leads to ruin.
LORD, you are the one who blesses us. Our hearts yearn for you, not just the blessings you have given us.
devotional post # 2103
Hos 4:7 The more numerous they became, the more they sinned against me; I will change their pride into shame.
Hos 4:8 They feed on the sin of my people; their soul lusts to take on their iniquity.
Hos 4:9 And it will be like people, like priest; I will punish them for their actions and repay them because their works.
Hos 4:10 They will eat, but not be satisfied; they will be promiscuous, but not multiply, because they have forsaken the task of keeping Yahveh;
Hos 4:11 prostitituion, wine, and new wine have taken away the heart.
A heart disease has infected the priests in Israel. They became numerous, prideful and sinful. Instead of hating the sins of the people, the priests became envious, and lusted after their sins. The LORD decided to punish the priests for their sin by making them decrease in number. As their heart for God reduced, so did their number.
LORD, increase us. Increase our love for you, and our desire to lead others to you.
devotional post # 2102
Hos 4:4 Yet do not try to argue your way out of this, or pass the blame on to others, because my argument is against you, priest.
Hos 4:5 You will stumble in the daytime; also the prophet will stumble with you at night-time; and I will destroy your mother.
Hos 4:6 My people are being destroyed because they lack knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.
ignorance is not bliss
The popular saying suggests that ignorance is bliss, but that was not the case for Israel’s priests and prophets. They were products of a rebellious nation, children of an unfaithful mother. Their lack of knowledge of God’s word led to further rebellion and transgression by the people. Those who should have had the light of scripture stumbled at it all the time. The LORD held them accountable.
LORD, may those of us who know your word be diligent to pass it on to our generation, and the next.
devotional post # 2101
Hos 4:1 Hear the word of Yahveh, O sons of Israel, because Yahveh has an argument with the inhabitants of the land. There is no truth or covenant loyalty, and no knowledge of God in the land;
Hos 4:2 but there is cursing, lying, murder, stealing, and committing adultery; they break all limits, and bloodshed follows bloodshed.
Hos 4:3 For this reason the land is drying out, and all who live in it are wasting away to nothing, and also the wild animals and the birds of the sky, and even the fish of the sea are being taken away.
a land drying out
Drought slowly transforms a land, taking away all its life. Hosea tells the people of the northern kingdom that they are in a spiritual drought, caused directly by the people’s refusal to abide by the limits of God’s commandments. Obedience to the Mosaic covenant was intended to fill the land with truth, covenant loyalty and knowledge of God. Rejection of those commands, and insisting on breaking all his limits has caused the land to dry out. It will result in physical devastation of the land as well.
LORD, restore our lands to the vitality that comes from obedience to your word.
devotional post # 2100
Hos 3:1 And Yahveh said to me, “Go complete the circle, show love to a woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress, just like Yahveh loves the children of Israel, even though they turn to other gods and love cakes of raisins.”
Hos 3:2 So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a lethech of barley.
Hos 3:3 And I said to her, “You must live as mine for many days. You will not be promiscuous, or belong to another man; so will I also be to you.”
Hos 3:4 Because the children of Israel will live days without king or prince, without sacrifice or pillar, without ephod or household gods.
Hos 3:5 Afterward the children of Israel will return and seek Yahveh their God, and David their king, and they will come in fear to Yahveh and to his goodness in the final days.
Hosea is instructed to buy back his wife, who had fallen back into prostitution. He redeems her for a small price, and restores her to her home and family. But she is on probation. She has to abstain for a period of time. She is being used as an example, to prophecy to Israel that they would go into exile, and would put away their idolatry during this time. In the final days, Israel will return to God on his terms — they will fear him again, and he will be good to them again.
LORD, dig deep into our hearts and lives, and show us the vestiges of idolatry and double-mindedness that we need to abandon. We wait for your love again.
devotional post # 2099
Hos 2:21 “And in that day I will answer, this is what Yahveh says, I will answer the skies, and they will answer the land,
Hos 2:22 and the land will answer the grain, the wine, and the oil, and they will answer Jezreel,
Hos 2:23 and I will plant her for myself in the land. And I will have tender affection on No Tender Affection, and I will say to Not My People, ‘You are my people’; and he will say, ‘You are my God.'”
aftermath to Jezreel
After God scatters the northern kingdom as a judgment for Jehu’s violence, he promises to plant a people for himself in the land. Long after the name of Baal is removed from their vocabulary, the LORD will speak to the skies, and they will rain back on the land, producing abundant crops again. And God will bring a people to the land upon whom he has tender affection, and whom he calls his own people.
LORD, give us the wisdom to reject the violence that caused you to judge your people in Hosea’s time. Make us people of peace who seek your will.
devotional post # 2098
Hos 2:18 And I will make for them a covenant on that day with the wild animals, the birds of the sky, and the crawling things of the ground. And I will destroy the bow, the sword, and war from the land, and I will make you lie down in safety.
Hos 2:19 And I will engage you to me forever. I will engage you to me in righteousness and in fairness, in loyalty and in tender affection.
Hos 2:20 I will engage you to me in faithfulness. And you will know Yahveh.
The LORD describes the new love pact between him and his people. Together, the couple will do what is right and fair, be loyal to each other, have tender affection for one another, and be faithful to their vows. Yahveh will not be a distant god of history, but a Lord that the Israelites know today.
LORD, draw us to yourself, and share your love pact with us.
devotional post # 2097
Hos 2:14 “for this reason, notice, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her.
Hos 2:15 And there I will give her her vineyards and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. And there she will answer like she did in her younger days, like the time when she came out of the land of Egypt.
Hos 2:16 “And in that day, declares Yahveh, you will call me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer will you call me ‘My Baal.’
Hos 2:17 Because I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they will be remembered by name no more.
The Hebrew word ba’al was used earlier in the Old Testament. It was a word for husband (Genesis 20:3; Exodus 21:3). But In Hosea’s time, the word had become tainted, because it was also the name of the pagan gods who sought to encroach upon God’s exclusive relationship with his people. So, Hosea tells his people to stop using the name. In some languages, Allah is a generic name for any god. But the name is inappropriate because it has become tied to Islam.
We use names to signify relationships. When a term no longer means what it is supposed to mean, we need to rethink using it.
LORD, give us wisdom to express our relationship with you in terms that are not ambiguous or misleading.
devotional post # 2096
Hos 2:9 For this reason I will take back my grain in its time, and my wine in its season, and I will take away my wool and my flax, which were to cover her nakedness.
Hos 2:10 Now I will uncover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers, and no one will rescue her from my hand.
Hos 2:11 And I will put an end to all her partying, her feasts, her new moons, her Sabbaths, and all her appointed festivals.
Hos 2:12 And I will spoil her vines and her fig trees, about which she said, ‘These are my wages, which my lovers have given me.’ I will make them a forest, and the beasts of the field will devour them.
Hos 2:13 And I will punish her for the feast days of the Baals when she burned offerings to them and adorned herself with her ring and jewelry, and went after her lovers and forgot me, declares Yahveh.
payday for party time
Israel had been partying as if her relationship with the nations all around her had been the source of all her riches. But God had been the source of all her wealth. Now, God says he is going to take it all away. She would have to pay for all the party time — the time when she should have been testifying of the goodness of God, but failed to acknowledge him. He remembers the times when we forget him.
LORD, show us how to acknowledge your presence in all your presents.