July 20, 2022
The discipline or judgment of God upon a person or a nation is a wonderful thing. It is like pain to the human body, reminding us that what we are doing is wrong and needs a dramatic, immediate adjustment. That something must change, or there will be further damage. God’s discipline is an act of His love to bring us to our senses and restore us to healing and usefulness.
… is a dramatic picture with a compelling word by God, reminding Israel of her idolatry, her harlotry towards God.
Listen to the word of the Lord, O sons of Israel, for the Lord has a case against the inhabitants of the land, because there is no faithfulness or kindness or knowledge of God in the land. There is swearing, deception, murder, stealing and adultery. They employ violence, so that bloodshed follows bloodshed. Therefore the land mourns, and everyone who lives in it languishes. (Hosea 4:1-3)
My people consult their wooden idol, and their diviner’s wand informs them; for a spirit of harlotry has led them astray, and they have played the harlot, departing from their God. (Hosea 4:12)
To read this is like listening to today’s news in our own nation. It is the description of any land that forsakes God and turns in search of other lovers.
THE RIGHT RESPONSE
… is given by Hosea with a plea to the people. It’s a call to repentance. An urgent invitation to return to God.
“Come, let us return to the Lord. For He has torn us, but He will heal us; He has wounded us, but He will bandage us. He will revive us after two days; He will raise us up on the third day, that we may live before Him. So let us know, let us press on to know the Lord. His going forth is as certain as the dawn and He will come to us like the rain, like the spring rain watering the earth.” (Hosea 6:1-3)
Hosea reminds the rebellious people that God is merciful to forgive and revive. If they repent (and if we repent) He will come like the spring rain that waters the earth--cleansing, restoring, refreshing.
This ancient call is as fresh as today’s newspaper. We have sinned, and our nation bears the consequences of our harlotry. But, if we will cry out in genuine repentance, God will be merciful to forgive and restore us to Himself again.
Father, be merciful to us. Forgive us, Lord, for our rebellion even in the face of Your great blessings and abundant grace. Replace the spirit of idolatry in our land with a spirit of humble mourning and a passion for You and Your glory. Help us to return to You, O Lord, that the world may see Your grace.
August 11, 2022
Americans are world-class eaters. Some estimates are that the annual expenditure in the United States for all food is $1.1 trillion. We love to eat and go to extraordinary means to consume what we want. Eating provides the nutrition to live, but it’s also a means of satisfaction on a daily basis.
What we don’t realize is that there is a food group we’re missing that is the source of not only the greatest nutritional value but the highest joy. It’s estimated that less than 10% of Americans eat this food daily, even though it’s readily available.
August 10, 2022
We know whether something is valuable or worthless by comparison. A shiny, new car may look fabulous, but it is worthless if it has no engine. The ugliest car with a working machine is far more valuable for the need.
Everyone follows a god. You can pursue the gods of this world (power, pleasure, possessions) or the Lord God Jehovah. But it’s essential to do a proper evaluation.
August 08, 2022
Last Christmas, our kids gave us a gift called “Storyworth.” Every Monday, Holly and I receive a question about our lives. Apparently, these are collected in a book at the end of the year.
Today’s question was, “What’s your best relational advice?” As I looked at this question for a long time, I knew it was a call to do some needed work on my closest relationships. Multiple thoughts ran through my mind. They were convicting because I have fallen so far short of these truths. But they are true nonetheless.