December 8, 2021

Hosea 10:1–14:9

Hosea 10 highlights the cutting off of Israel’s king, a prophecy of the Assyrian invasion.

Hosea 10:3 (NKJV) “For now they say, “We have no king, because we did not fear the LORD. And as for a king, what would he do for us?”

Hosea 10:7 (NKJV) “As for Samaria, her king is cut off like a twig on the water.

Hosea 10:15 (NKJV) “Thus it shall be done to you, O Bethel, because of your great wickedness, at dawn the king of Israel shall be cut off utterly.”

If only Israel had allowed God to be King, but their hearts were divided (Hosea 10:2), so the glory departed (Hosea 10:5), a perfect formula for disaster.

Hosea does not cease to appeal to the people…they had sown to the wind and were reaping the whirlwind, it was now time to sow good seed! It’s a good word for all of us.

Hosea 10:12 (NKJV) “Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the LORD, till He comes and rains righteousness on you.”

In reading through the Scriptures, it’s clear to see that even when God does proclaim judgement on His people, He only does so with one hand, for on the other hand is mercy, and hope, and a continuing love for His children. We see that once again in Hosea 11.

It began with love, Israel was a child, a son of God (Hosea 11:1). God taught them to walk in the Word, He healed them, He drew them to Himself.

Hosea 11:3 (NKJV) “I taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by their arms; but they did not know that I healed them.”

Tragically Israel forgot who made them, who loved them, who redeemed them. Israel forced God’s hand of judgment to fall upon them, and the prophetic punishment was issued “…but the Assyrian shall be his king, because they refused to repent.” (Hosea 11:5) And that’s exactly what happened in 722 B.C..

Hosea 11:7 (NLT) “For my people are determined to desert me. They call me the Most High, but they don’t truly honor me.”

And yet in spite of all this disobedience, God reminds us how he’s not like us, He’s not like man, He’s a gracious God (Hosea 11:9). This passage brings to mind Isaiah 55:7-9 when taken in context. 

God predicted the day Israel would return from captivity and dwell in their own land, in their own houses (Hosea 11:11).

Hosea 12:3 takes us back to Jacob’s birth, an early indication that he would be a heel-catcher, a manipulator, and we might criticize him for this because he did it the wrong way at times, but at least he had aspirations.

Hosea 12:4 takes us back to that time when Jacob wrestled with the Angel of the LORD, an account we can read of in Genesis 32:22-32. Jacob wouldn’t let Him go until He blessed him, and the angel gave him a limp. This limp would be a blessing for the rest of his life, teaching him to rely on the Lord. Hosea encourages us to do what Jacob did – look to God for the blessings that only He can give. Hosea writes:

Hosea 12:6 (NKJV) “So you, by the help of your God, return; observe mercy and justice, and wait on your God continually.

Sadly, when Israel prospered, they no longer relied on the Lord – – it’s hard for a rich man (Matthew 19:23). If only they would have recalled the day when God raised up Moses who was the vessel to lead them out of slavery, then they may have taken to heart the truth that the LORD had proven Himself their God, ever since the land of Egypt (Hosea 12:9, 13).

Hosea 13:1 brings to mind:

Isaiah 66:2 (NKJV) “…but on this one will I look: on him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word.”

When Ephraim (Israel) trembled at God’s Word they were exalted. But when He turned from God’s Word and began to worship other gods, they died, and Hosea said, “Now they sin more and more.” (Hosea 13:1-2)

Back in chapter 10 of Hosea we saw the cutting away of the king of Israel, but if you go back farther, it all started the day they cut God off from being their King. God therefore gave them a king (Saul) in His anger, and took him away in His wrath (Hosea 13:11). Why won’t we simply submit to His majesty…King Jesus! There is no other king, there is no other Savior!

I like to ask Jehovah Witnesses, “Who is your Savior?” If they say Jehovah God, I say yes, you’re right, that’s what we read here in Hosea 13:4, the the LORD (Yahweh, Jehovah God) is their Savior and there is no other Savior but Him. Then I ask them about Jesus, “Is He your Savior?” If they say “no,” I take them to a number of passages in the Bible, such as  Acts 13:2; Philippians 3:20; 2 Timothy 1:10; and Titus 1:4; 2:13, and many other passages that explicitly refer to Jesus as our Savior. If Jehovah God says, “there is no Savior besides Me,” and Jesus is repeatedly referred to as Savior, then Jesus is indeed the LORD Jehovah-God, the Second Person of the blessed Trinity (see also Isaiah 43:10-11).

Hosea 14 ends the book on a gracious invitation and declaration.

Hosea 14:1–2 (NKJV) “O Israel, return to the LORD your God, for you have stumbled because of your iniquity; 2 Take words with you, and return to the LORD. Say to Him, ‘Take away all iniquity; receive us graciously, for we will offer the sacrifices of our lips.’”

No longer will Israel look to other nations, other gods, or even themselves for salvation, the day will come when they look to the Lord. He will heal their backsliding, love them freely, cause them to grow, branches, buds, and beauty, they will one day be revived spiritually. 

In His love He disciplines us. His anger is only for a moment, His favor is for life. Even in wrath He remembers mercy, we see this over and over again in Scriptures. I pray we would know this…and I pray we would return to and remain in our first love (Revelation 2:4).

Jude 1:1-25

This is a short book but wow, does it pack a punch – there is so much here! When I taught the book of Jude back in 2019, it took me six weeks to get through this one chapter. Jude initially wanted to write a simple word of encouragement, but God had different plans and prompted him to write a letter of warning, urging the church to contend earnestly for the faith.

As you read through Jude you’ll notice the similarity between this work and Peter’s second letter, and there’s no doubt that Jude referenced Peter’s letter, but there are slight differences including the fact that Peter wrote his letter before it happened, while Jude wrote his letter after it happened. That certain men had crept into the church as false teachers and were turning the grace of God into a license to sin.

Jude writes to warn and remind the people that God knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation, and how to judge the ungodly – big time! Just as God judged certain people in the days of the Exodus who did not believe. Just as God sentenced the fallen angels who crossed lines of demarcation, and are reserved in darkness awaiting the judgment of the great day. Just as God judged Sodom and Gomorrah, because of the fact that they went after “strange flesh,” in reference to the blatant homosexuality of that city. God is holy and just, and we must remember, He is the Judge of all the earth (Genesis 18:25).

Jude reveals that these men, who could be identified as tares among the wheat (see Matthew 13:24-30) speak evil of dignitaries and reject authority. Jude mentions however, that even Michael the Archangel didn’t have the audacity to do that, as a matter of fact, when Michael contended with the Devil over the body of Moses, he didn’t go toe-to-toe with him, he said, “The Lord rebuke you!” Some people have no problem whatsoever speaking disrespectfully to their spiritual leaders, but here’s Michael speaking humbly…even to the devil himself. Now, just as a side-note, we don’t have the Biblical record of why the devil wanted the dead body of Moses; perhaps he wanted to desecrate the body, some even suggest that he wanted to possess Moses’ body.

Jude exposes these men as haters like Cain who was greedy for gain, prophets for profit like Balaam, and also as rebels towards authority like Korah (Numbers 16).

There they were in the “love feasts” of the early church…without love. They were only in it for what they could get out of it. They were like clouds without water appearing to bring help, but unable to produce. They were unsaved and therefore fruitless, not just dead, but twice dead, roots and all, dangerous waves of the sea (the sea symbolic of the mass of humanity – the antichrist will rise from the sea – Revelation 13:1) – God has reservations for these men…blackness and darkness forever! Enoch spoke of their judgment one day when Jesus comes back and there we are with Him at His return.

Today, there are still many false teachers amongst us. May we contend for the truth, share with the lost (with urgency), and build ourselves up on our most holy faith…keeping ourselves in the love of God, right smack dab in the middle of that sphere of blessing.

Psalm 127:1-5

This Psalm of Ascents was written by Solomon. The first verse is one of my favorites passages in all the Bible.

Psalm 127:1 (NKJV) “Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the LORD guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.”

I’ve always applied it to the church, but it is applicable to so much more. We can build, we can birth, we can labor with the greatest care and skill, but if God’s not in it, that “house” will fall (Matthew 7:24-27). The same is true with guarding the city or guarding the family, unless the Lord protects us, we’re sitting ducks. Jesus put it this way:

John 15:5 (NKJV) “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”

This Psalm encourages me to do things God’s way and to trust Him. I’ll build, and I’ll watch, but I will also pray and trust in the Lord.

The primary part of that “house” is our families. We see in this Psalm that children are a blessing not a burden. Children are a reward from God. Children are like “arrows” we send out into the world as warriors for the Almighty. “Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them…” Did you catch that word – “happy?” It expresses the fact that children bring happiness – and although I can’t speak for every family, it’s almost as if Solomon is revealing, the more, the merrier.

I’m not saying you have to have 18 children. I just hope our perspective as God’s people is Biblical, that children are an absolute blessing from God.

Proverbs 29:15-17

Proverbs 29:15 (NKJV) “The rod and rebuke give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.” Proverbs 29:17 (NKJV) “ Correct your son, and he will give you rest; yes, he will give delight to your soul.”

Tragically our society has largely abandoned the concept of correcting our kids. Back in 1949 Dr. Spock told us not to spank our children and millions of parents took His Word over God’s. Today an entire society is paying the price.

It’s okay to discipline our small children with a swat of sort on the place of padding. Never out of anger, never hard enough to injur or leave a mark, and probably not something we do with our hand (our hands should be instruments of affection – although I have seen firsthand an effective slap that has changed lives for good). A little rod or paddle will suffice, however, so our children don’t end up like the undisciplined sons of Eli, who both died in their sins (1 Samuel 2:12-17; 22-36; 4:11)

“In Hebrew the rod of correction literally reads “the rod and correction.” Either the rod is the instrument of correction (in which case a figure of speech called a hendiadys is used), or both the rod (physical punishment; cf. 13:24; 22:15; 23:13–14) and verbal correction (lit., “rebuke”) are to be used. A child who is not disciplined and is left to himself (allowed to do as he pleases and have whatever he wants) will become an unruly person. He will disgrace (bring shame to; cf. 19:26; 28:7) his mother.” Disciplining one’s son results in the parents having peace and joy later because their son will behave and grow wiser (cf. 10:1).” – Bible Knowledge Commentary

Parenting is very difficult and humbling. None of us are perfect parents, but I remember hearing many years ago that the first phase with our children is establishing loving authority. When that’s established we can move on to teaching our children (we can’t teach without authority). After teaching comes coaching, and after coaching comes the final phase of friendship, without ever losing that heart of a parent.

Proverbs 29:16 (NKJV) When the wicked are multiplied, transgression increases; but the righteous will see their fall.

Nowadays – the wicked are being multiplied even more – it’s not just simple addition, it’s multiplication!

We now live in tumultuous times of transgression…but don’t think they’re getting away with it, one day – we (the saved) will witness their judgment.

Leave a Reply