Tuesday, April 11
But you have planted wickedness,
you have reaped evil,
you have eaten the fruit of deception.
Because you have depended on your own strength
and on your many warriors. (Hosea 10:13)
I don’t have a lot of upper body strength. Never have. The rope climbing unit in gym class was the worst. I had one teacher who thought it might help me to start higher up the rope, so he lifted me onto his shoulders and had me grab on. There I hung. (And not for very long.) Same weak arms, just higher up. So depending on my own strength isn’t going to happen.
I also do not have any soldiers at my disposal, warriors to send out to do my bidding. Would be cool, but I imagine none of you do, either. So I guess we can overlook this verse, yes?
Unless there are other things that we might be tempted to depend on. Things we might rely on above God and His word.
A professor, maybe?
A boyfriend or girlfriend?
Who is wise? Let them realize these things.
Who is discerning? Let them understand.
The ways of the Lord are right;
the righteous walk in them,
but the rebellious stumble in them. (Hosea 14:9)
Are you stumbling on the Word of God? Do you have trouble reconciling it with what you are being told or what you “know”?
Maybe you have “eaten the fruit of deception”?
I pray regularly that if my understanding is wrong, that God would correct me. I ask Him to show me where I’m wrong. Sadly, though my arms are weak, my ego is strong, and it’s been hard to admit that at times I’ve been mistaken.
Make that your prayer today. Ask God to show you if you’ve been deceived. And be willing to act on what He shows you.
Monday, April 10
Have you ever experienced this?
Your parents are lecturing you about something you’ve done wrong. Really laying into you. It seems to go on and on and on. Finally, they pause and take a breath and you think they’re done. But instead, they start in again with a new wave of, “And another thing…!”
In chapters 4-6, we see God get riled up. He’s mad. He is laying it all out in phrases like:
- You ignored the law of your God
- You exchanged glory for disgrace
- Your deeds do not permit you to return to God
- You’ve moved boundary stones. (I love this phrase, would be an interesting one to dig into)
- Your love is like a mist…here one minute, gone the next.
- God has withdrawn from you.
Yeah, He’s mad.
Then He pauses, takes a breath, and starts the second round, where he lays out the consequences of all of this (9:7-9):
The days of punishment are coming,
the days of reckoning are at hand.
Let Israel know this.
Because your sins are so many
and your hostility so great,
the prophet is considered a fool,
the inspired person a maniac.
The prophet, along with my God,
is the watchman over Ephraim,
yet snares await him on all his paths,
and hostility in the house of his God.
They have sunk deep into corruption,
as in the days of Gibeah.
God will remember their wickedness
and punish them for their sins.
Don’t miss these phrases:
- Punishment is coming.
- The days of reckoning are at hand.
- God will remember.
- Punish them for their sins.
We are so fortunate that, because of Jesus, we don’t have to have our sins remembered by God. They can be wiped away. Forgiven here and now. That doesn’t let us off the hook, though. Jesus calls us to continued repentance and obedient living.
But what wonderful news that we get to choose if our parental lecture ends with punishment or forgiveness. When does THAT ever happen?