Hosea preaches to Israel and Ephraim in the Northern Kingdom during the same time frame as Isaiah prophesies in Jerusalem in the Southern Kingdom. Hosea and Isaiah’s preaching leads us to believe that this time before the destruction of Jerusalem is a time of great apostasy.
In today’s reading, Hosea lays out a tragic litany of the people’s betrayals and the Lord’s warnings of dire punishment for their misconduct. Their sin and their fickle relationship with their Creator, despite God’s great love for them, will result in the severe consequences of judgment.
Israel’s history can serve as a cautionary tale for us as we read it these many years later. Just as Israel’s neighbors influence their behavior, our society’s norms can and do challenge us daily. Our daily news provides plentiful evidence that we live in a fallen world amongst fallen people.
However, rather than allowing life’s negativity to overwhelm us, we can make it our priority to remain grounded in faithfulness. We can cultivate habits that encourage us in our faith and reconnect us with our Lord. Bible reading and memorization, prayer, Christian service, and regular worship with other believers fortify us and help to keep us faithful. We can choose to honor and please God with a life of holiness and devotion apart from the sins of this world.
Dear Lord, help us to align ourselves with you by practicing holiness and distancing ourselves from conduct that would steal our loyalty from you. Make us sensitive to the sin in our own lives and mindful of anything that would separate us from you and your protecting hand. Amen.
Hosea relates a further message from God. Israel has repeatedly ignored God’s teachings, even though God continues to reach out with love and kindness. Although a just response would be wrath, God will respond instead with mercy to restore the people. The psalmist echoes this teaching about God’s enduring love. Although some have gone through periods of distress, when they call out to God, the Lord responds with steadfast love. We then explore guidance for the life of a Christian. In Colossians we read that we should focus on heavenly realities, not the physical world. Rather than pursuing our own pleasure, we should put on a new self and behave more like God desires. The parable that Jesus tells reinforces this point. We should focus on storing up heavenly treasures, not earthly ones.
Read Hosea 11:1-11. How have you suffered the consequences of turning away from God? How has God welcomed you back?
Read Psalm 107:1-9, 43. What stories of God’s goodness does your family tell to the next generations?
Read Colossians 3:1-11. How has Christ renewed you? How do you see Christ in others?
Read Luke 12:13-21. How has greed shown up in your life—as racism, wealth-mongering, or myths of scarcity? How do you combat greed in all its forms to live out of a mentality of abundance?
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