Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Wednesday, 5 December 18:
1. Hosea 10:1, 2 – “Israel is a luxuriant vine that yields its fruit. The more his fruit increased, the more altars he built; as his country improved, he improved his pillars. Their heart is false; now they must bear their guilt. The Lord will break down their altars and destroy their pillars.”
– People turn God’s blessings into curses through self-centered disobedience. God will not continue to resource sin in a person’s life or in a nation’s affairs.
– God measures your success by what is in your heart, not by what you produce.
2. Hosea 10:4 — “They utter mere words; with empty oaths they make covenants.”
– Talk is cheap. Christian character keeps its promises, regardless the cost.
– Teams, organizations, communities, and nations are built on trust. But when integrity is no longer honored, institutions collapse. Consider what dishonesty in institutions has cost you? Consider what we value in politicians today. We value competency over character as did the Israelites in Hosea’s time. The counsel Israel received applies to us today: “It is time to seek the Lord (Hosea 10:12).”
3. Hosea 10:10 – “When I please, I will discipline them.” God will discipline. In His own time, God will hold everyone accountable.
4. Hosea 10:12 — “Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.” We are made righteous through Jesus, but having been made righteous, we have been called to grow up, or grow into, righteousness. Righteousness is something you develop in your life over time. You don’t get a harvest of anything overnight. You must plant the seeds of righteousness and then toil day by day to cultivate it. Break your fallow ground by earnestly seeking the Lord, and then He will make your righteousness grow. Much like crops grow naturally when cared for, the Spirit will grow your righteousness if you maintain the conditions for growth by remaining humble and obedient. Now is the time to pursue righteousness and to seek the Lord. Don’t be complacent with a single day.
5. Hosea 10:13 – “You have plowed iniquity; you have reaped injustice; you have eaten the fruit of lies. Because you have trusted in your own way.”
– A just nation cannot be built or sustained by sinful people. Organizations and nations are nothing more than a collection of people in agreement who join together to realize a collective goal. Culture is merely the collective character of those people. When a nation wanders from God it is because the people wandered from God. Today, Christians lament over the condition of things without taking responsibility for it. Darkness is a lack of light. If our nation appears to be getting darker, consider what is happening to the light of God’s people.
– What you plant grows. Your daily actions are like seeds planted into your character, good or bad, they shape who you are becoming. Your little daily decisions grow to big character traits later. What you do today matters more than you realize. You will make an innumerable number of decisions today. Choose to honor the Lord with every thought, decisions, word, and deed that you might grow in Christ-like character.
6. Hosea 10:13, 14 — “Because you have trusted in your own way and in the multitude of your warriors, therefore the tumult of war shall arise among your people, and all your fortresses shall be destroyed,” When you trust or favor something over God (which is idolatry), God may leave you to your idols for a time that you might discover the falsehood of your idols and the reality of His glory and Sovereignty. When your idols fail you, you might be tempted to pray that God will protect your idols – He won’t. When your idols fail you, you will suffer until you run back into the arms of your Heavenly Father.
7. Hosea 10:13, 15; Hosea 11:5, 6 — “Because….” One of the most important questions people ask in life is, “Why?” So, when God answers with the indicative relative adverb “becasuse,” it is important for us to pay close attention. So, why did the nation’s fall? They fell “because [they] trusted in [their] own way” and their own strength…. because of their “own evil”…. because they… “refused to return” to God…. because of their “own counsels” (or reasoning). (Hosea 10:13-15; Hosea 11:5-7) Proverbs warns, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.” (Proverbs 3:5-7) To the wise, willing to learn from the mistakes of past generations that God has recorded for us in His word, God says, “it is the time to seek the Lord.” (Hosea 10:12) So how do we seek God? The Bible says, “Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground.” (Hosea 10:12) “Seek good, and not evil, that you may live; and so the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you.” (Amos 5:14) “Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.” (1 Corinthians 14:1) “But as for you, O man of God…. pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.” (1 Timothy 6:11) “So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” (2 Timothy 2:22) “Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.” (1 Peter 3:11) Make no mistake, seeking the Lord and abiding in the Lord takes our full, daily effort, often doing what doesn’t make sense in our human understanding but requires faith to do what is foolishness in the eyes of man. This is a battle against self, empowered by the Holy Spirit but executed by us. Are you walking with God in obedience day by day?
8. Hosea 11:3 — “Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk.” God teaches us to walk, and then our proud hearts encourage us to walk away from Him. The Bible says that both Noah and Enoch “walked with God.” (Gen 5:22; Gen 6:9) What does the Bible say God desires of us? “To fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord.” (Deut 10:12, 13) Who are really God’s people, not the “CHINOs” (Christians in name only), but those who walk in God’s ways and obey Him. (Jeremiah 7:13) “For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, ‘I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.'” Your goal today is to walk with God and to not go your own way or the be led astray. You will walk today one step at a time, one decision at a time. Instead of worrying about what God is going to do with the sum of your life, focus on being faithful to Him right now. If your steps are grounded in loving obedience, you need not worry about where God is taking you.
9. Hosea 11:7 — “My people are bent on turning away from me.” Humbly admit and recognize that you are easily tempted. Pray for the strength of the Holy Spirit to resist temptation, careful guard your heart, and, relying on God’s grace, maintain a repentant and persistent heart.
10. Hosea 11:10 — “They shall go after the Lord; he will roar like a lion; when he roars, his children shall come trembling from the west.” Faced with God’s judgment, many move further away from God, but God’s people humbly draw closer to Him. Draw closer to God through your circumstances.
11. Proverbs 5:6 — “She does not ponder the path of life.” Sinners do not stop to truly consider the seriousness of their sin or what they are doing.
12. Proverb 5:11, 12 — “And at the end of your life you groan, when your flesh and body are consumed, and you say, “How I hated discipline, and my heart despised reproof!” You will reap what you sow, and when you do, you cannot change what you planted and cultivated in the past.
13. Revelation 5:9, 10 — “You were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”
– Jesus has saved people all over the globe to be a Kingdom of priests on earth who will ultimately reign upon His return. Do you have wholehearted allegiance to your Kingdom, the Kingdom of God? Are you united with the citizens of the Kingdom of God across the globe? Are you living as a priest on earth and an Ambassador of Jesus and His Kingdom? Don’t lose sight of who you are, why you are here, and what God is calling you to be and to do.
– We are called to work as a kingdom on earth, and we are called to be priests. Do you have that perspective?
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 5 Dec 18: Walk with God today (Hosea 11:3).