Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Thursday, 6 December 18:
1. Hosea 12:1 — “…they multiply falsehood and violence; they make a covenant with Assyria, and oil is carried to Egypt.”
– Falsehoods don’t add up, they multiply.
– Nations and people who pursue prosperity over fidelity are doomed. They partner with others who only seek gains only speeds up their destruction.
2. Hosea 12:6 – “But you must return to your God; maintain love and justice, and wait for your God always.”
– Love and justice go together. If you defend justice, you don’t love as you should.
– Upon return to God there should be clear indication of repentance. We are saved by faith alone but not by a faith that is alone. Note the conclusion of Hosea: “Who is wise? He will realize these things. Who is discerning? He will understand them. The ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them.” God’s people walk in God’s ways because we love God. Love and righteousness go together. Note in Proverbs today what our God hates: “haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.” Proverbs reminds us that God’s commands should be bound in our hearts, we should guide our steps like a lamp when we walk in a dark world. Walk in the light, not in darkness.
– You need God’s help to turn to Him and walk with Him. If He is your desire, He will help you.
– Because we live by the mercy and grace of God, we sometimes act as if God does not care about justice and doesn’t hold us accountable for our behavior. We rejoice that or God is Love, but we often lose sight of the fact that “the Lord is a God of justice.” (Isaiah 30:18) We depend on God’s mercy and grace, but we also live by His justice. Can you imagine just one day on earth where there was absolutely no justice? Wouldn’t that be hellish? By the power of the Holy Spirit we are empowered to pursue justice and righteousness and are commanded to do so. Though we are forgiven of our sins once and for all, Jesus commands us to “repent” and “sin no more.” We are not only to hold fast to love, we are to hold fast to justice; in fact, love and justice are inseparable, though the world does not understand this. When Christians neglect obedience, justice, and righteousness, they are demonstrating their unlovingness and are grieving the Spirit of God.
— Psalm 33:5 — He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord.
— Psalm 37:28 — For the Lord loves justice; he will not forsake his saints. They are preserved forever, but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.
— Psalm 89:14 — Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.
— Psalm 99:4 — The King in his might loves justice. You have established equity; you have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob.
— Psalm 101:1 — I will sing of steadfast love and justice; to you, O Lord, I will make music.
— Psalm 119:149 — Hear my voice according to your steadfast love; O Lord, according to your justice give me life.
— Isaiah 16:5 – then a throne will be established in steadfast love, and on it will sit in faithfulness in the tent of David one who judges and seeks justice and is swift to do righteousness.
— Isaiah 61:8 — For I the Lord love justice; I hate robbery and wrong; I will faithfully give them their recompense, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.
— Jeremiah 9:24 — but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.
— Hosea 2:19 — And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy.
— Amos 5:15 — Hate evil, and love good, and establish justice in the gate; it may be that the Lord, the God of hosts, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.
— Micah 6:8 — He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
— Luke 11:42 — But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.
3. Hosea 13:1 — “Besides me there is no savior.” No one can save you but Jesus. Faith in anyone else or anything else is an illusion.
4. Hosea 13:6 — “But when they had grazed, they became full, they were filled, and their heart was lifted up; therefore they forgot me.” Sometimes people wonder why God doesn’t give them more. Sometimes it is because God knows they will not be faithful with more. The life of ease can ruin a person. Sometimes God has to keep you a bit hungry to keep you faithful. If you desire more, learn to be faithful under any conditions.
5. Hosea 13:10 — “Where now is your king, to save you in all your cities? Where are all your rulers—those of whom you said, ‘Give me a king and princes’”? Many have placed their hope in politicians. Christians don’t do that. While everyone else is talking politics, we are spreading the Gospel.
6. Hosea 13:11 — “I gave you a king in my anger, and I took him away in my wrath.”
– God controls politics for His purposes.
– Bad rulers are from God, an act of judgment on a sinful people.
7. Hosea 14:9 – “Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; whoever is discerning, let him know them; for the ways of the Lord are right, and the upright walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them.”
– How many times and in how many ways does the Bible say this? This is wisdom. Know the ways of God and walk in the ways of God.
– Wisdom is found in obedience, not in academics.
8. Proverbs 6:6-8 — “Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest.” Self-discipline is key to the life of the Christian. No one is going to make you do what God wants you to do, and sometimes it isn’t going to be easy. You must be willing to make daily sacrifices for that future harvest.
9. Proverbs 6:23 – “For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life.” God’s commands, in part, are intended to protect you from your own behavior. It takes internal discipline or self-control to follow God’s commands. A person who lacks internal discipline requires external discipline to stay on the right path. You are doing the sinner a favor when you rebuke them where they lack self-control and self-discipline.
10. Proverbs 6:30, 31 – “People do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy his appetite when he is hungry, but if he is caught, he will pay sevenfold; he will give all the goods of his house.” Everyone paid the same penalty for crimes regardless their circumstances. There was no favoritism.
11. Revelation 6:9-11 — “’O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?’ Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.”
– Final Judgment will occur when martyrdom is complete, confirming that some Christians will go through the tribulation. Only the Father knows when their mission will be complete. These martyrs are further spoken of in the next chapter – “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:14)
– God does not always protect His faithful servants from persecution, but He holds a special place of honor for them in the Kingdom. Persecution will continue until the End.
12. Revelation 6:15-17 – “Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?’” On the Day of Judgment, No one escapes the wrath of God except those who have been covered over by the Blood of Jesus and His righteousness, through faith in Him and salvation.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 6 Dec 18: Listen carefully to the Holy Spirit’s counsel today. The Holy Spirit convicts you of your sins (where you are missing the mark, doing things other than what God would have you do). Ask for forgiveness for the shortcomings the Holy Spirit reveals to you, repent of your sins (turn 180-out; 1 John 1:9), receive and accept God’s forgiveness, and move forward, walking closer to Jesus with your eyes affixed on Him, never looking backwards. (Proverbs 1:23-25) “Jesus said to him, ‘No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.’” (Luke 9:62)