Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Daily Bible Reading - June 27, 2017

Today's Reading:

Mark 8:22-9:1

2 Samuel 20-21

Hosea 1:1-2:1

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Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading 

Today we are starting to read the Book of Hosea. So let's take a look at the amazing Message of this book and prophet.

Hosea is the first and the longest of the group of books we call ''the minor prophets.'' He was a contemporary of Amos in Israel, and of Isaiah and Micah in Judah. He prophesied in Judah, during and following the Assyrian captivity of the Northern Kingdom-- an era in which the Southern Kingdom was both greatly prosperous and very corrupt. The name ''Hosea'' means ''deliverance'' or ''salvation.'' He lived during the long and vigorous reign of Jeroboam II, king of Israel. Unlike the prophet Isaiah, who was burdened chiefly about Judah and Jerusalem, Hosea was principally occupied in expressing the sorrow of Jehovah for the Northern Kingdom. The children of Israel had broken His covenant and hardened their hearts against Him.
If you found out that you were a victim of adultery, could you forgive your spouse? Imagine that the unfaithfulness was not a one-night stand, but a long affair. Imagine further that your spouse wasn’t very repentant and was even rather open about what he or she was doing. Would you still love your spouse? Would you want him or her back?

We have asked this question to highlight the incredible love of God. When we–His people–are unfaithful, spurning the love of our true Husband, He continues to love us. He pursues us, wooing us back and disciplining us. That’s the picture we see in the lives of Hosea and his wife Gomer.

Hosea became a part of his own message. God instructed the prophet to marry a prostitute (Gomer) knowing she'd be an unfaithful wife. Through the visible trials of faithful Hosea with his difficult wife, God wanted to show His people a graphic representation of our own spiritual adultery against Him, and how far He goes to redeem us, although we do not deserve it. 
In spite of her persistent sin and shameful life, Hosea continued to cherish Gomer. After her lovers had abandoned her, Hosea found her in the slave market, paid the price to reclaim her (mortgaging the farm to do so), forgave her, and took her again as his wife. By enduring this grief, his heart was prepared to deliver the message of Yahweh to sinners. This is a personal message to each of us, for we have all been unfaithful to our Heavenly King, and have committed spiritual adultery.
Chapters 1 through 3 depict the moral condition of Israel (and God's people in modern times also). The nation of Israel, and the people of God are likened to the Bride of Christ. He has committed to them the honor of His Name, but when we turn back to our old sinful ways, after having been saved, we are like Gomer (Hosea's unfaithful wife) who was an adulteress (1:2,3).
 The names given to the prophet's children tell us a number of things about the effect of Israel's sin.
    • ''Jezreel'' (1:4,5). This is a reminder that God had not condoned the sin of Jehu (2Kings 10:1-14), nor had He forgotten all the crimes of Israel.
    • ''Lo-ruhamah'' (1:6). The word means ''unpitied,'' signifying that Yahweh's mercy would not continue indefinitely, but that judgment would come soon.
    • ''Lo-ammi'' (1:8,9). This name means ''not my people'' and showed that Israel would cease to be God's peculiar people. This was never said of Judah.
Then Yahweh promised to restore His undeserving people, similarly to how Hosea restored Gomer-- a prophecy that remains to be fulfilled in the future (1:10,11).
So, as we read the Book of Hosea, let us consider all that Yahweh has done to save us. Let us allow ourselves to sense the pain of the faithful Hosea, as he must-time and again-restore his bride from her continual adulteries. And as we consider the sad and graphically portrayed story, let us take the message to heart, that we cease from Gomer-like foolishness, purposing instead to be faithful to our loving Almighty God.