Abiding, Accountability, Advice, Bible, Choices, Commands, Confession, Denial, Goodness, Inspirational, Judgment, Punishment, Scripture

NOT GOOD ENOUGH

HOSEA 8:3

“Israel has rejected the good; the enemy will pursue him.”

Some people are just plain picky. Nothing is good enough for them. They could have the nicest things money can buy and still not be satisfied. Have you known people like that? I have. I like nice things, but I don’t have to have them. In fact, the older I get, the less I want stuff.

Israel has not only rejected the good. They have rejected THE good. God is the only true good thing. They were pursuing everything except God. The things they were pursuing may have appeared good, but they weren’t. They were evil masquerading as a good thing. And because they rejected the true good, judgment will fall.

APPLICATION

What is your measurement for good? If God is not your measuring tool, you are using the wrong tool. You will always come up short if you are using the world’s standard for good. There’s good and then there’s GOOD. The problem with the world’s good is it depends on the situation. It’s flexible. It’s relative.

But God’s good is constant. He doesn’t waiver. What He says is good is always good. It doesn’t depend on His mood or the situation. You can always count on God’s good to be good. Actually, you can depend on it being the best. That’s all God wants for us.

So, when you are struggling with knowing the good thing to do, go to God. Go to His Word. He will always show you the good thing to do. He will always point you in the good direction. He will send good into your life when you obey Him and seek Him. God wants to bless us. He wants us to live not only godly lives but also good lives. Don’t you believe that? Believe it!

You are good all the time. I know that. Help me trust Your goodness.

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Abiding, Belief, Bible, Commands, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Faith, Following, Idols, Knowledge, Relationships, Scripture, Testimony

I KNOW YOU

HOSEA 8:2

“They cry out to Me ‘My God, we of Israel know You!’”

I bet you’ve been in a crowd before and recognized someone. You know you know them, but you just can’t place their name. You can even remember where you met them. Their name, however, escapes you. So, what do you do? What do you say when they walk up and call you by name? If you are like me, I say, “Hey, it’s so good to see you again.” I purposely leave their name out of the conversation.

That’s not really knowing someone, is it? The people of Israel claimed to know God. Hey, they even knew His name. But they did not really know Him. They failed to recognize His commands. They ignored His guidance. They chased after other gods. If they had really known Jehovah God, I mean really known Him, they would have followed Him.

APPLICATION

So, do you know Him? Do you really know Him? If you do, you know He is a jealous God. He won’t tolerate us chasing after idols, whatever those are. He wants us to know Him. God isn’t this mysterious spirit hovering over the universe that dissipates every time we look His way. He wants to be discovered by us. The question is do we want to know Him.

If you really want to know Him, then you have to spend time with Him. You have to dig into His Word. You have to make Him a priority. And when you do, He unveils Himself. He says, “Here I am. Come closer. Get to know me.” You discover what He is really all about. Now you can say you know Him.

I want to know Him deeply. I want to experience Him in ways I have never experienced Him before. I want to be just like Him. Don’t you? Don’t you want that? I want to be loving, faithful, compassionate and forgiving. I want all those things. I pray you do, too. Let’s get to know Him together. Ready?

Oh, I want to know You more, deep within my soul I want to know you. Oh, I want to know You, to feel your heart and know Your mind. Looking in Your eyes, stirs up within me cries that say I want to know You, oh, I want to know You, more.

Steve Green

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Accountability, Advice, Battles, Bible, Choices, Commands, Confrontation, Devil, Enemies, Fighting, Flesh, Judgment, Obedience, Punishment, Satan, Scripture

WARNING! WARNING!

HOSEA 8:1

Put the trumpet to your lips! Like an eagle the enemy comes against the house of the LORD, because they have violated My covenant and rebelled against My Law.”

Picture yourself on the wall of a city. Your job is to watch for any approaching enemies. You have a trumpet to blow to warn the city if danger is sighted. So, when do you blow that trumpet? Do you wait until the enemy is at the gate or do you sound the alarm as soon as you spot them?

Here in Hosea the enemy has come. There is no time for the trumpet to be sounded. Judgment has fallen. God is holding them accountable for their breach of the covenant. They have rebelled against His Law. So, God is using their enemies to judge them.

APPLICATION

We must sound the alarm. In our society today we are surrounded by encroaching enemies. But we remain silent. We don’t warn our brothers and sisters about the danger that is all around us. We may run for cover ourselves, but we leave the rest to fend for themselves.

Who are these enemies? Anyone or anything that goes against God’s Word and His commands for our lives. Anyone or anything that speaks against Jesus is an enemy of the cross. Satan will use all these to try to tear us down. He is on the attack – always. We cannot let up for a second. We must be on guard. We must keep the trumpet in our hands ready to blow.

I am looking. Are you? I’m on the wall. Are you? 1 Peter 5:8 tells us, “Be of sober spirit. Be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.” Don’t think for a second he’s got your best interest in mind. He has one goal – to destroy you and other believers. Stand firm and strong.

I will blow the trumpet, Lord. I will sound the alarm. I will stand with You.

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Accountability, Advice, Bible, Conceit, Deceit, Deception, Fighting, Flesh, Perfection, Safety, Scripture

BENT SIGHTS

HOSEA 7:16

They turn, but not upward, they are like a loose bow; their officials will fall by the sword because of the insolence of their tongue. This will be their derision in the land of Egypt.”

If you have read my blogs for any length of time, you know I love to hunt. I normally hunt with a gun, but during archery season, I hunt with a crossbow. I have spent time zeroing in that crossbow. I set up a target at different distances and practice shooting to make sure I can hit what I am shooting at when the time comes. There’s nothing much more frustrating than to have a great weapon and not have it sighted so you can shoot well.

Hosea compares Israel to such a weapon – a loose bow. A loose bow will not shoot the arrow correctly. It will miss its target. It won’t hit what you aim at because the bow is deceiving you. Not only is that frustrating, but it’s also dangerous. If you are facing an enemy, you want to be able to stop them with that bow. If you can’t shoot straight, you’re in trouble.

APPLICATION

Are you a straight shooter? Is your heart aimed toward God? If we aren’t consistent in our quiet times and our prayer lives, we will begin to get off mark. We will begin to target the wrong things. Our aim will be off. Before you know it, we are totally off course. We are pursuing the wrong things. God is no longer in our view. How did that happen?

You see, our sights can be just slightly off and cause us to miss God. It doesn’t take much. Just a little distraction can cause it. Our minds start to drift. We put off our quiet times. We neglect for a few days our time with the Lord. Whamo! We are off. We have to set our sights afresh each day. We have to make sure Satan hasn’t moved in and “tweaked” our sights to make us miss. Be sure your aim is right.

I heard about a golfer this week who had an awful putting experience in his last tournament. Before he played in his next tournament, he was complaining about it. Someone asked him about his putter. It was only then that he noticed his putter was bent. There was no way he could have putted straight with it. Check out your tools and make sure you are aiming correctly.

Father, You are the only true way to measure whether I am shooting straight or not. I depend on You to be my guide.

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Accountability, Betrayal, Bible, Choices, Commands, Deceit, Encouragement, Faithfulness, Following, Friends, God's Will, Modeling, Obedience, Relationships, Scripture, Service

TURNCOATS

HOSEA 7:15

Although I trained and strengthened their arms, yet they devise evil against Me.”

Betrayal hurts, doesn’t it? If you live long enough, sooner or later, someone will betray you. It could be a friend you thought you could depend on. It might be a spouse who betrays your marital vows. However it happens, it hurts. When you put time and energy into a relationship only to have it squashed by a turncoat, it takes a while to get over that.

Ephraim had turned against God. Hosea says here in verse 15 that God had trained and strengthened them. Remember – God had chosen these people. He had made them a great nation. He had protected them from their enemies. He had enriched their boundaries. And yet, they turned. Not only that, Hosea says they “devise evil” against God. Wow!

APPLICATION

I want to ask you a hard question. Have you ever devised evil against anyone? Have you turned against them and tried to make them hurt? Not me, Carl. I am more spiritual than that. Right! Listen, we may not literally plot to do evil, but we have all had bad feelings toward someone and maybe even rejoiced when they fell on hard times.

As believers, our goal should be to lead others to Jesus at all times. That doesn’t give us the right to have any evil thoughts. When we have feelings, other than godly ones, towards someone, that flies in the face of God. How do you think He feels about that person? He desires them to come to Him. He may be wanting to use you to draw them, and you are refusing. You are fighting against Him. That, in a sense, is devising evil against God.

I want to be on the Lord’s side. Don’t you? I want to serve Him by serving others. I want Him to use me to bring His lost sheep home. May I never be found in conflict with God’s plan for the lost. Serving Him is a joy and pleasure. Won’t you join me?

I desire to remain loyal to You, Lord. I want to be on Your front lines serving Your kingdom.

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Advice, Affection, Bible, Comfort, Encouragement, Forgiveness, Inspirational, Intimacy, Listening, Love, Mercy, Repentance, Scripture, Sincerity, Tears

CRY BABIES

HOSEA 7:14

And they do not cry to Me from their heart when they wail on their beds; for the sake of grain and new wine they assemble themselves, they turn against Me.”

I have to admit – I’m a cry baby. I cry at Hallmark commercials. There is nothing wrong with tears. I like to say crying keeps your tear ducts open. Am I right? Of course, I am. But no one should cry just to cry. I’ve known people who did that. They use those tears to control people.

In today’s verse we see the people crying, but not out to God. They are just crying because of their situation. They are crying out for grain and new wine, perhaps to use in their pagan worship. Their tears are misplaced. Any tears they could shed should have been tears of repentance. But that is not what is happening here. They are just being cry babies.

APPLICATION

What are you crying about? Sometimes we just want to throw a pity party and cry about our situation. We don’t want to hear what the Lord has to say about our situation because we don’t want to admit our errors. We just want to feel bad. Doesn’t that sound strange?

However, the Lord is waiting to heal our hearts. He loves our tears, but not the attention-seeking ones. He loves tears of remorse. When we open our hearts and bare our souls, He is there to listen and comfort. Why don’t you do that? Let Him wipe your tears and pull you close. Don’t just rail at Him for “not seeing you.” He does. He knows.

It’s been a while since I cried deeply. The last time was back when I was going through my chemotherapy. I sobbed for healing. I didn’t think God was listening, but He was. He healed – in His time. He always does – in His own way.

Father, I praise You for Your comfort in the midst of my tears. May my tears always be received by You.

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Accountability, Advice, Belief, Bible, Confession, Deceit, Devil, God's Will, Guilt, Heaven, Lying, Mercy, Promises, Redemption, Satan, Scripture, Truth

LYING ABOUT GOD

HOSEA 7:13

Woe to them, for they have strayed from Me! Destruction is theirs, for they have rebelled against Me! I would redeem them, but they have spoken lies against Me.”

When you read my title for the blog today you may have thought that to be a strange title. Who, after all, lies about God? Oh, don’t get me started. Look all around you. There are people everywhere who are lying about God. They say He accepts all kinds of lifestyles – nope. They say He will accept everyone into heaven – nope. Some even say He doesn’t really exist – nope.

God would love to redeem Ephraim. He would love to extend His mercy and grace, but they are lying about Him. They are refusing to acknowledge His power of creation and them. They are not bowing to His total control over their circumstances and are thereby lying about Him. God will not redeem the unrepentant.

APPLICATION

When is the last time you have lied about God? Oh Carl, I have never lied about God. Oh really? Have you never questioned His power to save you from a situation? Have you never believed Satan’s whispers that God was too busy for your prayers? You may call my words a little harsh. You may not see that as lying about God. But anytime we don’t recognize His power we are basically calling Him a liar. We don’t believe He will do what He says He will do.

He says He will always love us and see us through the storms of life. He says He will rescue us from Satan’s barrages against us. He promises us that He is always listening to hear our prayers and to intercede according to His perfect will. You can believe these things about our holy God. He will always come through. To believe anything else is to believe a lie.

I may get accused of lying about a lot of things, but I do not want to ever be accused of lying about God. I want to always trust His Word and believe exactly what it says. If God says it, that settles it. There is no questioning Him. Praise be to God for His unshakeable truths.

I love knowing that You can always be trusted, Lord. Every word out of Your mouth is truth.

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NETTED

HOSEA 7:12

When they go, I will spread My net over them; I will bring them down like the birds of the sky. I will discipline them in accordance with the proclamation to their assembly.

I have never used a net to catch birds, but I have used a cast net to catch fish. There’s quite an art to it. You need to know how to fold it in your hands and swing it just right to cause the net to open as it hits the water. Otherwise, you just have a mess of a net in a wad in the water. When you throw it correctly, you have the potential to catch some bait fish to use later.

The Lord has cast His net over the dove mentioned in verse 11. Ephraim may have thought they could escape capture and judgment just like a dove to quickly fly off and escape. But the Lord’s net it sure. He knows exactly how to throw it. His cast is always perfect. He would hold them down to earth to face the consequences of their sins.

APPLICATION

Oh, be sure, my brothers and sisters, you will not escape the wrath of God. Unless we all turn to Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we will all face His wrath. We will pay for our sins. We have no excuse. We can’t claim ignorance. We can’t say we were too busy and meant to get to it. No! We will face judgment one day.

But thanks be to God, He has provided a way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13) for us. All we have to do is turn to Jesus, admit we are a sinner, believe He is the Son of God who died on that cruel cross for us, was buried and rose again. Then we confess our sins and ask for His shed blood to cover them. Then God extends His loving arms to us and grants us forgiveness and gives us the faith to live obediently to Him.

You have a choice today. You can be a netted dove, caught in your sins, awaiting judgment or you can be set free by the blood of Jesus. Which is it? I am so thankful I am free. I am free to live a life dedicated to the Lord Jesus Christ. My life is in His hands. I am secure and protected. What a feeling. I feel just like that dove soaring high in the sky, knowing I am protected by my loving Father. How about you?

I am free because of Jesus’ blood. Thank You, Lord, for cutting loose the net that bound me to my sins.

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SILLY DOVES

HOSEA 7:11

So Ephraim has become like a gullible dove, without sense; they call to Egypt, they go to Assyria.”

There was an Eastern proverb that said, “There is nothing more simple than a dove.” Now being simple, in and of itself, is not bad. But when our simplicity is directed toward God, that is not good. When I first came to Christ in 1977, my understanding of the Word was pretty simple. I simply read it and went on with my life. I didn’t take the time to study deep.

Hosea compares Ephraim to a gullible dove for the same reasons. They did not take God seriously. They believed but simply, without reason. When in trouble, they called on Egypt to rescue them instead of God. As a result, they were carried off to Assyria.

APPLICATION

How do you believe? Do you believe because your parents did? Do you believe because your spouse does? Those are not reasons to believe. You have to develop your own faith. Your faith is your faith, not someone else’s. It takes time to grow your faith. It doesn’t happen overnight. I know my faith has continued to grow these past 41 years. I still have room to grow.

There are some things we must believe just because God said it. I don’t begin to confess that I have God figured out. He still amazes me. His Word blows my mind each day. But there are some things that I just have to accept by faith. I believe Christ’s blood covers my sins. I believe He was resurrected (even though I didn’t witness it) and lives now in eternity seated beside His Father. I just believe those things, but I also study His Word to learn more about them.

I pray you are digging deep. I pray you are sharing that with others. Simple faith is okay at the beginning of your walk with Christ, but you can’t stay there. You have to grow. You have to know who to call on for your rescue. It’s not Egypt or another Egypt look alike. Only He can rescue you.

I will turn to You, O Lord, to deliver me. There is no other person I can call on to rescue me. I commit to grow in Your Word and in my faith.

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PRIDE

HOSEA 7:10

Though the pride of Israel testifies against him, yet they have not returned to the LORD their God, nor have they sought Him, despite all this.

Pride comes before the fall. Have you heard that? Well, it’s true. We get cocky and arrogant, and before you know it, we fall flat on our face. Pride can be a good thing. We should take pride in our country. We should be proud of our friends or family when they have a great achievement. But pride of self will always bring us down.

Hosea continues to speak against Ephraim and talks about their pride. They are caught in their sins, but their pride will not let them repent. Why should they? Their sins aren’t as bad as the pagans of the land (or so they thought). Surely, God would not judge them. They are special. They are chosen. Wrong! God did hold them accountable.

APPLICATION

How do we fight against the pride of our flesh? There is only one way – we have to die to our flesh every second of every day. I have said that a lot in my devotional blogs. But what exactly does that mean – to die to your flesh? It means recognizing that we are not capable of living a holy life on our own. It means humbling ourselves before Him. It means saying you can’t do this on your own.

When we do that, the Holy Spirit empowers us to do everything we just said we couldn’t. What? Yep! He lives in us and will live through us when we get out of the way. He will control our tongue. He will direct our eyes. He will… But we have to surrender our will to the Father’s Will. Then and only then can the Holy Spirit do those things for us.

Are you tired of your prideful life? Are you sick of picking yourself back up after another horrible stumble? Kill that self pride today. Don’t let Satan have an inch of real estate in your life. Jesus is waiting to give you a victory.

I am so tired of trying to prove myself, Father. I surrender my life to You to do with as You see fit. Use me today to glorify Yourself.

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