Allegiance, Battles, Belief, Bible, Blasphemy, Darkness, Devil, Evil, Godliness, Holiness, Holy Spirit, Idols, Satan, Scripture

SORCERY FORBIDDEN

MICAH 5:12

“‘I will eliminate sorceries from your hand, and you will have no fortune-tellers.’”

I will never forget the evening when I lived in Lakeland, FL when my wife and I decided to go to the local outdoor mall. It was new to Lakeland and had become a major evening and weekend destination because of the shops, restaurants and entertainment. We were walking along, and while my wife looked in one shop, I decided to step into this store that caught my attention. As I walked in, a chill ran up my spine. All I saw was occultic images and products. I ran out of that store as fast as I could. Such darkness.

This is what the Lord is cutting out of the land. No sorcery or fortune telling would be allowed. These were based in the pagan idolatry of the land, the very thing the Lord had warned the people of when they came into the Promised Land. Nothing had changed. These evil practices were still around and were now going to be purged. Evil was evil then and still is now.

APPLICATION

So many Christians today dabble in the occult, thinking it is frivolous or meaningless. Satan loves for us to believe that. I am not saying that a demon is going jump out of the Ouija board and tackle you to the ground, but the devil has a way to hook us into this stuff. Tarot cards and astrology are still listed in God’s eyes as sorcery and fortune-telling. That has not changed.

If you are into these things or have been in the past, let me urge you to put them down and confess that as sin. Renounce any allegiance you had to these items and get rid of them. Burn them if you can. Does this all sound extreme? You bet. Our battle with the forces of darkness is real and extreme. You must have your armor on and be free from any form of darkness.

Once you do that and allow the Holy Spirit to guide you, He will make you very sensitive to these things. You will be able to recognize any form of idolatry. God wants you and me to walk in holiness, free from the entanglements of evil. Walking free is so much easier than dragging around a chain of darkness.

O Father, thank You for protecting me from evil. I know You have my back at all times.

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Accountability, Bible, Blasphemy, Eternity, Faith, Heaven, Hell, Idols, Scripture

FROM IDOLS TO IDOLS 

MICAH 1:7 

“All of her idols will be crushed, all of her earnings will be burned with fire, and all of her images I will make desolate; for she collected them from a prostitute’s earnings, and to the earnings of a prostitute they will return.” 

Here in the U.S., we don’t think much about religious idols. They just aren’t prevalent. Instead, we make idols out of celebrities or sports figures. We worship the idol of success. We can even make our families our Idols.  

In Micah’s time, however, idols were very prevalent. The Idols which were being worshipped in Israel would be destroyed by the Assyrians. The people would be carted off to slavery in a land that was also filled with idols. Idols, idols, everywhere. All of them were false. All of them were just silver or gold or stone or wood. They had no life. They did not exist. 

APPLICATION 

What do you idolize? Where is most of your time and attention assigned to? Where do you spend your money? Now, I am not talking about the necessities of life like food and clothing. But I am talking about excessive amounts of time at the rec fields instead of investing spiritually with your children. I am talking about taking those weeklong hunting trips instead of spending quality time with your wife. 

We can idolize anything (and we do). None of those things will last. The only thing that will last for eternity is our relationship with the Lord. We need to be spending as much time, if not more, with Jesus as we do in front of the tv.  

I pray you will commit this week to look at your idols and tear them down. Crush them. Throw them away. Love the Lord, your God, will all your heart, soul and mind. Spend the time you need with Jesus until you hear His voice. It’s a sweet voice. He wants to talk to you. 

Thank You, Jesus, for speaking to me each and every time I stop and listen to You. 

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Abiding, Affection, Belief, Betrayal, Bible, Blasphemy, Commitment, Devout, Disciplemaking, Idols, Intimacy, Modeling, Obedience, Relationships, Scripture

A KISS

HOSEA 13:2 

“And now they sin more and more, and make for themselves cast metal images, idols skillfully made from their silver, all of them the work of craftsmen. They say of them, ‘Let the people who sacrifice kiss the calves!’” 

A kiss seems harmful enough, doesn’t it? Have you ever blown someone a kiss? That’s one of the first things we teach our babies. It is so cute to see them blow you a kiss. But when you are an adult, you had better be careful to whom you blow kisses. Blowing those to the wrong person will get you in a whole heap of trouble. 

Ephraim was guilty of idolatry. They had multiplied their idols, even making them to represent any god they imagined. They covered them with silver and gold and bowed before them. They kissed them and when they couldn’t physically kiss them, they would blow a kiss towards them. Wow! How do you think God felt when He saw His chosen people kissing false gods? 

APPLICATION 

I know what you are thinking. But Carl, I don’t have any silver or gold idols in my house that I kiss and bow to. Most of don’t. We are too sophisticated for that. We would never have our idols placed out in front of everyone. We tend to hide our idols. We disguise our idols.  

What do you worship? Anything you place before God and His Son, Jesus, is an idol. Anything or anyone you prioritize over your worship of the only true God is an idol. So, what do you worship? It could be your family, your job, your possessions or even your health. Nothing can come between you and your Lord. Stop kissing the wrong thing. 

I have been guilty of placing things before God from time to time. I get busy and replace my quiet times with scheduling for the day. I get sidetracked and stop spending time with Him in prayer. It can happen to all of us. Take a minute right night and look at the day ahead of you. Make time with God your priority. Spend the time you need (and you need it) with Him today. Kiss Him today! 

I lavish You with my worship today, O Lord. I long to kiss Your hands and feet and pay homage to You for all You have done for me. 

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Adultery, Bible, Blasphemy, Commands, Deceit, Devil, Fire, Holiness, Holy Spirit, Obedience, Satan, Scripture, Self-control, Sin

FRESH BREAD

HOSEA 7:4

They are all adulterers, like an oven heated by the baker, who stops stoking the fire from the time the dough is kneaded until it is leavened.”

I don’t think there is any smell quite as good as fresh baked bread. There is just something so comforting about it. I have a friend who bakes bread a lot. She gives it away to people to bless them. I love her bread heated with a pat of butter. Excuse me while I drool. Lol

What does this analogy of bread have to do with the people committing adultery? Just like the oven heated by the baker, they were heated in their lust to commit adultery both spiritually and physically. Once that “oven” is turned on and heated up, it can quickly burn whatever is put within it.

APPLICATION

Are you burning? Are you heated up? Our flesh is prone to go that way unless we turn the oven down. Do you understand that we have a temperature control knob on our flesh? Yep! As a believer, the Holy Spirit dwells within us to do just that. When we yield to Him, He can control that knob. He can turn down the temperature.

The problem is we are in a spiritual arm wrestle for that knob. We want the temperature to stay up. We like the heat. Or so we think. When the heat gets too high and we start to burn, we want out. But Satan has one of those oven door locks that slams shut when the heat gets high. He wants us trapped in that oven.

So, what do we do? Stay out of the oven! Stay away from temptation. Know your surroundings. Ask the Lord each day to guard you from the evil one. He will. But stay out of the oven. It’s not that hard, if you yield to Him. If you don’t, watch out. That oven will burn you.

Keep me safe, Lord. I trust You to guide me. I desire to be out of the oven and safely in Your arms.

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Accountability, Bible, Blasphemy, Condemnation, Following, Judgment, Lies, Punishment, Scripture, Sin

TRUSTWORTHY GOD

HOSEA 5:9

“Ephraim will become a desolation in the day of rebuke; Among the tribes of Israel I make known what is trustworthy.”

Being trustworthy is a character trait we should all aspire to. Is it so hard? Giving our word and sticking to it shouldn’t be. However, for so many it is. Even believers tend to fall back to their fleshly ways at times and prove untrustworthy. We must remember who we represent.

The Lord is saying through Hosea in today’s verse that what He says will come true. Ephraim truly became a desolation. After their exile, they never returned as a tribe of Israel. God’s word is always true. We may not choose to believe it, but that does not negate its truthfulness.

APPLICATION

The question for us today is do we believe the Lord. Do you believe He is as trustworthy today as He was back in the day of Israel? If you believe that, there is nothing that He says that you shouldn’t believe. Where do you find those words? In His Word.

You must spend time in His Word to find those trustworthy statements. As you spend more and more time with Him you will discover just how trustworthy He is. There is nowhere He will take you where you can’t trust Him. Just as Jehovah God proved trustworthy in the days of Israel, He is still trustworthy today.

If we are to emulate Him, we must prove to be just as trustworthy. We cannot do that in and of ourselves. It is only through becoming more and more like Him that we can become trustworthy. Our trustworthiness is His trustworthiness. People can trust us because we are trusting Him.

Father, I do trust You with all my heart because You are trustworthy. Let me prove to be trustworthy to draw others to You.

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Accountability, Belief, Bible, Blasphemy, Choices, Condemnation, Deceit, Deception, Following, Forgiveness, Idols, Judgment, Lies, Obedience, Punishment, Scripture

TROUBLE’S COMING

HOSEA 5:7

“They have dealt treacherously with the LORD, for they have given birth to illegitimate children. Now the new moon will devour them with their land.”

Sometimes we think we have gotten away with stuff. Can you think of things in your life that you have done that you have yet to suffer the consequence? I don’t mean really bad stuff. It could be anything that you know you shouldn’t have done. It could have been years ago. You have never confessed and now think God has forgotten about it. Guess again.

Israel has “dealt treacherously with the Lord.” They have dealt in deception. They have birthed children from their pagan worship and with pagan people. They think they have pulled the wool over God’s eyes. But now God tells them through Hosea that within a month judgment is coming. Wow! I guess God wasn’t fooled.

APPLICATION

What are you attempting to hide from God? Do you really think you can do that? Let me save you some time and some trouble. You can’t. God sees all and knows all. You can waste your time trying to hide stuff from Him, but He knows it all before it happens.

God desires that we disclose all to Him. He wants us to live holy lives before Him. That requires transparency. That requires open and vulnerable hearts. When we do that, our lives are so much more in tune with Him. We can walk in victory and not fear repercussions from the Lord.

I don’t like to walk around looking over my shoulder. I prefer to walk facing straight ahead, knowing the Lord has my back. I have nothing to hide from Him. He knows everything I have done. He knows my motive for doing it. He knows my every little thought and knows my actions before I do them. I will trust Him. Will you?

Thank You, Lord, for knowing me. I trust You because You know what is best for me each and every day.

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Accountability, Blasphemy, Condemnation, Deceit, Deception, Devil, Judgment, Satan, Scripture

TRAPS AND NETS

HOSEA 5:1

“Hear this, you priests! Pay attention, house of Israel! Listen, you of the house of the king! For the judgment applies to you, because you have been a trap at Mizpah, and a net spread out on Tabor.”

When I was a little boy, I loved to build traps and snares to try and catch small game, like rabbits or squirrels. I wasn’t very successful. My traps didn’t work too well. They looked good, but were not very productive.

Unfortunately, these priests referred to by Hosea had made “traps” on each side of the Jordan, at Mizpah and Tabor. These locations had become full of idols. People were lured there by these idols and became entrapped to these false gods. Hosea is calling them out. The judges will be judged.

APPLICATION

What has entrapped you? Is there something you have been pursuing that has now caught you? The trouble with traps and nets is when they are used against you, you will seldom see them. Who do you think is setting those traps? Your best friend? I don’t think so.

Satan will lay traps for us in seemingly safe places. He will lure us in and then slam the trap shut. The sad thing is many of us linger in these traps for years before we even know we are trapped. Where does he have you right now? Are you free or not?

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like feeling entrapped. I know I am free because of Christ. He has given me the path of freedom. There are not traps in my life, not because I am so smart. I am simply pursuing Christ daily, and He will never leave me into a trap. That’s the key! Follow Him. Live a life without traps.

Thank You, O Lord, for keeping me free from the traps of the devil. I will follow You.

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Accountability, Affliction, Bible, Blasphemy, Condemnation, Deception, Following, Forgiveness, Idols, Judgment, Obedience, Persecution, Punishment, Scripture

CARRIED BY THE WIND

HOSEA 4:19

“The wind wraps them in its wings, and they will be put to shame because of their sacrifices.”

The wind truly is amazing. We can’t see the wind, but we can see its effect. Gentle breezes over a lake are so peaceful, but you don’t want to be on that same lake if the winds get violent. I have had the displeasure of living through several hurricanes and tornadoes. No fun! Wind can be good, but it can also do a lot of damage.

Just ask the Israelites. They are being carried off to exile as if by an invisible wind. The nefarious forces that have swooped in like the wind are going to carry them away because of their disobedience and lack of faithfulness to our God. They never saw it coming before it was too late. Just like a tornado appears out of seemingly nowhere, they are wrapped up in the winds of exile.

APPLICATION

We may not have to worry about exile (notice I said “may not”), but we certainly have to be concerned about not being loyal to our heavenly Father. The same God who judged Israel and Judah judges us today. As a believer in Christ, your sins have already been judged. But don’t think that gives you the freedom to live as you want. We have commands to obey.

So, is God this ruthless, uncaring God who only wants to be obeyed? Of course, not. He loves us and wants us to want to obey Him. He won’t force us into submission. He desires that we willingly follow Him. That’s the way He operates.

But He still holds us accountable for following or not following His law. While we are under grace through Jesus, there are still expectations for holy living which the Lord places on us. He has given us these guidelines to follow to draw us closer to Him. Will you follow them today?

O God, I know You expect certain behaviors from me. Forgive me when I fall short. I do desire to follow You.

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Abiding, Accountability, Advice, Advocate, Alone, Bible, Blasphemy, Deception, Devil, Following, Idols, Judgment, Obedience, Scripture, Sin, Testimony

LEAVE HIM ALONE

HOSEA 4:17

“Ephraim is allied with idols; Leave him alone.”

Some people have made up their mind about God. They refuse to believe in the Son of God. Nothing you can say will change their mind. You have preached to them. You have shared your testimony, and still they refuse to believe that Jesus died for their sins. We should still pray for them, but there comes a point when the Lord may just tell you to leave them alone. That’s hard.

Ephraim had reached that point. Nothing Hosea was going to say was going to tear them away from their idols. Isn’t that sad? They knew the power of Jehovah. They had been told about all the things He had done on behalf of Israel, yet they had been blinded by the devil to believe the false idols of the land were more worthy of their worship. It doesn’t make any sense.

APPLICATION

But we are just as bad. Don’t look at Ephraim and claim to be better than them. We do the same thing. We put our trust in false idols just as much. We trust people over God. We trust money over God. We trust medicine over God. We trust a lot of things rather than putting our trust in the Almighty.

I am not saying those things aren’t important. We need people in our lives, but we can’t trust them as we can Jesus. We need money to live in this world, but I know a lot of people who trust their paychecks and bank accounts more than the provisions of the Lord. We need medicine to fight diseases, but doctors and medicine only treat the disease. It is God who heals.

So, before we get all high and mighty and say we don’t act like Ephraim, check out your idols. Do you have anything you trust more than the Lord? When push comes to shove and you are in a deep hole, who do you turn to? It had better be Jesus because He is the only one who will always be there. He is the only true God. Amen?

Lord, You are my only source. I worship You and You alone.

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Accountability, Advice, Bible, Blasphemy, Condemnation, Denial, Forgiveness, Hypocrisy, Infidelity, Judgment, Lies, Satan, Scripture, Sin, Victors

WHAT IS GOOD FOR THE GOOSE…

HOSEA 4:14

“I will not punish your daughters when they play the prostitute, or your brides when they commit adultery, because the men themselves slip away with the prostitutes and offer sacrifices with temple prostitutes; So, the people without understanding are ruined.”

You probably have heard the expression “What is good for the goose is good for the gander.” That sounds good, doesn’t it? But not always. If both parties are going to get punished, I would prefer to not be the gander, lol. I would hope that I could learn from others’ mistakes and avoid them.

That’s not what happened in Israel. In fact, God has given them up to their sins. The verse sounds like the women are being forgiven. No! God is allowing them to continue in their adultery. The men are doing the same. When God gives you up, that’s a bad thing. Don’t you think?

APPLICATION

So, how do we deal with this verse? We need to confess our sins and live our lives honoring the Lord. We cannot live like the world and pretend there are no consequences. The Lord may not hold us accountable immediately, but every sin has consequences sooner or later.

Now, listen to me. As believers we should never chase sin. After salvation, sin chases us. We have to decide if we want to stop and let it catch us. But we need to remember that in Christ, we have power over sin. We are free in Jesus. Don’t believe the lies of the devil. He will try to convince you that you just can’t help it.

I choose today to live in victory. There is nothing more freeing than knowing that. When we surrender daily to the Lord and walk in the light of His Word, we have victory. Hallelujah! I refuse to be defeated. Jesus has defeated the devil. Don’t forget that.

I praise Your name, Jesus. Thank You for defeating the devil and putting him in his place. I walk today victorious.

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