Accountability, Advice, Affection, Appeasement, Bible, Compassion, Confession, Faithfulness, Forgiveness, Judgment, Obedience, Punishment, Redemption

UNTIL

HOSEA 5:15

“I will go away and return to My place until they acknowledge their guilt and seek My face; in their distress they will search for Me.”

I remember when I was growing up I hated to hear these words: “Wait until your daddy gets home.” I knew what that meant. I had undoubtedly done something that required a spanking (yes, my parents spanked me). My mom would spank us sometimes, but she withheld the spankings for the more serious infractions for my dad. Man, o man. I didn’t like to hear that.

In today’s verse, the Lord has already dealt out the punishment. Now He is saying He will not return to them UNTIL they repent. They need to seek His face. They must search for Him. We know He is always ready to forgive, but it requires that we turn to Him. And when we do, He is ready and willing to take us back into His warm embrace.

APPLICATION

So, if we know that the Lord desires to forgive us, why do we wait so long to repent? Just like Judah or Israel, we think we’re okay. We think we can get by without confessing. We may think that we have done nothing wrong. After all, who is God that He should judge us, right? Wrong!

Without right and wrong, without good and evil, there is no direction in life. We have to pursue what’s right in the Lord’s eyes, not ours. There can only be one absolute truth. That is found in His Word. We can pretend that we know best, but we will find out that we don’t.

When we realize that our way of thinking is fleshly and is driven by our own desires, we should repent and ask the Lord to change our views. Listen to me, brother and sister. When He directs us, we can be sure we are doing the right thing. His goal is always to make us more like Jesus. That applies to everything we say and do. Will you trust Him? Will you return?

O God, I confess my selfish desires and actions as sin. I need You to point me in the right direction. I truly want to please You in all I do.

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Accountability, Advice, Bible, Commands, Commitment, Condemnation, Deceit, Faithfulness, God's Will, Holiness, Judgment, Obedience, Punishment, Reputation, Scripture, Testimony

MOVING THE LINE

HOSEA 5:10

“The leaders of Judah have become like those who displace a boundary marker; On them I will pour out My anger like water.”

There’s been a battle for a number of years over the official boundary marker on a part of the Georgia and Tennessee state lines. The battle is really about water rights to the Tennessee river. Georgia wants access to that water, mainly for their largest city, Atlanta. But the original boundary marker excludes that. They claim the line was drawn incorrectly and needs to be corrected. I doubt that boundary marker will ever be changed.

Hosea uses the idea of moving a marker to describe Judah. Anyone who would move a boundary marker without permission is dishonest. God does not tolerate that and certainly wouldn’t from Judah. Their deceit draws God’s anger. He says He will pour it out like water. Not good!

APPLICATION

Have you moved the line on someone? Have you been dishonest in your dealings with anyone? Have you been dishonest with God? God still does not tolerate that. As believers, we must be the most honest of all people. Why? Because we represent our Lord. Our dishonesty reflects on Him.

That is why God is angered over any dishonesty in our lives. Anything that brings dishonor to His name angers our holy God. His name means something. It stands for something. We have no right to associate Him with our behaviors. That’s why He tells us we are to be holy as He is holy. Again, we represent Him. Don’t forget that.

As for me, I don’t want to do anything to bring shame on myself from being deceitful or dishonest. I want my actions to reflect well on my Lord. I want Him to look at me and say, “Well done, My good and faithful servant.” Don’t you?

I will not move the line, Lord. I want to honor You in all I do. I know my actions are a reflection of my testimony of my faith in You.

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Accountability, Bible, Choices, Commands, Discipline, Faithfulness, Judgment, Opponents, Punishment, Rebuke, Scripture

REBUKED

HOSEA 5:2

“And the rebels have gone deep in depravity, but I will discipline all of them.”

There comes a time when wrong doers have to be confronted and put in their place. I worked for over thirty years with children and youth who had been abused and neglected. Some of those children were rebels. They fought against everything we did for them – at least for a while. Their past abuse damaged their ability to receive love and proper affection. We had to discipline them on occasion to point them towards the right path.

God is doing the same here in Hosea. These rebels in Israel had sunk deep in depravity. God said He will discipline all of them. Notice that. He said “all” of them. He couldn’t leave out one rebel. They all had to be disciplined. None would escape. Nothing’s changed! That’s still true today.

APPLICATION

Are you a rebel against the commands of God? Of course, not, Carl. I would never rebel. Really? I ask that question because we are all prone to wander, as the old hymn said. Our flesh wants what it wants when it wants it. We may think our rebellion is too small to be labeled as rebellion. So, how do you know if you’re a rebel?

It’s pretty simple. If you are not following the Lord’s commands that He has laid out in His Word, you are rebelling against Him. Does that sound harsh? It is. You can’t partially follow Him. You can’t have one foot in the world and one foot following Jesus.

Will you join me in confessing our rebellion? We’ve all done it. The good news is He is there ready to forgive our rebellion. He wants to place us where we need to be. He wants us to follow Him. He wants to drive out any spirit of rebellion we may have in our hearts. And through Jesus we can do that.

Father, I confess my rebellion against Your commands. Lead me and direct me each day.

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Affection, Bible, Disciplemaking, Faithfulness, God's Will, Husbands, Intimacy, Passion, Protection, Relationships, Scripture

MY MAN

HOSEA 2:16

“‘And it will come about on that day,’” declares the LORD,

“‘That you will call Me my husband and no longer call Me my Baal.’”

I’ve been married for over thirty-five years now. I truly have to say that I love my wife more today than the day we got married. Why? Because I know her better. I just had this flashback of Sonny and Cher singing “I love you more today than yesterday.” Lol. I love it when my wife refers to me as her husband. I love that term. It’s intimate. It’s personal. I’m her man.

God is telling Israel (and Gomer) to call Him “my husband” or “my man.” He really is. That’s what the Hebrew word ish means. Why is He saying this? Because He didn’t want them using the word Baal which means lord. A husband was often called lord by his wife, but in this instance, God didn’t want any confusion on their part with Him and that pagan god named Baal. So just call Him my husband.

APPLICATION

Is God “your man”? I don’t mean that in any kind of derogatory way. I mean do you have an intimate, personal relationship with Him? My wife and I have been developing our relationship for over thirty-five years now, but we still have a long way to go. I will never fully know her because we are both limited by our humanness. God knows you fully and wants you to know Him.

How can you know God on a more intimate level? There is only one way. You have to spend time with Him in His Word and in prayer. If you don’t spend time with someone, you will never know them. It’s just not possible. Will you commit to spend some more time with the Lord this week?

The beauty of spending time with the Lord is that it can happen anywhere. Unlike my wife, who has to be physically with me to spend time with me, God is accessible 24/7. He is everywhere. He is always listening. That blows my mind, but it’s true. Just reach out and see what happens. He’s there waiting to commune with you.

O God, creator of the universe, I am amazed that You want to spend time with me. I will stop today and listen to Your voice.

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Accountability, Advice, Bible, Compassion, Destruction, Faithfulness, Following, Forgiveness, Infidelity, Judgment, Obedience, Punishment, Relationships, Scripture

ILLEGITIMATE

HOSEA 2:4

“Also, I will take no pity on her children, because they are children of infidelity.”

I have mentioned before that I worked over thirty years in children’s homes. Over these years I had the privilege to work with a lot of children who the world would call illegitimate. By that I mean, they were born out of wedlock. Their biological mother and father were not married. Early on in my ministry there was a lot more stigma attached to that. That’s really not the case now. In some ways that’s good, but it’s still not God’s design.

God knew (as did Hosea) that the children birthed by Gomer were probably not Hosea’s due to her infidelity. God used this extremely difficult human situation to portray to the nation of Israel that they were the same as Gomer. They had gone after other gods. They were being unfaithful to Him in the same way Gomer was to Hosea. As a result, children would suffer.

APPLICATION

We may not worship idols or other “gods,” but we are prone to be just as unfaithful. We worship our money, our careers, our churches, even our Pastors. We place them above our Lord way too often. We are no better than the Israelites. We are committing adultery with these “other gods.” We seek after them with more energy and zeal than we ever do after our God.

How do you not become a Gomer? By staying pure in heart. By seeking Him first in your heart. By staying faithful to Him. By…I could go on and on. Our pursuit of God is really not that complicated. We have to be laser focused. If anything gets in the way of that, it should be reprioritized. Hear me clearly. Nothing gets in the way of our relationship with Jesus.

What have you allowed to sneak in? What is disrupting your laser beam? Get it out the way. God has to come first, even before family or church. And when you put Him first, when you are faithful to Him, He will honor that. He will give you the strength and courage to do whatever is necessary to live for Him.

Keep me faithful to You and You only. Forgive me when I am not.

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Bible, Calling, Commitment, Confession, Destruction, Faithfulness, Hell, Husbands, Infidelity, Love, Obedience, Relationships, Scripture, Wives

HUSBANDS AND WIVES

HOSEA 2:2

“Dispute with your mother, dispute, because she is not my wife, and I am not her husband; but she must remove her infidelity from her face and her adultery from between her breasts,”

My wife and I have been married thirty-five years. We could have never imagined back in 1985 how our lives would change. We have been through a lot together. We have lived in nine different homes in five different states. We have made so many friends and, thankfully, very few enemies, lol. Through it all, we have remained husband and wife.

In today’s verse, God uses the imagery of husband and wife and is referring to Hosea’s adulterous wife. Just as Gomer, Hosea’s wife, had been unfaithful to God, Israel had been unfaithful to Him. He is calling them to repentance. Sin must be confessed and expunged to restore the relationship.

APPLICATION

Do you understand how your unconfessed sin builds a wall between you and the Lord? Until you admit you are a sinner and ask Christ to save you, you are doomed to an eternal punishment. There really is no hope for you without Christ. But the moment you call on Him and confess your sins, believe in His name and surrender your life to Him, you are cleansed and become His child.

So many believers, however, stop there. No! You need to continue to confess and cleanse your heart each day. Now, you are only saved once, but because we are still human, we are going to sin and mess up. Those sins are forgiven under the same blood that saved you, but unconfessed sin can begin to be a barrier between you and God. Just like Gomer, we have to confess our sins and return to our “husband.”

Take a moment right now and pray. Ask the Lord to forgive you for the sins you have committed today or this week. Name them. Don’t just ask the Lord to forgive your sins. Name them specifically. If you don’t remember them, ask the Lord to reveal them to you. He will. I guarantee you He knows. A clean heart restores fellowship with the Lord.

O Father, restore unto me the joy of my salvation. I want to fellowship with You .

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Accountability, Advice, Bible, Compassion, Direction, Encouragement, Faithfulness, Following, Mercy, Pity, Scripture

NO PITY

HOSEA 1:6

“Then she conceived again and gave birth to a daughter. And the LORD said to him, “Name her Lo-ruhamah, for I will no longer take pity on the house of Israel, that I would ever forgive them.” 

Have you ever had a pity party? The only trouble with those is you are the only one who shows up. Feeling sorry for yourself is one thing, but when others show no pity on you, that’s really sad. You have reached the breaking point of compassion from others due to your actions or your behavior. Receiving no pity is tough.

But when the Lord shows no pity, you’re in trouble. The Hebrew word for “take pity” can mean “show mercy” or “show compassion.” Now, think about that. What could drive the Lord to this point? Consistent rebellion and turning away by the nation of Israel. They knew the right way to live. Still, they turned away toward other gods. So, the Lord sent them a second message through the naming of Hosea’s daughter, Lo-ruhamah.

APPLICATION

Let me ask you something. Are you quick to show pity? Do you hurt for others when they are down? The Lord wants us to be merciful and show compassion. But there comes a time when doing that is actually harmful. We can enable others to continue in their bad behaviors and lifestyle. We really have to seek the Lord to know when to do that.

Perhaps you’re the one seeking pity. Can you dig deep and ask the Lord why you are asking for that from Him or others. Is your situation self-imposed or is from the Lord? Perhaps He has you in this season for a purpose. He is trying to teach you how to trust Him. You don’t need pity. You need insight from His Word. You need to hear from Him. Listen.

Thank You, Lord, for being merciful to me, a sinner. I never want to hear those words from You – Lo-ruhamah.

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Accountability, Bible, Blessing, Faithfulness, Following, Judgment, Names, Obedience, Scripture

CHILDREN’S NAMES

HOSEA 1:4

“And the LORD said to him, “Name him Jezreel; for in just a little while I will punish the house of Jehu for the bloodshed of Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel.” 

What does your name mean? Do you know? My first name is Carl, which means “strong, manly.” I like that. My last name is Willis, which means “son of William.” Now, that doesn’t say a whole lot, does it? But what is interesting is my middle name is William. Carl was my maternal grandfather’s name and William was my paternal grandfather’s name. They both died before I was born, so I never knew them. I wished I had.

God gave Hosea explicit instructions on what to name his son. He was sending a message to the kingdom of Israel. He was going to judge them and judge them harshly. Why? Because of Jehu’s sins. Jezreel means God will scatter. Every time people saw Hosea’s son, Jezreel, they would be reminded of this prophecy by Hosea that God was going to scatter them.

APPLICATION

How in the world do you apply this verse? For me, it means that I need to believe what God says. If He says He is going to do something, I can take that to the bank. It’s as good as done. He will not go back on His promises. If He promises blessings, blessings will come. If He promises discipline, discipline will be administered. Do you believe what He says?

My father was a man of his word. He’s been in heaven a few years now. I bet I could walk into my home town grocery store right now and charge a buggy full of food, if he was still alive. They all knew my dad and knew he was good for the money. His word meant something. Does yours? Are you living a life worthy of that kind of respect and honor? You can if you trust the Lord to live through you.

I pray today you are trusting in God’s Word. It will never let you down. His Word is a choice reservoir of truth and wisdom. Won’t you go deep today? If He said it, He meant it. Listen to Him.

O Mighty God, I will listen. Your words are sweet nectar to me. I believe in everything You tell me.

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Accountability, Bible, Commands, Commitment, Confession, Encouragement, Faithfulness, Forgiveness, God's Will, Godliness, Infidelity, Obedience, Scripture

INFIDELITY

HOSEA 1:2

When the LORD first spoke through Hosea, the LORD said to Hosea, “Go, take for yourself a wife inclined to infidelity, and children of infidelity; for the land commits flagrant infidelity,  abandoning the LORD.” 

No one wants to talk about infidelity. It’s a dirty word. It’s a insulting word. But what exactly did the Lord mean by telling Hosea to take a wife that was “inclined to infidelity”? When God spoke through the prophets, He often asked them to do things to portray something that Israel had done. In this case, Israel had sought out other gods, thereby committing adultery with them. Israel, after all, was the bride of God.

What would you have done if the Lord had asked you to marry someone whom you knew was going to be unfaithful to you? You might have said, “Lord, are You sure about this? Are You sure You want me to marry her?” Remember, the Lord doesn’t make mistakes. He will never ask you to do something immoral or illegal.

APPLICATION

God wants us to be true to our spouses. He hates infidelity. There is never an excuse for it. I have actually heard people say the Lord told them to divorce their spouses because they had fallen out of love. Let me tell you something. That wasn’t God. That was their flesh talking. Infidelity is a sin – plain and simple.

Carl, you are being a little harsh, aren’t you? Well, the problem is we aren’t being harsh enough sometimes. So many of us are scared to call a sin a sin. We don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. So, we sit back and watch them die and go to hell. Ouch! If you are being unfaithful to your spouse, stop it, confess it and return to godly living.

Perhaps you are someone who would never be unfaithful to your spouse, but you have been unfaithful to God. You have put other things before Him. Your work, your play or even your family have been placed in that number one spot in your life. That is infidelity towards God. Repent of that now, as well. Ask the Lord to forgive you and return Him to His proper place in your life today.

Father, I want to keep You in the number one spot in my life. I vow to love and honor You above all.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Faithfulness, Following, Honor, Mentoring, Missionaries, Modeling, Parenting, Scripture, Service, Surrender, Witnessing

SEND THEM ON

3 JOHN 6

“and they have testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God.”

A few years ago, my daughter had the privilege to spend several months in Kenya serving as a Social Worker at Tenwek Hospital. It was an incredible opportunity for her. She was able to work alongside some Kenyan Social Workers and learn from them, as well as share with them her experience in Social Work that she had learned in college.

Our church commissioned her and sent her out in the same way John is referring to here in today’s verse. John had just praised Gaius for the way he had treated the brethren who had visited him. Now he tells him to send them out in a way that honors God. What does that mean? I believe John is saying send them as if you are actually dealing with God Himself. They deserved that kind of honor.

APPLICATION

A lot of churches have lost respect for those who dedicate their lives in service to the Lord. We shrug our shoulder when we hear about someone leaving for an overseas commitment. I remember as a child being in awe of those missionaries. Our children need to be taught what that kind of commitment actually means. We shouldn’t put those individuals on a pedestal, but we should show them the honor they deserve.

How can you teach your child that? How about helping your child send letters to those missionaries? I guarantee you that will bless their hearts. How about doing a fundraiser for a missionary project one of those missionaries has shared about? Sometimes those projects aren’t very costly and can be accomplished with a little help from home. And most importantly, pray for those missionaries in your home.

Is there someone you know who is raising support now to go serve in another country? What can you do to help with that? You may not be able to give financially, but there are plenty of other ways to help in the effort. May I encourage you to be a Gaius today? Send them out in a manner worthy of God.

Lord, I pray for all those who have surrendered to serve You away from home. Bless them today and meet every need they have.

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