Abiding, Affection, Appeasement, Belief, Bible, Choices, Commands, Commitment, Confession, Disciplemaking, Discipline, Intimacy, Judgment, Obedience, Punishment, Redemption, Reputation, Salvation, Scripture, Sin

IT NEVER LASTS

HOSEA 6:4

“What shall I do with you, Ephraim? What shall I do with you, Judah? For your loyalty is like a morning cloud, and like the dew which goes away early.”

I have been in the woods enough in the early morning to know that the early morning frost on the ground in the Fall doesn’t last long. It is really quite neat to watch the sunbeams hit the ground. As they inch across the landscape with the rising sun, you can watch the frost melt away. Little by little it vanishes.

God compares Ephraim and Judah to the vanishing morning clouds and the dew. They, too, vanish quickly. God knew they were about as loyal. Here one moment and gone the next. Fickle! Always looking for the next best thing. They could not be trusted.

APPLICATION

Let me ask you. Are you dependable? Can the Lord rely on you? When He asks you to do something, will you do it? He requires the same loyalty from us that He required of Ephraim and Judah. He has paid a huge price for our salvation. He gave His only Son to die for us. When we receive that gift, He expects us to be obedient.

What do we do with a disobedient child? We discipline them, of course. Why? To teach them to obey. We don’t pleasure in discipling them, but we know we must. An undisciplined child will be a disobedient adult. Therefore, God will discipline His children.

I never liked discipline. I still don’t. How do you avoid being disciplined? By obeying. I try to obey the Lord, but I am not always successful. Most of the time that disobedience is accidental. Whether the disobedience is accidental or purposeful, I still must be corrected by God. Will you yield to the Lord’s correction? Better yet, will you obey?

I won’t to obey You, Lord. And when I disobey You, I will accept Your discipline. I know You only discipline me to make me more like You.

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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, Appeasement, Bible, Choices, Commands, Condemnation, Destruction, Discipline, Flesh, Forgiveness, God's Will, Judgment, Mercy, Obedience, Punishment, Redemption, Repentance, Salvation, Scripture, Sin

THE LION GOD

HOSEA 5:14

“For I will be like a lion to Ephraim and like a young lion to the house of Judah. I, yes I, will tear to pieces and go away, I will carry away, and there will be no one to rescue.”

I hunt in an area known to have bears and an occasional mountain lion. We even have coyotes and wolves. You may ask me why I hunt there then. Well, I go in the woods fully armed. I am carrying a pistol and either a rifle, shotgun or crossbow. I walk in with my head on a swivel. I don’t want to end up breakfast or dinner for one of these critters.

God describes Himself as a lion tearing apart Ephraim and Judah. That’s pretty vicious. It gives you an idea how angry He was at them. Their rebellion had gone too far. He could not sit idly by and watch them relish in their pagan activities. Judgment had to fall and fall it did.

APPLICATION

Do you want to be torn apart by an angry God? Of course, not. No one does. And no one has to. When we come to Jesus and accept Him as our Savior, that judgment is appeased. God no longer seeks to devour us because of our wickedness. Because of the blood of Jesus, our sins are covered. Hallelujah!

Do you know someone who has not surrendered to the Lord? They are at risk! Their sins are not covered. God will hold them accountable for their sins. There is nothing they can do to escape His wrath – except… They must come to Jesus. Are you playing a part in showing them that? Perhaps the Lord has put you in their lives for just that reason.

Wouldn’t it be glorious to be a part of someone you know coming to Christ? There is no better joy than to lead someone to Him and watch them respond. Their excitement of salvation is contagious. You will catch it. You will be on cloud nine. You will seek out others to share with. So, what are you waiting for?

Lord, I want to see many avoid Your wrath. Will You give me the courage and boldness to be Your witness to a lost world?

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Accountability, Advice, Asking, Bible, Commitment, Hope, Judgment, Obedience, Punishment, Rebuke, Scripture

LOOKING IN WRONG PLACES

HOSEA 5:13

“When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah his sore, Ephraim then went to Assyria and sent word to King Jareb. But he is unable to heal you, or to cure you of your sore.”

I lose things. It’s just something I deal with. I am really bad about losing pocket knives. I think I know where I put them, but when I go back to find, they are not there. I look in drawers, in pants pockets and in my truck. They just disappear. Not really. I know I have just misplaced them. I can continue to look in the wrong places with the same results – no knife.

Ephraim and Judah looked in the wrong places for help. They turned to pagan kings to rescue them and didn’t find what they were looking for. In fact, they found exactly what they didn’t want. These pagan kings offered persecution rather than help. They gave them exile instead of peace.

APPLICATION

We need to remember where our help comes from. We can pursue help in a multitude of places, but there is only one true and reliable source. We can look towards friends or family. We can go to counselors or pastors. These are all good choices, but they are not Jesus. Only He can guide us correctly every time. His advice is always perfect.

What kind of help are you looking for right now? Are you in need of some wisdom? Go to the Word. The Holy Spirit speaks through God’s Word. Now, I don’t mean to randomly open the Bible and just point your finger at a verse. Do a word search for the area you are seeking wisdom. See what God says about that topic. I promise you there is an answer in there.

I would encourage you to go to a close Christian brother or sister in Christ who holds the Word to a high level, someone who knows the Word and can help you find the answers you need there. Use an online Bible resource like Biblehub.com or Blue Letter Bible. Whatever you do, use His Word.

Lord, I will go to You when I am in need. I will turn to Your Word for wisdom. Thank You for always being there for me.

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Accountability, Advice, Bible, Cleansing, Confession, Denial, Following, Forgiveness, Holy Spirit, Judgment, Obedience, Punishment, Scripture

LITTLE BY LITTLE

HOSEA 5:12

“Therefore I am like a moth to Ephraim, and like rottenness to the house of Judah.”

Have you ever had a part of your house rot? It happens a lot around gutters or downspouts. You don’t notice the rot at the beginning. It’s pretty much imperceptible. The rot is happening beneath the paint. Everything looks fine. But the longer that water penetrates the wood, the more rot happens. Eventually, you have to tear out a section and replace it. The damage has been done.

Hosea is using two examples to describe the Lord’s judgment on Ephraim and Judah which are similar. A moth’s damage to fabric begins very small. You don’t really notice. Then the holes appear, and the fabric is ruined. And then Hosea refers to rottenness, similar to what I described above. God had been trying to correct them both little by little, but they had not responded. Now, the final judgment is upon them.

APPLICATION

I don’t know about you, but I don’t enjoy being judged. I don’t like punishment. I never have. Now, I know I need to be disciplined at times. I am not perfect. God has to correct me. He does that through the Holy Spirit. I am convicted of my sins which leads me to confession. That’s how it’s supposed to work, right?

But there are times when I just bow up my back and am determined to have my way. I am convinced I am right, and God is wrong. I know that’s stupid. I didn’t say I am the brightest bulb in the pack. And when I do that, God will allow me to wander. He is still urging me to return and will turn up the heat for me to do so. I have to make that choice to stop and return.

You see, unconfessed sin doesn’t get better with time. It gets worse. We get accustomed to the sin. We ignore the Holy Spirit’s urgings. We begin to get tone deaf to God’s voice. Then the rot sets in. Then the moth begins to feed. Stop it right now. Come to Him in repentance. Let Him restore you to your right place.

I come to You today, Lord, and seek Your forgiveness. I long for freshness in my walk with You.

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Abiding, Accountability, Bible, Brokenness, Commands, Denial, Following, Judgment, Obedience, Punishment, Scripture

BROKEN

HOSEA 5:11

“Ephraim is oppressed, broken by judgment, because he was determined to follow man’s command.

We can do things in this life that can leave us broken. Wrong decisions can lead to horrible consequences. Some of those consequences are natural. Other consequences are imposed by man. For instance, if we break the law, we can be found guilty and have to go to jail. But all consequences go back to our decisions. Do we obey or not?

Ephraim made the decision to pursue their own desires. They followed man rather than God. As a result, they faced God’s judgment. They fell under the oppression of man. They had a choice to begin with. They could have obeyed Jehovah. But, like us, they chose what seemed pleasing to them. So, consequences followed.

APPLICATION

Do you enjoy the consequences of your sin? Now, if you say you do, you must be a little crazy. I don’t know anyone who enjoys that. It makes you wonder why we choose to follow after our own desires then. We know that doing that will almost always result in consequences. But we still do it.

Look at those words again in today’s verse. Oppressed, broken, judgment. Those aren’t words I want spoken over me. I prefer blessed, raised up, forgiven. Both lists of words are the result of choices. Choices, choices, choices. Why must we choose? Why doesn’t the Lord just make us do the right thing? Because He wants us to freely come to Him. He desires us to choose Him.

Well, today, I choose Jesus. I choose to follow Him. I want to please Him. That’s today. I know my flesh is strong. I know I must make this choice every day. I have to choose Him each and every day. And each time I do that, He smiles. Then He can bless me and raise me up. Those are consequences I can embrace.

I choose You, Lord. And in my choosing I realize it may not be easy to follow where You lead. But I go with You trusting You to see me through.

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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, 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, Apologies, Appeasement, Bible, Choices, Confession, Following, Forgiveness, Judgment, Obedience, Punishment, Repentance, Scripture, Sin

UNWANTED SACRIFICES

HOSEA 5:6

“They will go with their flocks and herds to seek the LORD, but they will not find Him; He has withdrawn from them.”

Have you ever tried to make amends to apologize to someone who wouldn’t accept it? It is really a difficult situation. You may be entirely sincere, but the hurt the other person is feeling is so real to them. They just can’t forgive. You are in a helpless situation. You can’t make them accept your apology. You have to prove yourself to them over time.

Israel, Ephraim and Judah could do nothing at this point. God wasn’t interested in their sacrifices of their flocks and herds. All the shed blood of their sacrifices could not appease God. His judgment was sure. They had to pay for their sins. He may forgive them in the future, but right now He was holding them accountable.

APPLICATION

What do you do when you have sinned against God? You need to make quick confession. We know that we should never sin intentionally against the Lord. But we may sin unintentionally. Sin, no matter how it is committed, must be confessed to our Lord. We need His forgiveness. We desire it. And the Lord is quick to give it.

Isn’t forgiveness sweet? Recall the feeling that comes with fresh cleansing from the Lord. There is nothing like it. I could write a list of analogies to compare it, but if you have experienced it, you know no words can really express it. If you haven’t come to Him lately to seek His forgiveness, come.

Let me remind you that when we choose not to seek forgiveness, we only put another brick in the wall that prevents us from hearing the Lord’s voice. The longer we go without confessing, the dimmer His voice becomes. Come to Him today. Confess all your sins to your Lord now and feel His warm embrace.

Father, never let me stray from the sound of Your voice. I want to stay “confessed up” and near to Your heart.

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Accountability, Advice, Affliction, Bible, Choices, Following, Judgment, Obedience, Punishment, Scripture, Stumble

WEAK ANKLES

HOSEA 5:5

“Moreover, the pride of Israel testifies against him, and Israel and Ephraim stumble in their wrongdoing; Judah also has stumbled with them.”

When I was a sophomore in high school, I broke my left ankle at football camp. I had won a starting position as center and was determined to not miss that season. I didn’t treat my injured ankle as the doctor suggested and actually ended up doing more harm to it. That ankle has been sprained a number of times since because it was weakened due to my own stupidity.

Israel, Ephraim and Judah stumbled due to their own stupidity. You see, the word “stumble” means to be weak in the ankles. When you are weak in your ankles, you can’t walk too well. When you are weak in your spiritual ankles, you can’t walk with God well. That’s what happened to Israel, Ephraim and Judah. They had injured their own spiritual walk through their choices.

APPLICATION

How do you keep your ankles strong? I am talking about your spiritual ankles. How do you do that? As with any body part, you have to exercise them to keep them strong. You can’t just sit around and expect to have strong ankles. You have to walk. And you have to walk correctly. If you walk incorrectly, you can damage your walk. But if you walk as He walked, you will have strong ankles.

I suffer from neuropathy in both of my feet. This has been progressing ever since I had chemotherapy in the Fall of 2019 and early Winter 2020. The numbness and pain have progressed up past my ankles. I can’t go for a walk right now because of the pain in my feet, toes and ankles. That is frustrating.

But the physical pain and numbness in my feet and ankles do not affect my spiritual ankles. I have to accept this side effect of my chemotherapy. I have no choice. I will probably have to live with it for the rest of my life. That’s okay. God has allowed it for a reason. It’s now part of my spiritual walk. How are your spiritual ankles?

Lord, strengthen my ankles so I can walk with You. I want to walk with You daily.

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