Highlights In Today's Reading:
Israel is bent to (on) backsliding (11:7) and turns everywhere but to God for advice: Chapter 7 — to Egypt and Assyria; Chapter 8 — to golden calves and altars of sin. God will never cease to love His own and seeks to win back those who have foresaken Him (Chapters 11 & 12). In the last days (Chapters 13 & 14) Israel will be judged, turn from idols and receive the Messiah.
The final words of the prophet Hosea before the Israelites were conquered and carried away by the Assyrians remind all of us: The ways of the Lord are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein (14:9).
Former warnings of judgment are now changed to a message of love. This did not mean that God had changed. It meant that, even though the Holy God must judge His people for their sins, His love still reached out to them. He called for Israel to reject the idols and return to Him, saying: O Israel, return unto the Lord thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity (14:1).
In the past, Israel had turned to the powerful nations of Egypt and Assyria for help; this led to the Israelites worshiping their idols (4:17; 8:4; 11:2; 13:2; Isaiah 42:17; 44:17). The more God prospered the israelites, the more they would serve themselves with an illusion of self-sufficiency. Consequently, prosperity led to selfish ends: He bringeth forth fruit unto himself (Hosea 10:1).
With a divided heart, God's people feared the Lord and served their own gods (II Kings 17:32-33). They would give up neither God nor idols but “worshiped” all of them.
Many today have yet to learn that no man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to (be loyal to) the one, and despise the other (the one of less importance). Ye cannot serve God and mammon (Matthew 6:24). With altars to idols and the Temple sacrifice to God, the Israelites worship became empty words of hypocrisy. They boasted of their relationship to the God of Jacob but did not walk in his steps. Israel's character was like Solomon, whose wives turned away his heart after other gods. . . . Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. . . . Chemosh, the abomination of Moab . . . and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. . . . his heart was turned from the Lord (I Kings 11:4-5,7,9).
When we repent, turn from our sins, receive Jesus as our Savior and Lord of our lives, and let the indwelling Holy Spirit guide our lives as we read our Bible, we are freed from the power of Satan, sin, and spiritual death. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do (practice) not the truth (I John 1:6).
Thought for Today:
The key to spiritual victory is to obey the Holy Spirit as He guides our lives by revealing the truth of God's Word.
In the son who was called out of Egypt (Hosea 11:1). This prophecy is twofold: one is a historical reference pertaining to Israel (Ex. 4:22-23); and the other is prophetic, looking to the sojourn of Christ as a child in Egypt (Matthew 2:14-15).
9:1 hast gone a whoring =b> committed idolatry, were unfaithful (Israel was regarded as the wife of Jehovah. Isaiah 54:5; 62:4-5); cornfloor =b> threshing floor; 10:5 calves =b> golden calf idols; 10:11 to ride =b> to put in harness; 11:12 ruleth with God =b> is faithful to God.
Pray for International Shortwave Broadcasts to Asia & SouthEast Asia sponsored by Mark Ziemba • Country: Gambia (1 million) in West Africa • Major languages: English and Mandinka • Religious freedom • 87% Muslim; 10% animism and ancestral spirit worship; 2% Roman Catholic; .7% Protestant • Prayer Suggestion: Call upon the Lord in time of trouble, for He promises to hear us (Psa. 18:6).
Memory Verse for the Week: 2 Thessalonians 1:4