In The Word
Read: Hosea 13-14
13 When Ephraim spoke, there was trembling.
He exalted himself in Israel,
But through Baal he incurred guilt and died.
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!”
3 Therefore they will be like the morning cloud
And like dew which soon disappears,
Like chaff which is blown away from the threshing floor,
And like smoke from a chimney.
4 Yet I have been the Lord your God
Since the land of Egypt;
And you were not to know any god except Me,
For there is no savior besides Me.
5 I cared for you in the wilderness,
In the land of drought.
6 As they had their pasture, they became satisfied,
And as they became satisfied, their heart became proud;
Therefore they forgot Me.
7 So I will be like a lion to them;
Like a leopard I will lie in wait by the wayside.
8 I will confront them like a bear deprived of her cubs,
And I will tear open their chests;
I will also devour them there like a lioness,
As a wild animal would tear them to pieces.
9 It is to your own destruction, Israel,
That you are against Me, against your help.
10 Where then is your king,
That he might save you in all your cities;
And your judges, to whom you said,
“Give me a king and princes”?
11 I gave you a king in My anger,
And took him away in My wrath.
12 The guilt of Ephraim is wrapped up;
His sin is stored up.
13 The pains of childbirth come on him;
He is not a wise son,
For it is not the time that he should delay at the opening of the womb.
14 Shall I ransom them from the power of Sheol?
Shall I redeem them from death?
Death, where are your thorns?
Sheol, where is your sting?
Compassion will be hidden from My sight.
15 Though he flourishes among the reeds,
An east wind will come,
The wind of the Lord coming up from the wilderness;
And his fountain will become dry
And his spring will dry up;
It will plunder his treasury of every precious article.
16 Samaria will pay the penalty for her guilt,
Because she has rebelled against her God.
They will fall by the sword,
Their children will be slaughtered,
And their pregnant women will be ripped open.
Israel’s Future Blessing
14 Return, Israel, to the Lord your God,
For you have stumbled because of your wrongdoing.
2 Take words with you and return to the Lord.
Say to Him, “Take away all guilt
And receive us graciously,
So that we may present the fruit of our lips.
3 Assyria will not save us,
We will not ride on horses;
Nor will we say again, ‘Our god’
To the work of our hands;
For in You the orphan finds mercy.”
4 I will heal their apostasy,
I will love them freely,
Because My anger has turned away from them.
5 I will be like the dew to Israel;
He will blossom like the lily,
And he will take root like the cedars of Lebanon.
6 His shoots will sprout,
His majesty will be like the olive tree,
And his fragrance like the cedars of Lebanon.
7 Those who live in his shadow
Will again raise grain,
And they will blossom like the vine.
His fame will be like the wine of Lebanon.
8 Ephraim, what more have I to do with idols?
It is I who answer and look after you.
I am like a luxuriant juniper;
From Me comes your fruit.
9 Whoever is wise, let him understand these things;
Whoever is discerning, let him know them.
For the ways of the Lord are right,
And the righteous will walk in them,
But wrongdoers will stumble in them.
New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation
Walking In The Word
Hosea 13 continues to remind us of the consequences of living for self-gratification and pride and putting anything in the place of God. Hosea 14 reminds us of the blessings of coming back to Him with a broken spirit and a contrite heart. God encourages us to ask Him to wash us, cleanse us, take away our sin, receive us back graciously, and acknowledge that He is just and righteous. He wants us to ask Him to create a clean heart in us and renew a steadfast spirit within us. God wants us to ask Him to restore the joy of our salvation. He instructs us to praise Him with the fruit of our lips.
The Lord allows us the free will and choice to fight against Him or to willingly run to Him and submit to His will for our lives. Just as there are consequences for sinning against Him, there are blessings for following Him and His teachings. Sinners stumble in their pride, but the wise person understands that the ways of the Lord are right and walks in them on His Ancient Paths. Those who live in the shadow of His wings will be restored. He gives strength to the weary; to him who lacks might, God increases power. Those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength. They will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary (Isaiah 40:31). Choose to walk in those blessings today.