May 19, 2014.
Today we started our English lessons with the readers who wanted to learn English, and I would say it was a success. We had to do an impromptu VBS type ordeal in the afternoon because so many kids showed up who we weren’t prepared for entirely. Tomorrow we should be ready if they come again. Today I saw an exchange of religious ideas from different people, whether it was at the academy or through personal bible study, and I think this trip will indeed be worthwhile. There is bad news for the fallen world. But there is also good news. The good news overcomes the bad for any who are willing to accept it fully.
In my reading I have made it to the prophets, specifically now the prophet Hosea. I think that if I were a bible major who had to choose a specialization I would choose the minor prophets. I love reading through these books. For some reason they are simply intriguing. Fascinating really. It is hard for many Christians to read through them I’m sure as they are telling God’s people bad news. There is a lot of prediction of future destruction and captivity. There is a lot of harsh words, at least by our standards. Hosea is not all that different in this aspect. He is told to marry a prostitute to symbolize how Israel has gone after other gods, committing spiritual adultery. Listen to what God tells him to name is second and third child:
“She conceived again and bore a daughter. And the LORD said to him, “Call her name No Mercy, for I will no more have mercy on the house of Israel, to forgive them at all. But I will have mercy on the house of Judah, and I will save them by the LORD their God. I will not save them by bow or by sword or by war or by horses or by horsemen.” When she had weaned No Mercy, she conceived and bore a son. And the LORD said, ‘Call his name Not My People, for you are not my people, and I am not your God.'”
Can you imagine naming your child ‘No Mercy’ or ‘Not My People’? The Lord had a serious message to give to the people and Hosea’s life was a living testament to it. This was real for him, not just some story in a book. Hosea saw the judgment of God first hand. The Lord goes on:
Say to your brothers, “You are my people,” and to your sisters, “You have received mercy.”
“Plead with your mother, plead—
for she is not my wife,
and I am not her husband—
that she put away her whoring from her face,
and her adultery from between her breasts;
This was a bad message. I’m sure the people of Israel did not want to hear this message. But that did not keep it from being the truth. God loves his people, but that does not stop him from being righteous. Time and again throughout Hosea does God talk about the destruction that is coming for their evil and adultery. But here is what I love about Hosea:
How can I give you up, O Ephraim?
How can I hand you over, O Israel?
How can I make you like Admah?
How can I treat you like Zeboiim?
My heart recoils within me;
my compassion grows warm and tender.
I will not execute my burning anger;
I will not again destroy Ephraim;
for I am God and not a man,
the Holy One in your midst,
and I will not come in wrath.”
Here we can see a bit of the character of God. He does eventually lead the people into captivity and destruction because they refused to turn to him, but we see here how much He truly loves his people. “How can I give you up, O Ephraim? How can I hand you over, O Israel?” That is very powerful to me. God loves his people. The steadfast love of The Lord never ceases. That is still strong today. However, his righteousness never ceases either. You must make a choice. His had is extended while time prevails. One day it will be too late. Have you made your choice?
Suggested Daily Reading: Hosea 1-3, 11.
The Lord be with you.