1978.) Hosea 7

November 30, 2016

The book of Hosea shows us that sin is not just breaking God’s law. It is breaking God’s heart.

Hosea 7   (NIV)

“The kings have fallen.

I will cast a net o’er them.

They have strayed from me.”

–The Gendai Bible (each chapter summarized in a haiku)
by Rev. Frederick K. Boyle

“Whenever I would restore the fortunes of my people,
whenever I would heal Israel,
the sins of Ephraim are exposed
and the crimes of Samaria revealed.
They practice deceit,
thieves break into houses,
bandits rob in the streets;
but they do not realize
that I remember all their evil deeds.
Their sins engulf them;
they are always before me.

“They delight the king with their wickedness,
the princes with their lies.
They are all adulterers,
burning like an oven
whose fire the baker need not stir
from the kneading of the dough till it rises.

Burning, burning, with desire and passion, but not for the Lord. So, of course, the product that comes from the oven is not good. The idea is something of a half-baked cake, like when the pancake is burned on the outside and still wet on the inside. See also verse 8 — “a flat loaf not turned over.”

On the day of the festival of our king
the princes become inflamed with wine,
and he joins hands with the mockers.
Their hearts are like an oven;
they approach him with intrigue.
Their passion smolders all night;
in the morning it blazes like a flaming fire.
All of them are hot as an oven;
they devour their rulers.
All their kings fall,
and none of them calls on me.

Historical note:  Four kings of Israel were assassinated within 20 years, two during a mere seven-month period. Tribute money sent to Assyria and Egypt drained the country financially. Hosea uses strong language to call the nation back to God.

“Ephraim mixes with the nations;
Ephraim is a flat loaf not turned over.
Foreigners sap his strength,
but he does not realize it.
His hair is sprinkled with gray,
but he does not notice.

Hosea says Israel is as foolish as an old man who pretends he is still young.

10 Israel’s arrogance testifies against him,
but despite all this
he does not return to the Lord his God
or search for him.

11 “Ephraim is like a dove,
easily deceived and senseless—
now calling to Egypt,
now turning to Assyria.

Hosea says Israel is as senseless as a dove, a bird thought to be easy to catch.

12 When they go, I will throw my net over them;
I will pull them down like the birds in the sky.
When I hear them flocking together,
I will catch them.
13 Woe to them,
because they have strayed from me!
Destruction to them,
because they have rebelled against me!
I long to redeem them
but they speak about me falsely.

They see their problem, but do not recognize it as sin.

14 They do not cry out to me from their hearts
but wail on their beds.

They know they need help, but they refuse to turn to God.

They slash themselves, appealing to their gods
for grain and new wine,
but they turn away from me.

They try every trick they know, every new self-help fad, every new idea from a talk show host or television doctor — but they dismiss God as useless and irrelevant.

15 I trained them and strengthened their arms,
but they plot evil against me.
16 They do not turn to the Most High;
they are like a faulty bow.
Their leaders will fall by the sword
because of their insolent words.
For this they will be ridiculed
in the land of Egypt.

“First we make our habits and then our habits make us.”

–Charles C. Noble



As Paul said, “For me to live is Christ.”  HERE  is David Lubben and “Take Me to the Cross Again.”


New International Version (NIV)   Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Images courtesy of:
broken heart.    http://revphil2011.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/hosea.jpg
oven.    http://www.emmashouseinportugal.com/wp-content/gallery/gallery/oven.jpg
dove in a cage.    http://m5.paperblog.com/i/22/227491/indie-apparel-win-bird-in-a-cage-from-concret-L-W5s7gL.jpeg

1977.) Hosea 6

November 29, 2016

Hosea 6   (NIV)

God will raise us up

On the third day like spring rains

That water the earth.

–The Gendai Bible (each chapter summarized in a haiku)
by Rev. Frederick K. Boyle

Israel Unrepentant

“Come, let us return to the Lord.
He has torn us to pieces
but he will heal us;
he has injured us
but he will bind up our wounds.
After two days he will revive us;
on the third day he will restore us,
that we may live in his presence.
3 Let us acknowledge the Lord;
let us press on to acknowledge him.
As surely as the sun rises,
he will appear;
he will come to us like the winter rains,
like the spring rains that water the earth.”


“What can I do with you, Ephraim?

Because the tribe of Ephraim was the largest of the ten tribes of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, the name is often used as a synonym for Israel.

What can I do with you, Judah?
Your love is like the morning mist,
like the early dew that disappears.
Therefore I cut you in pieces with my prophets,
I killed you with the words of my mouth—
then my judgments go forth like the sun.
For I desire mercy, not sacrifice,

Psalm 51:16-17  (ESV)

For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

Mark 12:32-33  (NLT)

The teacher of religious law replied, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth by saying that there is only one God and no other. And I know it is important to love him with all my heart and all my understanding and all my strength, and to love my neighbor as myself. This is more important than to offer all of the burnt offerings and sacrifices required in the law.”

and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.

from Experiencing God Day-by-Day
by Henry T. Blackaby and Richard Blackaby

No amount of activity for God will ever take the place of a heart that is right with Him. Through the ages God’s people have been persuaded that they could please Him through their service and their offerings, regardless of their heart condition. King Saul offered generous sacrifices, hoping God would overlook his disobedience (1 Samuel 15:22-23). David may have assumed that after all he had done on God’s behalf, God would overlook his sin (2 Samuel 12:7-15). Ananias and Sapphira thought that their generous gift to the church would compensate for their deceitfulness (Acts 5:1-11). Paul was certainly one who had thought his zealousness would please God. After his conversion, however, he concluded that even if he had faith to remove mountains, gave all he had to feed the poor, and offered his body to be burned for the sake of God, and yet had a heart that was not right, it would all be for nothing (1 Corinthians 13:1-13).

We are susceptible to the same misunderstanding as all of these people were. We can be deceived into assuming God is more interested in our activity for Him than He is in the condition of our heart. But His desire is that we devote ourselves to knowing Him and loving Him with all of our hearts.

As at Adam, they have broken the covenant;
they were unfaithful to me there.
Gilead is a city of evildoers,
stained with footprints of blood.
As marauders lie in ambush for a victim,
so do bands of priests;
they murder on the road to Shechem,
carrying out their wicked schemes.
10 I have seen a horrible thing in Israel:
There Ephraim is given to prostitution,
Israel is defiled.

11 “Also for you, Judah,
a harvest is appointed.”



“Oh the mercy of God”  by Geoff Bullock (Australian singer-songwriter, born in 1955).   Click  HERE  to hear it.  This song sends me to my knees in worship.


New International Version (NIV)   Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Images courtesy of:
Come, let us return . . .     http://www.fotothing.com/photos/d42/d42fec8d469cc6106f3fa3db49e3dafc.jpgmercy not sacrifice.   
He will come to us as the showers.   http://biblia.com/bible/images/640×480/Ho6.3?extension=png&fallbackOnFailure=false
mercy not sacrifice.    http://cog-ff.com/images/MERCY%20NOT%20SACRIFICE.jpg
Love God.    http://churchmediadesign.tv/cmdwp/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/web-620×348.jpg

1976.) Hosea 5

November 28, 2016

Hosea 5   (NIV) 

They will not find God

And He cannot heal their wound

As their punishment.

–The Gendai Bible (each chapter summarized in a haiku)
by Rev. Frederick K. Boyle

 Judgment Against Israel

“Hear this, you priests!
Pay attention, you Israelites!
Listen, royal house!

God says the problem is, in part, the leadership — both spiritual/priests, and political/royal house.

This judgment is against you:
You have been a snare at Mizpah,
a net spread out on Tabor.
The rebels are knee-deep in slaughter.
I will discipline all of them.
I know all about Ephraim;
Israel is not hidden from me.
Ephraim, you have now turned to prostitution;
Israel is corrupt.

“Their deeds do not permit them
to return to their God.
A spirit of prostitution is in their heart;
they do not acknowledge the Lord.
Israel’s arrogance testifies against them;
the Israelites, even Ephraim, stumble in their sin;
Judah also stumbles with them.
When they go with their flocks and herds
to seek the Lord,
they will not find him;

NOT THIS:  In many ways today, people think they are seeking God when they really aren’t. It’s just a superficial investigation. For example, a man might say, “I grew up in the Baptist church and couldn’t find God there. So I went to the Methodist church and couldn’t find God there. Then I went to the Pentecostal church, but couldn’t find God there. Now I’m at the Presbyterian church and can’t find God.”  You may imagine you have searched hard after God, but that is an illusion. The truth is that you are running away from God. When He started to get close to you at the Baptist church, you left it and became a Methodist. When He started to get close to you at the Methodist church, you became a Pentecostal. You’ve followed the same pattern – a superficial search for God that backs away when you really start getting close to God.

–David Guzik

THIS:  Philippians 3:14   (CEV)

I run toward the goal, so that I can win the prize of being called to heaven. This is the prize that God offers because of what Christ Jesus has done.

he has withdrawn himself from them.
They are unfaithful to the Lord;
they give birth to illegitimate children.
When they celebrate their New Moon feasts,
he will devour their fields.

“Sound the trumpet in Gibeah,
the horn in Ramah.
Raise the battle cry in Beth Aven;
lead on, Benjamin.
Ephraim will be laid waste
on the day of reckoning.
Among the tribes of Israel
I proclaim what is certain.
10 Judah’s leaders are like those
who move boundary stones.

These are people so corrupt they will do any evil thing if they think it will work out to their advantage.

I will pour out my wrath on them
like a flood of water.
11 Ephraim is oppressed,
trampled in judgment,
intent on pursuing idols.
12 I am like a moth to Ephraim,

Isaiah 51:7-8   (NIV)

“Hear me, you who know what is right, 
you people who have taken my instruction to heart:
Do not fear the reproach of mere mortals
or be terrified by their insults.
For the moth will eat them up like a garment;
the worm will devour them like wool.
But my righteousness will last forever,
my salvation through all generations.”

like rot to the people of Judah.

13 “When Ephraim saw his sickness,
and Judah his sores,
then Ephraim turned to Assyria,
and sent to the great king for help.
But he is not able to cure you,
not able to heal your sores.
14 For I will be like a lion to Ephraim,
like a great lion to Judah.
I will tear them to pieces and go away;
I will carry them off, with no one to rescue them.
15 Then I will return to my lair
until they have borne their guilt
and seek my face—
in their misery
they will earnestly seek me.”



Do we come to the Lord only in desperation and misery?  Even then, He welcomes us.

Another golden oldie for you!  “Where Could I Go But to the Lord,” with the VOP Trio and Del Delker.

Click  HERE  to listen.

Living below in this old sinful world
Hardly a comfort can afford
Striving alone to face temptation’s sword
Where could I go to the Lord

Where could I go, Oh where could I go
Seeking a refuge for my soul
Needing a friend to help me in the end
(brother won’t you tell me)
Where could I go to the Lord

Neighbors are kind, I love them everyone
We get along in sweet accord
But when my soul needs manna from above
Where could I go but to the Lord

Where could I go where could I go
Seeking a refuge for my soul
Needing a friend to help me in the end
(brother won’t you tell me)
Where could I go to the Lord

Life here is grand with friends I love so dear
Comfort I get from God’s own Word
But when I face the chilling hands of death
Where could I go but to the Lord

Where could I go where could I go
Seeking a refuge for my soul
Needing a friend to help me in the end
(brother won’t you tell me)
Where could I go to but the Lord
Where could I go but to the Lord


New International Version (NIV)   Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Images courtesy of:
They will seek me earnestly.    http://www.jesuslovesyoutoday.org/yahoo_site_admin/assets/images/Hosea_5.22615746_std.jpg
church sign.    http://signs.stewartsigns.com/church_sign_calvary_baptist_1828.jpg
moth.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/clothesmoth.png

1975.) Hosea 4

November 25, 2016

Hosea 4  (NIV)

No knowledge of God

Changed glory to shame and sin

And idolatry.

–The Gendai Bible (each chapter summarized in a haiku)
by Rev. Frederick K. Boyle

The Charge Against Israel

Hear the word of the Lord, you Israelites,
because the Lord has a charge to bring
against you who live in the land:
“There is no faithfulness, no love,
no acknowledgment of God in the land.
There is only cursing, lying and murder,
stealing and adultery;
they break all bounds,
and bloodshed follows bloodshed.

Because of this the land dries up,
and all who live in it waste away;
the beasts of the field, the birds in the sky
and the fish in the sea are swept away.

It is an indisputable fact that we live in a society that is completely set against the idea of restraint. Instead the message seems to be:  You make your own rules, you do what you want. And it is so strong in our culture that it even comes  from, among others, restaurants and sneaker companies!

“But let no one bring a charge,
let no one accuse another,
for your people are like those
who bring charges against a priest.
You stumble day and night,
and the prophets stumble with you.
So I will destroy your mother—
  my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.

We have time to watch television, to mindlessly surf the internet, to read novels, to go to movies, to go out for dinner, to spend evenings in conversations with friends, to shop for a long list of Christmas presents, to attend sports events, to take a weekend get away vacation and so on and so on — but oh, my, we are too busy to teach a Sunday School class! We are too busy to participate in a weekly Bible Study! We are too busy to spend 15 minutes each day in Bible reading and prayer! Thus we are well-versed in temporal things, but suffering terribly from a lack of godly, holy, transforming knowledge that comes from God’s Word as the Holy Spirit points us to Jesus Christ.

“Because you have rejected knowledge,
I also reject you as my priests;
because you have ignored the law of your God,
I also will ignore your children.
The more priests there were,
the more they sinned against me;
they exchanged their glorious God for something disgraceful.

Romans 1:21-23   (ESV)

For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

They feed on the sins of my people
and relish their wickedness.
And it will be: Like people, like priests.
I will punish both of them for their ways
and repay them for their deeds.

Teaching was an important duty of the priests (Deuteronomy 33:10, Ezekiel 44:23, Malachi 2:7). Their neglect of this demonstrates what an important place ministers, pastors, and preachers have in presenting God and His Word to the people. If they neglect their duty to preach the word (2 Timothy 4:2), then they can’t lead the people into the true knowledge of God, and so will lead them into destruction.

–David Guzik

10 “They will eat but not have enough;
they will engage in prostitution but not flourish,
because they have deserted the Lord
to give themselves 11 to prostitution;
old wine and new wine
take away their understanding.
12 My people consult a wooden idol,
and a diviner’s rod speaks to them.
A spirit of prostitution leads them astray;
they are unfaithful to their God.
13 They sacrifice on the mountaintops
and burn offerings on the hills,
under oak, poplar and terebinth,
where the shade is pleasant.
Therefore your daughters turn to prostitution
and your daughters-in-law to adultery.

We can easily be careless, thinking more about political correctness than about faithfulness. We don’t want to offend. We don’t like to talk about sin, our own or anybody else’s. We look down in silence rather than looking up to God and asking for help to speak the truth in love. And so we live surrounded by idols.

14 “I will not punish your daughters
when they turn to prostitution,
nor your daughters-in-law
when they commit adultery,
because the men themselves consort with harlots
and sacrifice with shrine prostitutes—
a people without understanding will come to ruin!

“Those who are not disturbed in their sin, will be destroyed for their sin.”

–Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

15 “Though you, Israel, commit adultery,
do not let Judah become guilty.

“Do not go to Gilgal;
do not go up to Beth Aven.
And do not swear, ‘As surely as the Lord lives!’
16 The Israelites are stubborn,
like a stubborn heifer.
How then can the Lord pasture them
like lambs in a meadow?

Psalm 23:1

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

Are we absolutely confident in God’s care and goodness towards us? Or do we doubt His concern?

17 Ephraim is joined to idols;
leave him alone!
18 Even when their drinks are gone,
they continue their prostitution;
their rulers dearly love shameful ways.
19 A whirlwind will sweep them away,
and their sacrifices will bring them shame.

Sometimes we feel helpless and hopeless — have we forgotten God’s mighty power to save?



HERE  Maranantha sings to remind us that as we confess and turn from our sins, the Lord is faithful to forgive us.


New International Version (NIV)   Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Images courtesy of:
My people are destroyed . . .   http://www.lovestthoume.com/Graphics/destroyed.jpg
No rules.   http://tastytriviaorlando.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/dc84afbd57669a6acf1c659bf1c0aaaf.jpg
Just do it.    http://www.writingfordesigners.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/justdoit2.jpg
Preaching.    https://redeeminggod.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/preaching-bible.jpg
lambs.   http://www.photo-dictionary.com/photofiles/list/350/702lambs.jpg

1974.) Thanksgiving Day

November 24, 2016

Isaiah 12 (The Message)

My Strength and Song

1 And you will say in that day,
“I thank you, God.
You were angry
but your anger wasn’t forever.
You withdrew your anger
and moved in and comforted me.

2“Yes, indeed—God is my salvation.
I trust, I won’t be afraid.
God—yes God!—is my strength and song,
best of all, my salvation!”

3-4Joyfully you’ll pull up buckets of water
from the wells of salvation.
And as you do it, you’ll say,
“Give thanks to God.
Call out his name.
Ask him anything!
Shout to the nations, tell them what he’s done,
spread the news of his great reputation!

5-6“Sing praise-songs to God. He’s done it all!
Let the whole earth know what he’s done!
Raise the roof! Sing your hearts out, O Zion!
The Greatest lives among you: The Holy of Israel.”



May you have a Happy Thanksgiving praising God for all his good gifts!

My son Devlin and I kid about many modern praise songs seeming to be “I sing about myself singing to God,” and this is one which fits that description — but the words go nicely with Isaiah 12.   HERE   is “Top of my Lungs”  by Phillips, Craig & Dean.


The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

1973.) Hosea 3

November 23, 2016

“Gomer and Hosea” by Cody F. Miller.  Renewal of vows.

Hosea 3   (NIV)

Love an adult’ress

Just as God loves Israel.

Remain pure with her.

–The Gendai Bible (each chapter summarized in a haiku)
by Rev. Frederick K. Boyle

Hosea’s Reconciliation With His Wife

The Lord said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.”

So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and about a homer and a lethek of barley.


1 Peter 1:18-19   (NLT)

For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.

Then I told her, “You are to live with me many days; you must not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man, and I will behave the same way toward you.”

One of the most famous poems in the English language:

A Passionate Shepherd to His Love
by Christopher Marlowe (1564 – 1593)

Come live with me and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That hills and valleys, dale and field,
And all the craggy mountains yield.

There will we sit upon the rocks,
And see the shepherds feed their flocks,
By shallow rivers to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.

There I will make thee beds of roses
And a thousand fragrant posies,
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle
Embroider’d all with leaves of myrtle;

A gown made of the finest wool
Which from our pretty lambs we pull;
Fair linèd slippers for the cold,
With buckles of the purest gold;

A belt of straw and ivy buds,
With coral clasps and amber studs;
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me, and be my love.

Thy silver dishes for thy meat
As precious as the gods do eat,
Shall on an ivory table be
Prepared each day for thee and me.

The shepherd swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May-morning:
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me and be my love.


Another good read:

Redeeming Love — a novel by Francine Rivers

In this splendid retelling of the biblical story of Hosea, bestselling author Francine Rivers pens a heartbreaking romance between a prostitute and the upright and kind farmer who marries her; the story also functions as a reminder of God’s unconditional love for his people. Redeeming Love opens with the Gold Rush of 1850 and its rough-and-tumble atmosphere of greed and desire. Angel, who was sold into prostitution as a child, has learned to distrust all men, who see her only as a way to satisfy their lust. When the virtuous and spiritual-minded Michael Hosea is told by God to marry this “soiled dove,” he obeys, despite his misgivings. As Angel learns to love him, she begins to hope again but is soon overwhelmed by fear and returns to her old life . . .

(from amazon.com)

For the Israelites will live many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without ephod or household gods. Afterward the Israelites will return and seek the Lord their God and David their king. They will come trembling to the Lord and to his blessings in the last days.



Well, this will take you back!  HERE  is Dean Martin and “Return to Me.” Just imagine if Hosea could sing this and put it on youtube and send it to Gomer?!


New International Version (NIV)   Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Images courtesy of:
Miller.    http://www.codyfmiller.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/gomer-h-draw.9-990×780.jpg
Hosea buys Gomer.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/2a482-hosea-biblepic.jpg
shepherd boy and girl.   http://www.artintheage.com/wp-content/uploads/old/1271875939hireling1233560617.jpg
Redeeming Love.   http://loveliteraturelife.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/redeeming-love.jpg

1972.) Hosea 2

November 22, 2016


Hosea 2  (NIV)

Because she’s a whore,

God will lay waste her fig trees

‘Til she is faithful.

–The Gendai Bible (each chapter summarized in a haiku)
by Rev. Frederick K. Boyle

“Say of your brothers, ‘My people,’ and of your sisters, ‘My loved one.’

Israel Punished

“Rebuke your mother, rebuke her,
for she is not my wife,
and I am not her husband.
Let her remove the adulterous look from her face
and the unfaithfulness from between her breasts.

God paints Israel as an adulterous wife, lewdly offering herself to other gods.

Otherwise I will strip her naked
and make her as bare as on the day she was born;
I will make her like a desert,
turn her into a parched land,
and slay her with thirst.

The Karakum Desert in Turkmenistan

I will not show my love to her children,
because they are the children of adultery.
Their mother has been unfaithful
and has conceived them in disgrace.
She said, ‘I will go after my lovers,
who give me my food and my water,
my wool and my linen, my olive oil and my drink.’

Hebrews 11:25 refers to “the fleeting pleasures of sin.” It can seem so good! The nice gifts from the lovers, and the “feel good” of the time together — yet at what cost to one’s soul?

Therefore I will block her path with thornbushes;
I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way.
She will chase after her lovers but not catch them;
she will look for them but not find them.
Then she will say,
‘I will go back to my husband as at first,
for then I was better off than now.’
She has not acknowledged that I was the one
who gave her the grain, the new wine and oil,
who lavished on her the silver and gold—
which they used for Baal.

God gives to man the trees of the forest and the iron in the ground. He gives man the brains to make an axe and nails from the iron, and the energy to cut down the tree, the skill to fashion the wood into beams. God gives man the cleverness to make a handle from the wood, and head from the iron, and combine it into an effective hammer. Then man takes the beams, the nails, and the hammer and he nails God to the cross — where God willingly stretched out His arms, dying on the cross to take the guilt and penalty man’s sin deserved, to make an new, restored relationship between God and man possible.

–David Guzik

“Therefore I will take away my grain when it ripens,
and my new wine when it is ready.
I will take back my wool and my linen,
intended to cover her naked body.
10 So now I will expose her lewdness
before the eyes of her lovers;
no one will take her out of my hands.
11 I will stop all her celebrations:
her yearly festivals, her New Moons,
her Sabbath days—all her appointed festivals.
12 I will ruin her vines and her fig trees,
which she said were her pay from her lovers;
I will make them a thicket,
and wild animals will devour them.
13 I will punish her for the days
she burned incense to the Baals;
she decked herself with rings and jewelry,
and went after her lovers,
but me she forgot,”
declares the Lord.

Israel Restored


14 “Therefore I am now going to allure her;
I will lead her into the wilderness
and speak tenderly to her.

“This is a singular kind of power: ‘I will allure her;’ not, ‘I will drive her’ not even, ‘I will draw her,’ or, ‘I will drag her;’ or, ‘I will force her.’ No, ‘I will allure her.’ It is a very remarkable word, and it teaches us that the allurement of love surpasses in power all other forces. That is how the devil ruins us; he tempts us with honeyed words, sweet utterances, with the baits of pleasure and the like; and the Lord in mercy determines that, in all truthfulness, he will outbid the devil, and he will win us to himself by fascinations, enticements, and allurements which shall be stronger than any force of resistance we may offer. This is a wonderfully precious word: ‘I will allure her.’”

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

15 There I will give her back her vineyards,
and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.
There she will respond as in the days of her youth,
as in the day she came up out of Egypt.

16 “In that day,” declares the Lord,
“you will call me ‘my husband’;
you will no longer call me ‘my master.’
17 I will remove the names of the Baals from her lips;
no longer will their names be invoked.
18 In that day I will make a covenant for them
with the beasts of the field, the birds in the sky
and the creatures that move along the ground.
Bow and sword and battle
I will abolish from the land,
so that all may lie down in safety.


19 I will betroth you to me forever;
I will betroth you in righteousness and justice,
in love and compassion.
20 I will betroth you in faithfulness,
and you will acknowledge the Lord.

21 “In that day I will respond,”
declares the Lord—

John 15:7    (NLT)

But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!

“I will respond to the skies,
and they will respond to the earth;
22 and the earth will respond to the grain,
the new wine and the olive oil,
and they will respond to Jezreel.

Hosea’s first child, a son, was named Jezreel, which means “scattered” in a negative sense (Hosea 1:4-5). But it is also the word which can be used to describe the good scattering of seed, “sowing.” Here, the Lord promises glorious redemption of the name Jezreel, which was first given as a sober reminder of scattering in judgment. Now it becomes a prophecy of the promise. God will restore His people to abundance and blessing. Scattering will be transformed into sowing.

23 I will plant her for myself in the land;
I will show my love to the one I called ‘Not my loved one.’

Hosea’s second child, a daughter, was named Lo-Ruhamah, meaning “No Mercy” (Hosea 1:6). That name, originally given as a mark of judgment, is now transformed into a mark of restoration.

I will say to those called ‘Not my people,’ ‘You are my people’;

We see complete restoration! All three of Hosea’s children, named as marks of judgment, now have their names restored and made into marks of mercy, grace, and restoration.  God is so good!

and they will say, ‘You are my God.’”



HERE  is a song based on Hosea, written by Gregory Norbert.  “Come Back to Me.”


New International Version (NIV)   Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Images courtesy of:
Reversal.   http://www.stevenhovater.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/reversal.001.jpg
Karakum Desert.    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e8/Karakum_Desert.jpg
nail.    http://greaterthanknowledge.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/the-nail.jpg
allure.   http://captivatingheart.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/therefore-allure.jpg
betroth.   https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/44/9e/66/449e66eec63c9ebb5227db1026e6f996.jpg
You are My people.   https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/a7/b5/47/a7b54700d32e9939562b6f13829df5bf.jpg

1971.) Hosea 1

November 21, 2016

“Hosea and Gomer” by Cody F. Miller.  Quite the wedding portrait.

Hosea 1  (NIV)

Take for wife a whore.

Name your children how God feels

About sinful Jews.

–The Gendai Bible (each chapter summarized in a haiku)
by Rev. Frederick K. Boyle

The word of the Lord that came to Hosea son of Beeri during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and during the reign of Jeroboam son of Jehoash king of Israel:

So, some 250 years after King David, Hosea speaks as God’s prophet for a period of about 40 years during the time of the divided kingdom. Hosea speaks to the Northern Kingdom/Israel and its capital city Samaria — about the same time that Isaiah was speaking to the Southern Kingdom/Judah and its capital city Jerusalem. During this time Israel was prospering economically but it was decaying and degenerating spiritually and morally.

Hosea’s Wife and Children

When the Lord began to speak through Hosea, the Lord said to him, “Go, marry a promiscuous woman and have children with her, for like an adulterous wife this land is guilty of unfaithfulness to the Lord.”

My favorite immoral woman in the Bible is Gomer. We don’t know much about her, but we do know that she was a whore (according to the ESV translation). One day, the prophet Hosea was commanded by God to marry Gomer and have “children of whoredom” (Hos 1:2). The text doesn’t record Hosea’s response, but I can imagine it was something like: “But God, I’m a prophet. I’m a pastor. I’m a holy man. This is going to destroy my testimony! How’s my wife going to lead Beth Moore studies when she’s a whore?”

But God says “Go marry a whore, Hosea, so that you can experience what it is to be a giver of grace.”

–Preston Sprinkle

So he married Gomer daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.

The marriage will portray Israel’s unfaithfulness to God and the names of the children symbolize God’s judgment.

Then the Lord said to Hosea, “Call him Jezreel, because I will soon punish the house of Jehu for the massacre at Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of Israel. In that day I will break Israel’s bow in the Valley of Jezreel.”

“Portrait of a Young Boy in a Red Suit, Holding a Bow and Arrow” by Arthur William Devis (English painter, 1762 – 1822)

The first son, Jezreel, is named after massacre at Jezreel (see 2 Kings 10). Perhaps as a punishment for not learning from this massacre, God says he will put an end to the kingdom of Israel in the valley of Jezreel. The prophecy for the destruction of Israel was fulfilled in 735 BC, when Assyria attacked and conquered Israel (2 Kings 15:29).

Gomer conceived again and gave birth to a daughter. Then the Lord said to Hosea, “Call her Lo-Ruhamah (which means “not loved”), for I will no longer show love to Israel, that I should at all forgive them. Yet I will show love to Judah; and I will save them—not by bow, sword or battle, or by horses and horsemen, but I, the Lord their God, will save them.”

“Portrait of a Young Girl” by Samuel Shaver (American, 1816 – 1878)

The second child was a daughter named Lo-Ruhamah, translated as “No pity,” “Not loved,” or “No mercy.” The implication of this name is that God will not show mercy and compassion to Israel and will allow it to be destroyed. The fact that God had no mercy to Israel but did have mercy towards the Southern Kingdom/ Judah may show that Judah and her kings were more faithful unto the Lord during these years, as exemplified by King Hezekiah (2 Kings 18:1-8). 

After she had weaned Lo-Ruhamah, Gomer had another son. Then the Lord said, “Call him Lo-Ammi (which means “not my people”), for you are not my people, and I am not your God.

“Portrait of a Young Boy with Peyot” by Isidor Kaufmann (Austrian Jewish painter, 1854 – 1921)

The third child was a son, named Lo-Ammi, meaning “Not my people.”  Here God punishes Israel by withdrawing his relationship with them.

So God promises to withdraw three things from the Jews of Israel:  the land, his mercy, and special status as his people. This appears to be a reversal of His promises in Exodus 6:6-8 where God —
a.)  rescues Israel “from under the yoke of the Egyptians” and gives them the promised land
b.)  shows mercy by redeeming them “with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment”
c.)  establishes a relationship with Israel and calls them “my people.”

10 “Yet the Israelites will be like the sand on the seashore, which cannot be measured or counted. In the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ they will be called ‘children of the living God.’ 11 The people of Judah and the people of Israel will come together; they will appoint one leader and will come up out of the land, for great will be the day of Jezreel.  Say of your brothers, ‘My people,’ and of your sisters, ‘My loved one.’”

God promised a restoration so complete that the division caused by the civil war after King Solomon’s reign — a division that stood for 170 years — would one day be erased. One way  this promise is fulfilled is in the church, where God brings together Israel, Judah, and even Gentiles, into one body (Ephesians 2:14-16).



I remember when my daughter and her husband were expecting baby number two, a little girl (who would join big brother Liam, set to turn 4 just days before she arrived). I listened with interest as Maureen told me the names they were considering:  Catherine, Caroline, Emma, Addison, Abigail, Morgan, Bailey. . .   But never once did she suggest naming her daughter “Not Loved” or “No Mercy,”  as Hosea and Gomer named their little girl.  We want our children — and God wants us — to know that we are dearly loved, and that gracious mercy abounds. The name they finally chose: Calli Grace. Perfect.

HERE  is one of my most favorite songs, “Lord Have Mercy,”  sung by Michael W. Smith.


New International Version (NIV)   Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Images courtesy of:
Miller.    http://www.codyfmiller.com/2008/hosea-and-gomer/
Devis.  http://imgc.allpostersimages.com/images/P-473-488-90/14/1421/OH3R000Z/posters/arthur-william-devis-portrait-of-a-young-boy-in-a-red-suit-holding-a-bow-and-arrow.jpg
Shaver.   http://americangallery.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/portrait-of-a-young-girl2.jpg
Kaufmann.   http://framingpainting.com/Uploadpic/Isidor%20Kaufmann/big/Portrait%20of%20a%20Young%20Boy%20with%20Peyot.jpg

1970.) Psalm 107

November 18, 2016

Psalm 107   Good News Translation

Think of Jonah’s adventures . . . and of your own . . . 

In Praise of God’s Goodness

“Give thanks to the Lord, because he is good;
his love is eternal!”
Repeat these words in praise to the Lord,
all you whom he has saved.
He has rescued you from your enemies
and has brought you back from foreign countries,
from east and west, from north and south.

God rescues wanderers.

Some wandered in the trackless desert
and could not find their way to a city to live in.
They were hungry and thirsty
and had given up all hope.
Then in their trouble they called to the Lord,
and he saved them from their distress.
He led them by a straight road
to a city where they could live.
They must thank the Lord for his constant love,
for the wonderful things he did for them.
He satisfies those who are thirsty
and fills the hungry with good things.

These verses make a lovely table grace:

“We thank the Lord for His constant love,
and the wonderful things He does for us.
He satisfies those who are thirsty
and fills the hungry with good things.”

God rescues prisoners.

10 Some were living in gloom and darkness,
prisoners suffering in chains,
11 because they had rebelled against the commands of Almighty God
and had rejected his instructions.
12 They were worn out from hard work;
they would fall down, and no one would help.
13 Then in their trouble they called to the Lord,
and he saved them from their distress.

Romans 6:22

But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.

14 He brought them out of their gloom and darkness
and broke their chains in pieces.
15 They must thank the Lord for his constant love,
for the wonderful things he did for them.
16 He breaks down doors of bronze
and smashes iron bars.

God rescues the sick.

17 Some were fools, suffering because of their sins
and because of their evil;
18 they couldn’t stand the sight of food
and were close to death.
19 Then in their trouble they called to the Lord,
and he saved them from their distress.

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
that saved a wretch like me;

I once was lost, but now am found,
was blind, but now I see.

20 He healed them with his command
and saved them from the grave.
21 They must thank the Lord for his constant love,
for the wonderful things he did for them.
22 They must thank him with sacrifices,
and with songs of joy must tell all that he has done.

God rescues the storm-tossed.

23 Some sailed over the ocean in ships,
earning their living on the seas.
24 They saw what the Lord can do,
his wonderful acts on the seas.

25 He commanded, and a mighty wind began to blow
and stirred up the waves.
26 The ships were lifted high in the air
and plunged down into the depths.
In such danger the sailors lost their courage;
27  they stumbled and staggered like drunks—
all their skill was useless.
28 Then in their trouble they called to the Lord,
and he saved them from their distress.
29 He calmed the raging storm,
and the waves became quiet.
30 They were glad because of the calm,
and he brought them safe to the port they wanted.


We are each of us a Jonah, sometimes lost in a storm, often in a mess that is of our own making. BUT GOD rescues us! And God, in Jesus, rescues us for all eternity! “We must thank the Lord for his constant love, for the wonderful things he does for us!”

31 They must thank the Lord for his constant love,
for the wonderful things he did for them.
32 They must proclaim his greatness in the assembly of the people
and praise him before the council of the leaders.

33 The Lord made rivers dry up completely
and stopped springs from flowing.
34 He made rich soil become a salty wasteland
because of the wickedness of those who lived there.
35 He changed deserts into pools of water
and dry land into flowing springs.

A Prayer for the World
by Rabbi Harold Kushner

Let the rain come and wash away
the ancient grudges, the bitter hatreds
held and nurtured over generations.
Let the rain wash away the memory
of the hurt, the neglect.
Then let the sun come out and
fill the sky with rainbows.
Let the warmth of the sun heal us
wherever we are broken.
Let it burn away the fog so that
we can see each other clearly.
So that we can see beyond labels,
beyond accents, gender or skin color.
Let the warmth and brightness
of the sun melt our selfishness.
So that we can share the joys and
feel the sorrows of our neighbors.
And let the light of the sun
be so strong that we will see all
people as our neighbors.
Let the earth, nourished by rain,
bring forth flowers
to surround us with beauty.
And let the mountains teach our hearts
to reach upward to heaven.


36 He let hungry people settle there,
and they built a city to live in.
37 They sowed the fields and planted grapevines
and reaped an abundant harvest.
38 He blessed his people, and they had many children;
he kept their herds of cattle from decreasing.

39 When God’s people were defeated and humiliated
by cruel oppression and suffering,
40 he showed contempt for their oppressors
and made them wander in trackless deserts.
41 But he rescued the needy from their misery
and made their families increase like flocks.
42 The righteous see this and are glad,
but all the wicked are put to silence.

43 May those who are wise think about these things;
may they consider the Lord’s constant love.



Back to the title, if you will, of this psalm — “In Praise of God’s Goodness.”  HERE  is a song that sings the same idea.  It’s Delirious (a British Christian rock and modern worship band) and probably their most famous song, “I Could Sing of Your Love Forever,” from 1994.  Sing along in your heart — it’s good practice for Heaven!


Good News Translation (GNT)   Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

Images courtesy of:
verse 1.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/psalm107.jpg
breakfast plate.   http://hostedmedia.reimanpub.com/TOH/Images/Photos/37/exps27737_CFT862013D39C.jpg
freedom.    http://jacsgod777.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/freedom-in-christ-copy.jpg?w=360
Jesus healing a blind man.   http://tiberjudy.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/healing-touch-of-jesus.jpg
sailboat.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/psalm1071.jpg
fish mouth and empty tomb.    http://pre05.deviantart.net/8f0d/th/pre/i/2012/248/7/5/from_jonah_to_jesus_by_tackupwind-d5dq9xs.jpg
saguaro.   http://www.gospelgifs.com/art_pages_10/images/cact1.gif

1969.) Jonah 4

November 17, 2016

Jonah at Ninevah — Ulrich Leive

Jonah 4   (NLT)

Pout, Jonah, Pout!

1 This change of plans greatly upset Jonah, and he became very angry. 2 So he complained to the Lord about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people. 3Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.”

Jonathan Swift wrote some verse that expresses Jonah’s frame of mind! —

We are God’s chosen few,

All others will be damned;

There is no place in heaven for you,

We can’t have heaven crammed.

4 The Lord replied, “Is it right for you to be angry about this?”

God likes to ask us questions, because they reveal our heart. It also put us on proper ground before God, because He has every right to question us and we owe Him answers.

  • Where are you? Who told you that you were naked? What is this you have done? (Genesis 3)
  • Where is your brother Abel? What have you done? (Genesis 4)
  • What have you done? (1 Samuel 13:11)
  • Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes? (2 Samuel 12)
  • Whom shall I send? Who will go for us? (Isaiah 6)
  • Who do you say that I am? (Matthew 16)
  • What do you want Me to do for you? (Matthew 20)
  • Are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss? (Luke 22)
  • Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? (Acts 9)

–David Guzik



Anger is not always or necessarily sinful, but it has such a tendency to run wild that whenever it displays itself, we should be quick to question its character, with this inquiry, “Do you do well to be angry?” It may be that we can answer, “Yes.” Very frequently anger is the madman’s firebrand, but sometimes it is Elijah’s fire from heaven. We do well when we are angry with sin, because of the wrong that it commits against our good and gracious God; or with ourselves because we remain so foolish after so much divine instruction; or with others when the sole cause of anger is the evil that they do. He who is not angry at transgression becomes a partaker in it. Sin is a loathsome and hateful thing, and no renewed heart can patiently endure it. God himself is angry with the wicked every day, and it is written in His Word, “O you who love the LORD, hate evil” (Psalm 97:10).

Far more frequently it is to be feared that our anger is not commendable or even justifiable, and then we must answer, “No.” Why should we be fretful with children, passionate with servants, and wrathful with companions? Is such anger honorable to our Christian profession or glorifying to God? Is it not the old evil heart seeking to gain dominion, and should we not resist it with all the might of our newborn nature?

Many professors give way to temper as though it were useless to attempt resistance; but let the believer remember that he must be a conqueror in every point, or else he cannot be crowned. If we cannot control our tempers, what has grace done for us? Someone told Mr. Jay that grace was often grafted on a crab-stump. “Yes,” he said, “but the fruit will not be crabs.”

We must not make natural infirmity an excuse for sin, but we must fly to the cross and pray the Lord to crucify our tempers, and renew us in gentleness and meekness after His own image.

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon/updated by Alistair Begg

5 Then Jonah went out to the east side of the city and made a shelter to sit under as he waited to see what would happen to the city. 6 And the Lord God arranged for a leafy plant to grow there, and soon it spread its broad leaves over Jonah’s head, shading him from the sun. This eased his discomfort, and Jonah was very grateful for the plant.

7 But God also arranged for a worm! The next morning at dawn the worm ate through the stem of the plant so that it withered away. 8 And as the sun grew hot, God arranged for a scorching east wind to blow on Jonah. The sun beat down on his head until he grew faint and wished to die. “Death is certainly better than living like this!” he exclaimed.

Jonah faces God’s freedom — Henri Lindegaard, 2003.

9 Then God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry because the plant died?”

“Yes,” Jonah retorted, “even angry enough to die!”

10 Then the Lord said, “You feel sorry about the plant, though you did nothing to put it there. It came quickly and died quickly. 11 But Nineveh has more than 120,000 people who cannot tell right from left—or right from wrong— not to mention all the animals. Isn’t it right for me to have pity for such a great city?”

“More helpful than all wisdom is one draught of simple pity that will not forsake us.”

–George Eliot (1819-1880)


Matthew 12:38-41   (ESV)

Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.  The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.



HERE  is “Wonderful, Merciful Savior”  by Selah.  This is one of those songs that always brings tears to my eyes — that the Lord would be so wonderful, and so merciful, to us!


Oh, most wonderful, merciful God!

We pray that you would make us like the Ninevites,
that when we hear your message of conviction,
we would repent of our evil ways,
and confess our sins, and turn to you.

For you are a God who is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and filled with unfailing love.

We pray that you would make us like the sailors,
that when we see your mighty deeds,
we would worship you and praise you
and renew our commitment to serve you.
For you are the Lord, the God of heaven,
who made the sea and the dry land.

We pray that you would make us like Jonah the second time,
that when we hear your call,
we will obey immediately and faithfully,
willing to go and proclaim the glory of your name,
eager to see your grace working even through us.
For you are the God with power to save;
salvation comes from you alone.

We pray these things in the name of the One who is greater than Jonah, the One whose name is high and lifted up, above every other name, even Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen.


The Journey with Jonah is one of my favorite books! Written by Madeleine L’Engle (who won the Newberry Award in 1963 for A Wrinkle in Time–another one of my favorite books!), this delightful retelling of the Jonah story is actually a play. Jonah is the only human, and he is accompanied by many animals who engage the crabby prophet in conversation about his choices. L’Engle’s amusing characters and their insightful thoughts make this wonderful story of Jonah even more engaging!

It is also a treat to actually produce! When I lived in South Korea I directed it for our congregation. Costumes were so much simple fun:  The rat family came with little ears glued on headbands and long tails.  The whale wore a gray Members Only leather jacket. The blue jay was loaded down with costume jewelry. You get the idea.  So now–do yourself a favor and find the book for your own enjoyment!


New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Leive.    http://www.artbible.net/1T/-Jon-01,01_Events_Portraits_Evenements/4%20Mercy_Misericorde/20%20LEIVE%20JONA%20AT%20NINIVE%20KS%20G.jpg
angry man.    http://www.veteranstoday.com/story_images/anger_stockxpertcom_id917161_size011.jpg
Lindegaard.     http://www.artbible.net/1T/-Jon-01,01_Events_Portraits_Evenements/4%20Mercy_Misericorde/20%20LINDEGAARD%20JONAS%20DD%20DEVANT%20LA%20LIBERTE%20DE%20D.jpg