They utter mere words.
They are a wayward people
Eating fruit of lies.
–The Gendai Bible (each chapter summarized in a haiku)
by Rev. Frederick K. Boyle
Israel was a spreading vine;
he brought forth fruit for himself.
As his fruit increased,
he built more altars;
as his land prospered,
he adorned his sacred stones.
2 Their heart is deceitful,
and now they must bear their guilt.
The Lord will demolish their altars
and destroy their sacred stones.
Luke 12:15-21 (NLT)
Then Jesus told them a story: “A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.’ Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!”’
“But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’
“Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.”
3 Then they will say, “We have no king
because we did not revere the Lord.
But even if we had a king,
what could he do for us?”
Their kings are effectively powerless, ruled as they are by a foreign nation.
4 They make many promises,
take false oaths
and make agreements;
therefore lawsuits spring up
like poisonous weeds in a plowed field.
5 The people who live in Samaria fear
for the calf-idol of Beth Aven.
Its people will mourn over it,
and so will its idolatrous priests,
those who had rejoiced over its splendor,
because it is taken from them into exile.
6 It will be carried to Assyria
as tribute for the great king.
Their fancy and handsome idols will be carried off as booty. Yet still they live in fear of the idol instead of in fear of the Lord.
Ephraim will be disgraced;
Israel will be ashamed of its foreign alliances.
7 Samaria’s king will be destroyed,
swept away like a twig on the surface of the waters.
8 The high places of wickedness will be destroyed—
it is the sin of Israel.
Thorns and thistles will grow up
and cover their altars.
Then they will say to the mountains, “Cover us!”
and to the hills, “Fall on us!”
The places where once they cheerfully worshiped false gods are now abandoned.
9 “Since the days of Gibeah, you have sinned, Israel,
and there you have remained.
Will not war again overtake
the evildoers in Gibeah?
10 When I please, I will punish them;
nations will be gathered against them
to put them in bonds for their double sin.
Hosea’s vivid imagery portrays Israel as an unruly farm animal which must be subdued and trained with a yoke:
11 Ephraim is a trained heifer
that loves to thresh;
so I will put a yoke
on her fair neck.
I will drive Ephraim,
Judah must plow,
and Jacob must break up the ground.
12 Sow righteousness for yourselves,
reap the fruit of unfailing love,
and break up your unplowed ground;
for it is time to seek the Lord,
until he comes
and showers his righteousness on you.
Let us not delay! Let us seek the Lord! We are desperate for the Lord, lost without Him. Michael W. Smith and “Breathe.”
Click HERE to listen.
13 But you have planted wickedness,
you have reaped evil,
you have eaten the fruit of deception.
Any farmer or gardener can affirm that you reap what you sow. Would you rather plant righteousness and reap love, or plant wickedness and reap evil? May the Lord help us to make the right choices that result in his eternal glory!
Because you have depended on your own strength
and on your many warriors,
14 the roar of battle will rise against your people,
so that all your fortresses will be devastated—
as Shalman devastated Beth Arbel on the day of battle,
when mothers were dashed to the ground with their children.
15 So will it happen to you, Bethel,
because your wickedness is great.
When that day dawns,
the king of Israel will be completely destroyed.