Wednesday, December 6, 2017

December 6: Hosea 4 – 5; Psalm 125; Proverbs 29:9-11; 2 John



Overview

            Hosea: The Lord announces to Israel that he has a problem with the way they are lying, murdering, stealing, and more. The people, land, wild animals, birds, and fish suffer because of it.
            He is against the priests and prophets who stumble. There isn’t any knowledge in the land because they have rejected his knowledge, so he will reject them.
            The people are doing the same as the priest and increase in sin as the population increases. They are greedy for sin and cherish worshiping other gods while drinking wine that takes away their understanding. They offer sacrifices to their gods everywhere.
            Their daughters are whores and wives are adulteresses. The Lord won’t punish them because the men are doing the same thing.
            The Lord tells them not to take their abominations into Judah. Israel is stubborn, so he can’t help them. Ephraim loves their idolatry and their leaders love shame. They will become ashamed of their sacrifices.
            He warns the priest and kings of Israel that judgement is coming. They have snared Mizpah and Tabor. They will all be disciplined. Ephraim’s harlotry is so bad it keeps them from turning to the Lord. Their pride will cause them to fall along with Judah. Even though they will bring sacrifices to the Lord, they won’t find him because of their faithlessness.
            Tell Gibeah, Ramah, and Beth-aven to follow Benjamin. Ephraim and Judah will both be punished. Ephraim went to Assyria for help, but they couldn’t rescue him. The Lord will tear them up like a lion. The Lord will then wait until they admit their guilt and seek him.
            Psalm: Those who trust in the Lord are as firm as Mount Zion because the Lord surrounds his people like the mountains surrounding Jerusalem. Though wicked people may reign for a while, they will not continue lest they corrupt the righteous. The Lord will do good for those who are upright but banish evildoers.
            Proverbs: When a wise person argues with a fool, nothing comes from it because the fool will not pay attention and either laugh at wisdom or become angry at it. People who love violence hate innocent people and will even try to kill them. Fools blow up with anger, but a wise man know how to control his anger.
            2 John: This is a very personal letter from John to a Christian woman and her children. He loves them in truth because that truth is in everyone who lives in truth (God). He asks for grace, mercy, and peace to be with everyone from God the Father and Jesus.
            He tells her that he is glad to find that some of her children walking in truth as commanded by the Father. He reminds her to love one another as we’ve been commanded from the beginning.
            There have been frauds and antichrists in the world who don’t confess that Jesus came in the flesh. They need to be careful not to get sucked into these doctrines or they may lose some of their rewards. If anyone who invents their own doctrines of Christ doesn’t have God. Those who live according to the correct doctrines of Christ have the Father and Jesus. Don’t offer any support to those who bring other doctrines or you will be participating in their work.
            John has more to say but will do in in person when he comes so they may have complete joy together. The children of her sister send greetings to her as well.

What Stood Out

            Hosea: “Their deeds do not permit them to return to their God. For the spirit of whoredom is within them, and they know not the Lord” (Hos 5:4).
            Psalm: “For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest on the land allotted to the righteous,
lest the righteous stretch out their hands to do wrong” (Ps 125:3).
            Proverbs: “If a wise man has an argument with a fool, the fool only rages and laughs, and there is no quiet” (Prov 29:9).
            2 John: “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works” (2 John 10-11).

Insight

            Hosea: The Lord continues to warn Israel and Judah that their sinfulness will catch up with them. He will execute his judgment on them. The problem starts with worshiping other gods. Since these gods don’t have righteous laws, the people start doing what they want. That leads to lying, murder, stealing, and other sins. Finally, they are so deep in their sinful behavior that there is no hope for them. At the heart of it is the “spirit of whoredom” (Hos 5:4).
            That spirit is within all of us. When we become Christians, we often continue to listen to that spirit. The New Testament calls it the flesh or the sinful nature. While we know that we don’t have to listen to it anymore because of Jesus living in us, out selfish desire within us wants to put ourselves on the throne instead of Jesus.
            It is only by God’s grace that we are saved from ourselves. Otherwise we would be in Israel’s position and would not be able to turn to the Lord. Even after we are saved, we have to be careful not to feed our desire so that it becomes strong enough that we are of no use to the Lord. Galatians 5:16-17 tells us that this war between our sinful nature and the Spirit goes on and if we don’t walk by the Spirit, we will not be able to do what the Spirit wants.
            Psalm: One thing is sure about those who trust in the Lord Jesus for their salvation. They are steadfast. Their position in God’s family will never be lost. We are secure in our salvation because God surrounds us just like the mountains surrounding Jerusalem. There is no other place that is as secure as being surrounded by God.
            Even though we are secure in our salvation, we have to be careful about being tempted to do evil. We know that the Lord always gives us a way out of temptations so that we don’t have to sin (1 Cor 10:13). However, he also knows that living in a nation ruled by wickedness will wear us down. When it gets bad enough, he will remover the wicked so that we will not be tempted (Ps 125:1). This even applies to the end of all times when the Lord will stop the evil of the antichrist so that his elect will be saved (Mark 13:20).
            Proverbs: There are times when it just doesn’t do any good to talk to a fool. You may have very good points to try to persuade a person that they need to make some serious changes in their life, but they will not pay attention to you. Some will become angry and that could be dangerous, especially in our society. Examples of this include road rage and people trying to kill each other of minor issues. Fools will also laugh it off and go their way. While that is disappointing, it is not as dangerous for us. We have to use discernment whether or not we even need to confront a fool. However, if that is where the Spirit leads us, then we should do it. Then we need to remember it is the Lord’s job to convict, not ours. We are only the messenger.
            2 John: This letter is seemingly addressed to a woman and her children. However, it doesn’t seem quite right since her name isn’t mentioned and the references to children seem to include quite a few people since some of them are walking in the truth implying that some were not. Also, the fact that she has an elect sister and children makes it seem that John is actually writing to a church. The Holman Bible Handbook says the letter is more suitable to a church than a person, especially in the instruction not to host false teachers.
            It is interesting that some people will read this short letter, skip past all the verses about walking in the truth, obeying commandments to love each other and go right to the issue of not offering hospitality to false teachers. I did the same. This might be because we have just read all of 1 John and the same subject is presented over and over and we should be applying it to our lives by now.
            Some people will not invite door-to-door cult evangelist into their home to discuss the truth of Christianity because of 2 John 10. I’ve invited them in and given them milk and cookies just so I could talk to them. Some think that is supporting them. However, the verse says not to receive them into your home. This is the same Greek word as used in John 1:12 that says if we receive Jesus, we have the right to become children of God. The concept is not dealing with inviting them in to converse and try to lead them to the true Lord, but agreeing with their false teaching. It means inviting them so that you can provide for their needs. This would be a long-term stay and not a few minutes or hour to point out that Jesus is really God’s Son in the flesh and is true deity, not an angel or some later-born spirit baby who became a god. There should be no way that they can leave your home and not know they are serving a false Jesus.

Application

             I want to be a person who can sensibly talk to others about Jesus. It doesn’t matter if they are cult members or simply people who are caught up in the world and Satan’s lies. Some are fools, but I don’t want to come across in a manner that will produce anger in them, but show true concern for their salvation.

1 comment:

  1. Often I feel there are those who dangle along pretending to hear (maybe out of politeness even) as we reach out but then they never receive within -- they are much like the 10 virgin story -- they play away -- expecting to get another's oil in the end.

    We must discern by the Holy Spirit who is stealing our oil and keeping us from those who who truly want their wicks lit & to be trimmed to the very end.

    More and more I feel God directing me to shake my feet of the danglers (dust, Matthew 10:14) -- and shoke the flames of those seeking in spirit and truth.

    No, that's not rude, racial, intolerant, etc. They may be goats or wolves -- never eating the daily food (fresh manna daily) of scriptures being starved -- or they may merely be some other shepherds lambs -- Yet I can't let the souls I have been given to tend starve, too.

    Luke 21; 19 By your patient endurance, you will gain your souls.

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