~ Click on this link for today's readings ~
Hosea 4:1-5:15 ~ 2 John 1:1-13
Psalm 125:1-5 ~ Proverbs 29:9-11
Old Testament - Hosea chapters 4 & 5 are classic prophesying! If you ever think of a prophet in the Old Testament going around and stirring things up in the land - think of these 2 chapters... If you're just checking out this website and today's readings, I realize that they will sound very harsh on the surface. However, context from Jeremiah & Ezekiel & 2 Kings will help catch you up on why God is not happy here... Essentially the northern kingdom of Israel is worshiping Baal, an idol/falsel god, and not God himself. And the immorality in the land is skyrocketing. God's reaction here is actually a compassionate reaction - he is trying to reverse the immorality and bring people back to him in repentance. But, yes, he's going off in these 2 chapters...
Verses 1 & 2 in chapter 4 set the stage for these 2 chapters - "Hear the word of the LORD, O people of Israel! The LORD has filed a lawsuit against you, saying: "There is no faithfulness, no kindness, no knowledge of God in your land. You curse and lie and kill and steal and commit adultery. There is violence everywhere, with one murder after another." See any violations of the Ten Commandments in these 2 verses?
Verse 18 for some reason really jumped out at me today - "Their love for shame is greater than their love for honor." Is it possible in our world today that there are people who love shame more than they love honor? It is possible that this happens in our lives at times? Will we pursue love of honor in our lives, leaving behind anything that might look like love of shame?
New Testament - Today we read through the very short letter of 2 John. This letter, like 1 John, was written by one of Jesus' 12 disciples, John son of Zebedee - who also wrote the Gospel of John and the book of Revelation. This letter was essentially written to continue to dispel Gnosticism, which was a twisting of Christianity - it basically meant salvation through knowledge (gnosis is Greek for knowledge). I could go on and on about Gnosticism, but check out this link for all the details. Gnostic teachers were traveling throughout the land at the time this letter was written, and this letter warns people to not encourage this false teaching in any way as we see in verses 10 & 11 - "If someone comes to your meeting and does not teach the truth about Christ, don't invite him into your house or encourage him in any way. Anyone who encourages him becomes a partner in his evil work." The letter of 2 John was written in approximately 85-95 AD. You can view a good overview of 2 John online here at this link.
Verses 5 & 6 certainly jump out in this short letter - "And now I want to urge you, dear lady, that we should love one another. This is not a new commandment, but one we had from the beginning. Love means doing what God has commanded us, and he has commanded us to love one another, just as you heard from the beginning." Are we loving others frequently & consistently in our lives? Do we demonstrate love for others consistently? Do we love God's commands?
Psalm 125 has a great verses in 4 & 5 - "O LORD, do good to those who are good, whose hearts are in tune with you. But banish those who turn to crooked ways, O LORD. Take them away with those who do evil. And let Israel have quietness and peace" I love that closing line - let us have quietness and peace! What a great prayer. Don't we all wish for quietness and peace in our lives? One thing I'll recommend - which I am trying so hard to learn myself - is to take a Sabbath day of rest on Sundays. (or another day of the week if need be). Just rest. Just be peaceful. Just be with God. One day a week. It will dramatically change the other 6 days of your week without a doubt. Will you join me on this quest for quietness and peace in our lives by taking a Sabbath day of rest once each week?
Proverbs 29:11 is a great reminder of not letting anger take over our emotions...
What verses or insights jumped out for you in today's readings? Please post up in the Comments section below!