~ 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/false 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... Below is an image of Hosea prophesying by the artist Duccio di Buoninsegna from the year 1308:
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 really stood out to 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 Second John! This letter, like First 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). Check out this link for details on Gnosticism. 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. Below is an image made of wood from the 17th century of the Apostle John and scenes from his life:
~ Second John ~
Author: John the apostle
Place: Uncertain, probably Ephesus
Date: A.D. 85-95
Content: This short letter was written either to a Christian woman whom John knew or to a church personified as a woman. In any case, it was written to encourage true Christian love and to warn against the deceivers who were coming into the world. John charges the believers not to participate in their evil, but to stand for the truth no matter what that cost.
Theme: The need for Christians to be alert and diligent when it comes to false doctrine is the theme of this letter. We must be aware that false doctrine exists and we must be ready to deal with it, if confronted. All the while, however, we must live out the love of God in our lives. (Above commentary is from Tyndale Publishers “The One Year Bible Companion” p. 34) A great overview of Second John by Daniel Wallace is at bible.org at this link.
Verses 5 & 6 certainly stand 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 you loving others frequently & consistently in your life? Do you demonstrate love for others consistently? Do you love God's commands? Do you love others as Jesus loved you?
Psalms - Psalm 125 has 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 each week. 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?
Bible.org's commentary on Psalm 125 titled "Security in the Lord" is at this link.
Proverbs - Proverbs 29:11 teaches us today: "A fool gives full vent to anger, but a wise person quietly holds it back." This is a great reminder of not letting anger take over our emotions. How are you doing with controlling your emotions these days? Do you allow emotions to take control over you? Is this healthy? Is this wise?
Comments from you: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!