Hosea 4:1-5:15; 2 John 1-13;
Psalm 125:1-5; Proverbs 29:9-11
Superstition, idolatry, and hypocrisy have ample wages, but truth goes a-begging. ~Martin Luther
God files His lawsuit against this idolatrous people. His list of complaints are long and specific. Here they are:
- There is no faithfulness, kindness, no knowledge of God in your land. Vs. 1
- They curse, lie, kill, steal and commit adultery. Vs. 2
- There is violence everywhere. Vs. 2
- Their sin has affected the land and the animals. Vs. 3
- The priests have prevented the people from knowing their God. Vs. 6
- They have exchanged the glory of God for the disgrace of idols. Vs. 7
- The priests are happy when people sin, because then they will bring food to the priest for a sin offering. Vs. 8
- Alcohol and prostitution have robbed the people of their brains. vs. 11
- They consult a piece of wood to tell them what to do and what the future will bring. Vs. 12
- They sacrifice to idols under the trees. Vs. 13
- Their daughters have turned to prostitution and their daughter-in-laws are adulterers. Vs. 13
- Israel is married to idolatry. Vs. 17
- Men finish their drinking bouts and go find a prostitute. Vs. 18
- Their love of shame is greater than their love of honor. Vs. 19
God says in verse 2 that He will settle with all of them for what they have done. He predicts that Israel will stumble under the load of her guilt. When Israel's day of judgment comes, she will be a heap of rubble. She will be crushed and broken by God's judgment. Ultimately, she will be carried off into captivity with no one to rescue her.
As I read God's complaints against Israel, I was struck with how His words could apply to our nation today. We are also married to the idolatry of pleasure, drunkenness, immorality, entertainment, materialism, and the love of shame, rather than love of honor.
God's covenant relationship with the nation of Israel included the Israelites being able to stay in the Promised Land on the condition that they worship God alone and obey His Laws. This lawsuit is God's proclamation that Israel has broken the covenant of obeying the Law.
The Israelites are an object lesson to all of humanity. Jesus Christ is the bridegroom and His Church is the bride. Are we as His bride being faithful to our husband? We must reflect upon what we have chosen in our lives. Have we married ourselves to the false idols of wealth and pleasure? Or are we married to Christ and committed to His ways? Are we loyal to our first love? Do we accept that God is just and sin will be judged if it is not forgiven through the blood of Christ?
Lesson: Sin results in judgment from a Just God. God is just. God punishes sin. Jesus Christ came to earth to solve the problem of sin. His death atones for our sins. Obedient living that reflects our love of Jesus should be the result of our marriage to Christ. Chasing after things, materialism, pleasure, and self-gratification represents wandering away from our first love.
2 John 1-13
In John's second letter, he is writing a letter to either a lady named Electa in a church and her children or he is writing to The Church, which is elect and chosen by God. Either way, John's focus is the truth. John is an old man at this time and refers to himself as the elder.
This teaching is subtly different from what many in the modern church teach. In our day, the focus is often on us loving the unbeliever, rather than the believer. This has led to the Church focusing a great amount of time, energy, and resources on the unbelieving world. A study of the New Testament epistles shows that the focus in the early church was to present the gospel to the unbelieving world and then focus resources, time, and energy on those people who accept the gospel of Christ and become part of God's family. The blessings of being a member of God's family include the love, fellowship, and help of the body of Christ. I believe we have lost this focus in the modern church.
John goes so far as to encourage the Church to not fellowship with false teachers. They are not to be invited into the Christian's home or be encouraged in any way. Graciousness is to be extended to those who love Christ, not to those who are working against His Kingdom.
From John's perspective, to be part of God's family is to be in a spiritual clan. There is love, loyalty, and benefits to being part of this clan. God is the Father and we fellowship together with Him. Our reward is to live forever in the presence of His Love.
Are you part of God's family? Do you love the other family members?
Notice how in vs. 4 the psalmists asks God to do good to those who are good, whose hearts are in tune with you, but to banish those who are evil. This follows John's thinking.
This proverb speaks of a wise person taking a fool to court. This reminds me of God taking the nation of Israel to court. Does He need to take you and me to court? I hope not.
What are you learning?