Pastor’s Bible Reading Schedule: Hosea 12-14
In chapters 12-13 God clearly spells out what discipline Israel will receive because of her disobedience. She has given herself over and over again to idolatry and therefore she requires discipline from the Lord. He reminisces the pattern of struggles that Jacob had personally and then outlines the struggles that Israel has had and continues to have. Hosea makes it clear that God is disciplining them because of their spiritual adultery, yet it is in God where their help will come from and it is God that will extend mercy. Oh how we love the mercy of God toward us and yet are so stingy in showing mercy to others. However, there is a very important part that we often miss. The mercy of God is often shown after the consequences have been administered. So often we want mercy in the absence of consequences, and certainly there is plenty of examples of that. However, to always expect mercy without consequences is to be presumptuous and selfish. God says in Hosea 13:11, “I gave thee a king in mine anger, and took him away in my wrath.” God never intended for Israel to need anyone else other than God Himself to lead her and guide her into the rest He had prepared for her. The same is true for us. God will lead us and guide us to accomplish His will for our lives through the grace He gives and the mercy He extends each day. His program includes the three institutions that He has established and He is working within them according to the counsels of His own will to bring us “to the praise of the glory of His grace.” (Eph. 1:6-11) God loves us so much and how foolish of us to give ourselves to some other authority or engage in some sinful activity. We must embrace the consequences that God allows in our lives as a testimony of His mercy and grace. He could allow us to just continue down the path to destruction, but He loves us enough to administer consequences that cause us to turn back to Him. His mercy is new every morning and He is quick to forgive. “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him…. Ephraim shall say, What have I to do with idols?… for the ways of the Lord are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressor shall fall therein.” (Hosea 14:4-9) Everything God does in our lives has a divine purpose that is ultimately rooted in His love for us and in extending His mercy to us. As in our salvation, God sometimes extends mercy and we are spared from the consequences; however, sometimes the most merciful thing God can do is extend consequences that cause us to run back to the loving arms of Jesus!
• Lord, please help me to embrace your love for me. Thank you for always having my best interest at your heart. Help me to respond humbly and appropriately when you chasten me. Help me to always have a sensitive heart to the prodding of the Holy Spirit.
• Lord, thank you for your mercy that is new every morning. Thank you for your faithfulness. I am naturally selfish, but please help me to extend that same mercy to those around me. Please help me to enjoy my position in Christ.
• Lord, please help me to follow your leadership and give myself wholly to you. I exist to bring you glory and I desire to do that today and every day.