To my brother Jack on the occasion of his birthday. Love you, Jack!
“But now, this is what the Lord says—he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.’ When you pass through through the water, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead. Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give men in exchange for you, and people in exchange for your life. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not hold t hem back. Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of he earth—-everyone who is called by name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed an made.’ Lead out those who have eyes but are blind, who have ears but are deaf. All the nations gather together and the peoples assemble. Which of them foretold this and proclaimed to us the former things? Let them bring in their witnesses to prove they were right, so that others may hear and say, ‘It is true.’ ‘You are my witnesses, declares the Lord, ‘and my servant whom I have chosen, so that yo may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will thee be one after me. ‘I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior. I have revealed and saved and proclaimed—-I, and not some foreign god among you. You are my witnesses, declares the Lord, ‘that I am God. Yes, and from ancient days I am he. No one can deliver out of my hand,. When I act, who can reverse it?’” (Isaiah 43:1-13)
Beloved, God initiated a new Exodus for the Exiles in Babylon, revealing His continued love for His elect remnant. In love God creates, redeems, protects, and forgives His elect people. Response to such love should come in witnessing to others as God’s chosen servant, because this is what those of the Exiles were guide on their new Exodus, following their captivity and ultimate release. We too, are also His witnesses, taking the stories and accounts of the Bible and making them part of our story as well. We are to witness to all those we meet, of the love that God has for us and the love that Jesus Christ, our Savior, has for us to share the salvation message with everyone.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY:
Dear Abba, You have given us all a message to share with all others we encounter on this road of ours call life, so that they might find salvation in their lives, too. In the meantime continue to pray our troops serving in faraway lands and those in the continuing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, that the recent offer from Ukraine for finding a peaceful solution brings Russia to come and work for a peaceful conclusion to the fighting. We also pray for those around this country and around the world who are suffering under persecution and natural disasters and man made disasters, hoping You will protect all. We also pray for those who are suffering from the loss of loved ones, for all who are suffering in body, mind, and/or spirit, with friends, family, and for those we don’t know. Amen
THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“We don’t have to know all of the answers in life, to remain faithful.”
“For men are not cast off by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to he children of men..” (Lamentations 3:31-33)
Judgment bringing grief and pain to people is not God’s election purpose. He does not abandon His election purposes. Love dominates His work with the people. He created and delivered. In times of trouble God’s people can cry out to Him and find mercy. The most profound expression of the love of God for us is the gift of His only Son to be our Savior. The word translated love here is one of special significance, meaning a love that seeks to give itself away in behalf of its object. It is a love that seeks the best interests of its object while seeking nothing for itself in return. For this very reason God is declared to be love.
SECOND THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“The word of the Lord that came to Hosea son of Beeri during he reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezkiah, kings of Judah, and during the reign of jeroboam son of Jehoash king of Israel: When the Lord began to speak through Hosea, the Lord said to him, ‘Go, take to yourself an adulterous wife and children of unfaithfulness, because the land is guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the Lord. So he married Gomer daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and born him a son. Then the Lord said to Hosea, ‘Call the house of Jehu for the massacre at Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of Israel. In that day I will break Israel’s bow in the Valley of Jezreel.’ Gomer conceived again and gave birth to a daughter. Then the Lord said to Hosea, ‘Call hr Lo-Ruhamah, for I will no longer show love to the house of Israel, that I should at all forgive them. Yet I will show love to the house of Judah; and I will save them—-not by bow, sword or battle, or by horses and horsemen, but by the Lord their God.’ After she had weaned Lo-Ruhamah, Gomer had another son. Then the Lord said, ‘Call him Lo-Ammi, for you are not my people and I am not your God. ‘Yet the Israelites will be like the sand on the seashore, which cannot be measured or counted. In the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ they will be called ‘sons of he living God.’ The people of Judah and the people of Israel will be reunited, and they will appoint one leader and will come up out of the land, for great will be the day of Jezreel.” (Hosea 1:11)
Hosea received God’s revelation during the reign of four kings. He communicated the word with words and with his family life. God’s word in this sense is the intention God wanted to reveal to His people and their leaders. Thus, Hosea’s marriage became a prophetic sign symbolizing Judah’s rejection of God in favor of Baal. Marriage language was appropriate because Baal worship included sexual fertility rites. Hosea denounced the actions of the people and declared that only God could enter into a true marriage alliance with Israel. The symbolic names given to Hosea’s children and the purchasing again of Gomer are designed to reveal both the separation of the people from Yahweh, their God, and His intention to bring them back into an intimate relationship with Himself.
Hosea, as a message to unfaithful Israel, gave his children symbolic names. Lo-Ruhamah, meaning “not pitied,” was the name of the second child. Israel would not find pity. He named the third child Lo-Ammi, meaning “not my people.” Instead of being God’s people, the people had broken the covenant relationship by their evil deeds. God desires to continue the relationship with His people, but each believer is responsible to maintain the relationship by serving and obeying God. God never truly forsook His people. He remains faithful even when unfaithful people break the covenant.
Israel became the sons of God because God chose them for His own and established His covenant with them. Because of rebellion, Israel could no longer be called the people of God, but God hose to restore them unto Himself and to call them the sons of God. God chose by His grace to restore His people despite of our sin. He remains faithful to us even when we are unfaithful. This is true love, my friends, and should be honored by us at all times.