Are you being faithful as He is faithful to you? Are you sticking with Him as He sticks near to you? Are you loving as He is love? Are you being truthful as He is truth?
Are you walking away from Him? Are you turning your back on Him? Are you worshipping someone or something else? Are you going the wrong way? What about at a higher level? What about your family? What about your community? What about your corporation? What about your country?
It’s great if you are. How can we help the others to come along on the journey?
Today’s reading gets us started into Hosea…
The Unfaithful Wife
1The word of Adonai that came to Hosea son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam son of Joash, king of Israel. 2When Adonai first spoke with Hosea, Adonai said to Hosea: “Go, get yourself a prostitute as a wife and children with a prostitute! For the land is an unfaithful prostitute, far from following after Adonai.” 3So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son. 4Then Adonai said to him: “Name him Jezreel for in yet a little while I will visit the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, and I will destroy the kingdom of the house of Israel. 5In that day I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel.” 6Then she conceived again, and bore a daughter. And He said to him: “Name her Lo-ruhamah— for no longer will I have compassion on the house of Israel that I should ever pardon them. 7But on the house of Judah I will have compassion and deliver them by Adonai, their God, yet not by bow, sword or battle, nor by horses and horsemen.” 8After she weaned Lo-ruhamah, she conceived and bore a son. 9Then He said: “Name him Lo-ammi, for you are not My people and I am not yours.”
–from Hosea 1
Do you realize how much God loves you? Do you realize how much He has done to provide a way for you to be reconciles to Him? Do you realize that God loves you so much that He sent Jesus to bring hope, love, forgiveness, and reconciliation? He created you on purpose for a purpose! He has good and great plans for you! Will you choose to be a part of them?
Restoring the Covenant Promises
1“Yet the number of Bnei-Yisrael will be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or counted. Instead of ‘You are not My people’ being said to them, they will be called ‘Children of the living God.’ 2Then the descendants of Judah and descendants of Israel will be gathered together. They will appoint themselves one head And they will go up from the land. For the day of Jezreel will be great. 3Say you to your brothers, ‘Ammi’ and to your sisters, ‘Ruhamah’. 4Contend with your mother, contend! For she is not My wife nor I her husband. Let her put away her fornications from her face and her adulteries from between her breasts. 5Or else I will strip her naked and expose her as on the day she was born. Then I will make her like a wilderness. Yes, I will make her like desert land, and I will let her die of thirst. 6I will have no compassion for her children, for they are children of prostitution. 7For their mother has practiced prostitution. She who conceived them has been shameful. For she said, ‘Let me go after my lovers, who are giving me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.’ 8Therefore see, I will hedge her in with thorns, and I will build a wall around her so she cannot find her paths. 9Then she will chase after her lovers, but she will not overtake them. She will seek them, but not find. Then she will say: ‘Let me go and return to my first husband, for was it better for me then, than now.’ 10But she did not realize that I Myself gave her the grain, the wine and the fresh oil. I lavished on her silver, also gold— which they made into Baal. 11Therefore I will return and take back My grain in its season, and My new wine at its appointed time, and I will snatch away My wool and My linen for covering her nakedness. 12So now I will uncover her lewdness to the eyes of her lovers, and no one will rescue her from My hand. 13I will also put an end to all her rejoicing— her feasts, her New Moon, her Shabbat, and all her moadim. 14I will also devastate her vines and her fig trees, of which she said: ‘These are my payment that my lovers have given to me.’ But I will turn them into a thicket and beasts of the field will devour them. 15Then I will punish her for the days of the Baalim to whom she would burn incense— adorning herself with her rings and jewelry, going after her lovers— but Me she forgot.” It is a declaration of Adonai.
Compassion and Covenant Love
16“So then, I Myself will entice her, I will bring her into the wilderness and speak to her heart. 17I will give her back her vineyards from there and make the valley of Achor a door of hope. She will respond there— as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of the land of Egypt. 18In that day—it is a declaration of Adonai— you will proclaim, ‘My husband,’ and never again call Me, ‘My Baal.’ 19Then I will remove the names of the Baalim out of her mouth, no longer to be mentioned by their name. 20In that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, the flying creatures in the sky, and the creeping things on the ground. I will break into pieces the bow and sword and warfare from the land, and I will cause them to lie down securely. 21Then I will betroth you to Me forever—yes, I will betroth you to Me with righteousness, justice, covenant loyalty and compassion. 22I will betroth you to Me with faithfulness, and you will know Adonai. 23So it will be in that day, I will respond —it is a declaration of adonai— I will respond to the skies, and they will respond to the earth, 24and the earth will respond with grain, new wine, and fresh oil— and they will respond with ‘Jezreel!’ 25I will sow her in the land for Myself. I will have compassion on Lo-ruhamah. I will say to Lo-ammi, ‘You are My people!’ and they will say, ‘My God!’”
–from Hosea 2
What will it take for the world to come to see and know and believe and realize how much God desires a relationship with them?
Buying Back His Wife
1Then Adonai said to me: “Go again! Love a woman who is loved by a companion and committing adultery—just as Adonai has loved the Bnei-Yisrael, while they were turning to other gods and loving raisin cakes.” 2So I bought her for myself for fifteen shekels of silver and an omer and a half of barley. 3Then I said to her: “For many days you must stay with me. You must not practice prostitution. You must not have a man, and I will be the same toward you.” 4For Bnei-Yisrael will remain for many days without king, without prince, without sacrifice, without sacred pillar, and without ephod or teraphim. 5Afterwards, Bnei-Yisrael will return, and they will seek Adonai their God and David their king. Then they will turn in awe to Adonai and to His goodness in the last days.
–from Hosea 3
So will you praise Him? Will you worship Him? Will you ask Jesus into your heart? Will you allow the Holy Spirit to lead you and guide you, instruct you and correct you?
It Is Good to Praise
1A psalm, a song for the Shabbat. 2It is good to praise Adonai and to make music to Your Name, Elyon, 3to declare Your love in the morning and Your faithfulness at night, 4with a ten-string harp, with resounding music on the lyre. 5For You made me glad, Adonai, by Your deeds. I sing for joy at the works of Your hands. 6How great are Your works, Adonai! How profound are Your thoughts! 7A brutish man does not know, nor does a fool understand. 8Though the wicked spring up like grass, and all evildoers flourish, it is only to be ruined forever. 9But You, Adonai, are exalted forever. 10For behold, Your enemies, Adonai —behold Your enemies perish— all evildoers are scattered. 11But You exalted my horn like that of a wild ox. I am anointed with fresh oil. 12My eye can gaze on those lying in wait for me. My ears hear about evildoers rising up against me. 13The righteous will flourish like a palm tree. He will grow like a cedar in Lebanon. 14Planted in the House of Adonai, they will flourish in the courts of our God. 15They will still yield fruit in old age. They will be full of sap and freshness. 16They declare, “Adonai is upright, my Rock —there is no injustice in Him.”
–from Pslams 92
How obedient will you be to God’s will and God’s plan? What if He asks you to do something? What if He asks you to say something? What if He asks you to stop doing something? What if He asks you not to speak? What if…
Will you be faithful to Him? Will you trust Him? Will you be obedient to Him?
If someone asked you why do you do what you do? Why do you act like you do? Why do you talk like you do? Will you point to the author and perfector of your faith? Will you tell them about Jesus?
Ben-David Enters Jerusalem
1Now as they draw near to Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, to the Mount of Olives, Yeshua sends two of His disciples 2and says to them, “Go into the village ahead of you. Right away as you enter it, you will find a colt tied up that no one has ever sat upon. Untie it and bring it. 3If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Master needs it.’ And right away he will send it back here.” 4They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a door. And they untied it. 5Some people standing there began saying to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” 6They answered just as Yeshua had told them, and the people let them go. 7And they brought the colt to Yeshua and laid their cloaks on it, and He sat on it. 8Many spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread branches cut from the fields. 9Those going before and those following kept shouting, “Hoshia-na! Baruch ha-ba b’shem Adonai! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! 10Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hoshia-na in the highest!” 11And He entered Jerusalem and went into the Temple. After looking around at everything, He went out to Bethany with the Twelve, since it was already late.
The Fruit of the Faithful
12The next day, when they had left Bethany, He became hungry. 13Seeing from a distance a fig tree in leaf, He went to see if He would find any fruit on it. When He came up to it, He found nothing except leaves, because it wasn’t the season for figs. 14And He said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again!” And His disciples were listening. 15Then they came to Jerusalem. And He entered the Temple and started to drive out those selling and buying in the Temple. He overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the seats of those selling doves, 16and He wouldn’t let anyone carry goods through the Temple. 17And He began to teach them, saying, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’” 18The ruling kohanim and Torah scholars heard this and began looking for a way to destroy Him; for they were afraid of Him, because the whole crowd was astonished at His teaching. 19Whenever evening came, Yeshua and His disciples would leave the city. 20As they were passing by in the morning, they saw the fig tree shriveled from the roots. 21Peter remembered and said to Yeshua, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree You cursed has shriveled up!” 22And Yeshua answered, saying to them, “Have faith in God! 23Amen, I tell you, if someone says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but trusts that what he says is happening, so shall it be for him. 24For this reason I say to you, whatever you pray and ask, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 25Whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your transgressions.” 26[footnote: Some mss. add: But if you don’t forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your transgressions.]
A Question for a Question
27Again they come to Jerusalem. While Yeshua was walking in the Temple, the ruling kohanim, Torah scholars, and elders come up to Him. 28And they start saying to Him, “By what authority are You doing these things? Who gave You this authority to do these things?” 29Yeshua said to them, “I will put one question to you. Answer Me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. 30The immersion of John—was it from heaven or from men? Answer Me!” 31They began to dialogue among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 32But if we say, ‘From men’…?” They were afraid of the crowd, for all held that John really was a prophet. 33So answering Yeshua, they say, “We don’t know.” And Yeshua tells them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”
–from Mark 11