What’s going on in government? What’s going on at the top? What’s going on in the courts? What’s going on in the corporations? What’s working? What’s not?
Is there an ethic? Is there a standard? Is there truth? Is there loyalty? Is there integrity? Is there hope? Is there love? Is there knowledge? Is there wisdom? Is there violence? Is there crime? Is there focus? Is there discernment?
Destroyed For Lack of Knowledge
1Hear the word of Adonai, Bnei-Yisrael! For Adonai has a dispute with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, no covenant loyalty, and no knowledge of God in the land. 2Curse, deceive, murder, steal, commit adultery! They practice violence, and bloodshed follows bloodshed. 3Therefore the land will mourn, and everyone dwelling in it will languish along with the beasts of the field and the flying creatures of the sky— even the fish of the sea will be removed. 4Yet let no one dispute and let no one argue. Your people are like a kohen who makes quarrels. 5So you will stumble by day. Also a prophet will stumble with you by night, when I destroy your mother. 6My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Since you rejected knowledge, I will also reject you from being My kohen. Since you forgot the Torah of your God, just so I will forget your children. 7The more they multiplied, the more they sinned against Me. I will change their glory into disgrace. 8They feed on the sin of My people and relish their iniquity. 9But it will be like people, like kohen. So I will punish them for their ways, and repay them for their deeds. 10They have eaten but will not be satisfied. They have fornicated but will not increase. For they stopped giving heed to Adonai. 11Prostitution and wine—even new wine— it takes away understanding. 12My people consult their wooden idol and their divining rod informs them. For a spirit of prostitution leads them astray and they have been a prostitute— out from under their God. 13They sacrifice on the mountaintops and on the high places they burn incense under oak poplar, and terebinth— for its shade is good. Therefore your daughters are prostitutes and your daughters-in-law commit adultery. 14Will I not punish your daughters for prostitution or your daughters-in-law for adultery? For they consort with prostitutes, and they sacrifice with cult prostitutes. A people without understanding will be thrust down. 15Though you, Israel, are a prostitute, let Judah not become guilty. But do not come to Gilgal or go up to Beth-aven, and do not swear: ‘As Adonai lives!’ 16For Israel is stubborn like a stubborn cow. Now Adonai will pasture them like a lamb in the open field. 17Ephraim is joined to idols; let him alone! 18Their liquor has come to an end. They surely have practiced prostitution. Her rulers have deeply loved disgrace. 19A wind will wrap her up in its wings. They will be ashamed of their sacrifices.
–from Hosea 4
Are people accountable? Are people just? Are people truthful? Are people upright? Are people honest? Are people acting with integrity? Are people building up standards? Are people tearing them down? Are people trying to keep high standards or move to the lowest common denominator?
Judgment for Betrayal
1Hear this, O priests! Pay attention, O house of Israel! Give ear, O house of the king! For the judgment applies to you: For you were a snare at Mizpah and a net spread on Tabor. 2Rebels were deep in slaughter, so I am a chastisement for them all. 3I myself have known Ephraim, and Israel is not hidden from Me. For now, Ephraim, you are a prostitute— Israel is defiled! 4They will not give up their evil deeds to return to their God. For a spirit of prostitution is in them, and Adonai they have not known. 5The Pride of Israel will answer to his face: Israel and Ephraim will stagger in their iniquity, Judah also will stumble with them. 6With their flocks and with their herds they will go to seek Adonai, but they will not find Him— He has withdrawn from them. 7They have betrayed Adonai, for they have begotten foreign children. Now the New Moon will devour them, with their portions. 8Blow a shofar in Gibeah, a trumpet in Ramah! Sound an alarm at Beth-aven: “Behind you, Benjamin!” 9Ephraim will become desolate in the day of rebuke. Among the tribes of Israel I made known what is certain. 10The princes of Judah were like those who move a boundary mark. I pour out My fury on them like water. 11Oppressed is Ephraim, crushed by judgment, for he willingly followed a worthless thing. 12So, I will be like a moth to Ephraim and like decay to the house of Judah. 13When Ephraim saw his sickness and Judah his wound, Ephraim went to Assyria and sent envoys to a warring king. But he cannot heal you nor will he cure your wound. 14For I will be like a lion to Ephraim, and like a young lion to the house of Judah. I, even I, will tear and go away. I will carry off, and nobody will rescue. 15I will go and return to My place until they admit their guilt. Then they will seek My face. In their distress they will seek Me earnestly:
–from Hosea 5
Do people live in humility? Do people treat others right? Do people love? Will they love God and love people? Will they treat people wirh respect? Will they be servant leaders?
How about you? Where are you at? Will you lead by example? Will you lead with a servant’s heart? Will you humble yourself for yourself and the sake of others? Will you reach out to make a difference? Will you be Jesus with skin on to the world around you?
We need to be loyal to God! Loyalty is more important than sacrifice? Put another way, obedience to God is more important than sacrifice! Will we align to God and go it His ways rather than going through the motions of being holier than thou but missing the big picture? Follow the rules to a t but then miss out on the compassion and service God also wants from us? We need to do both! We need to do more than just going through the motions so that people around us think it’s all taken care of.
Prayer of Teshuvah
1Come, let us return to Adonai. For He has torn, but He will heal us. He has smitten, but He will bind us up. 2After two days He will revive us. On the third day He will raise us up, and we will live in His presence. 3So let us know, let us strive to know Adonai. Like dawn His going forth is certain. He will come to us like the rain, like the latter rain watering the earth.
Covenant Loyalty More Than Sacrifice
4“O Ephraim, what shall I do for you? O Judah, what will I do for you? For your loyalty is like a morning cloud or like dew rising early, vanishing. 5Therefore I cut them down by the prophets. I slew them by the words of My mouth. Now the judgments pronounced against you: light will go forth. 6For I delight in loyalty and not sacrifice, knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. 7But like Adam, they transgressed a covenant. There they dealt treacherously with Me. 8Gilead is a city of evildoers, tracked with bloody footprints. 9Like marauding bands waiting for a man, so a company of priests murders on the way toward Shechem. For they have committed crime. 10In the house of Israel I have seen a horrible thing: Ephraim’s prostitution is there, Israel has become unclean. 11Also, Judah, there is a harvest for you, when I return My people from captivity.”
–from Hosea 6
Do you realize what is going on? What’s going on in your heart? What are you hiding in your mind? There is nothing hidden from God! He knows it all! So will you humble yourself and pray? Will you humble yourself and turn from your wicked or evil ways and turn back to God? Will you turn back to God and ask Him for forgiveness? If you will then He will forgive your sin and heal your land!
Don’t be so proud that you keep walking away from God! Don’t be so proud that you think you can keep living outside of His protection and covering! If you don’t turn back before it is too late, you run the risk of being cut off and left apart forever! That’s not what God wants! His plan was that everyone would turnback and be saved! God so loves the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever would believe on Him would not perish but have everlasting life! Don’t believe me? Check out His own Word in the Bible!
Not everyone will, but what would it take for you to?
Iniquity of Senseless Ephraim
1“When I would have healed Israel, the iniquity of Ephraim was uncovered, even the wickedness of Samaria, for they practice fraud. So a thief breaks in; a marauding band will raid outside. 2But they never admit in their heart that I remember all their evil. Now their deeds are all around them. They are right before My face. 3They gladden the king with their evil and the princes with their lies. 4All of them are practicing adultery, as an oven heated by a baker who stops stirring or kneading dough when it is leavened. 5On the day of our king, princes become sick from wine. His hand drags scorners along. 6For their hearts are like an oven, as they wait in ambush. All night their anger smolders. In the morning it burns like a blazing fire. 7All of them are hot like an oven, and they devour their rulers. All of their kings have fallen. None among them calls on Me. 8Ephraim mixes himself with the peoples. Ephraim has become a pancake that never gets turned over. 9Strangers devoured his strength— yet he does not know it. Gray hairs have spread on him— and he does not know it. 10Though the Pride of Israel has answered him to his face, yet they did not return to Adonai their God, nor seek Him about all this. 11Ephraim is like a senseless silly dove, they call to Egypt; they go to Assyria. 12As they are going, I will spread out My net over them, I will bring them down like a bird from the sky. I will chasten them as in the report that comes to their assembly. 13Oy to them! For they strayed from Me. Devastation to them! For they rebelled against Me. Should I redeem them after they spoke lies about Me? 14Nor did they not cry to Me in their heart when they were wailing on their beds. For the sake of grain and new wine they slash themselves— they keep turning away from Me. 15I trained and strengthened their arms, yet they kept planning evil against Me. 16They will turn back—only not upwards. They are like a treacherous bow. Their princes will fall by the sword because of the insolence with their tongues. This will be for their ridicule in the land of Egypt.
–from Hosea 7
So…how will it go in your life? What role will you play? How will you choose to go? How will you choose to live? What character will you play in this thing called life? Do you realize that Jesus has already paid it all? He paid the fine for your behavior! Will you choose to accept it? Will you choose to receive it? Or will you be too proud and so proud that you will try to get through life on your on, on your own terms, in your own way?
Will you live with integrity? Will you live with loyalty? Will you live with truth? Will you live with love? Will you live with hope? Will you share the Good News that you received?
Know how to win? LOVE! Know how to succeed? LOVE! Know how to be victorious? LOVE!
LOVE ends the argument!
Taking the Kingdom by Force
1Yeshua began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard. He put a hedge around it, dug a pit for the winepress, and built a tower. He leased it to some tenant farmers and went on a journey. 2And at the season, he sent a servant to collect from the tenants part of the vineyard’s fruit. 3But grabbing him, they beat him up and sent him away empty-handed. 4And again the man sent another servant to them, and they wounded his head and treated him shamefully. 5He sent another, and that one they killed; and so on with many others, beating some and killing some. 6He had yet one, a well-loved son. He sent him to them last of all, saying, ‘They will respect my son. 7“But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir! Come on, let’s kill him and the inheritance will be ours!’ 8So grabbing the son, they killed him and threw him out of the vineyard. 9“What then will the master of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others. 10Haven’t you read this Scripture? ‘The stone which the builders rejected, this has become the chief cornerstone. 11This came from Adonai, and it is marvelous in our eyes.’” 12They were trying to seize Yeshua, because they realized that He spoke the parable against them. But they feared the crowd, so they left Him and went away.
A Test of Loyalty
13Then they send some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Yeshua in order to trap Him with a word. 14They come and say to Him, “Teacher, we know that You are honest, and what others think doesn’t concern You. You don’t look at men’s appearance, but teach the way of God according to the truth. Is it permitted to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? 15Should we pay, or shouldn’t we?” But Yeshua saw through their hypocrisy and said to them, “Why are you testing Me? Bring Me a denarius so I may see it.” 16They brought one. And He said to them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?” “Caesar’s,” they said to Him. 17Then Yeshua said to them, “Give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they were completely amazed at Him.
The Challenge of the Sadducees
18Then Sadducees (who say there is no resurrection) came and began questioning Yeshua, saying, 19“Teacher, Moses wrote for us that ‘if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, then his brother should take the widow and father children for his brother.’ 20There were seven brothers; and the first took a wife and, when he died, left no offspring. 21And the second took her and died, leaving no offspring, and the third likewise. 22Now the seven left no offspring. Last of all, the woman died, too. 23In the resurrection, when they rise up, whose wife will she be? For all seven had married her.” 24Yeshua said to them, “Isn’t this the reason you’ve gone astray, because you don’t understand the Scriptures or the power of God? 25For when they rise up from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 26But concerning the dead being raised, haven’t you read in the book of Moses about the burning bush? How God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? 27He’s not the God of the dead, but of the living. You have gone far astray!”
Love Ends the Argument
28One of the Torah scholars came and heard them debating. Seeing that Yeshua had answered them well, he asked Him, “Which commandment is first of all?” 29Yeshua answered, “The first is, ‘Shema Yisrael, Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai echad. Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One. 30And you shall love Adonai your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32“Well said, Teacher,” the Torah scholar said to Him. “You have spoken the truth, that He is echad, and besides Him there is no other! 33And ‘to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, and with all the strength,’ and ‘to love the neighbor as oneself,’ is much more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34When Yeshua saw that he had answered wisely, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And no one dared any longer to question Him.
Who Is King David’s Lord?
35While Yeshua was teaching in the Temple, He said, “How is it that the Torah scholars say that the Messiah is Ben-David? 36David himself, through the Ruach ha-Kodesh, said, ‘Adonai said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, until I put Your enemies under Your feet.”’ 37If David himself calls Him ‘Lord,’ in what way is He his son?” And the large crowd was listening to Him with delight. 38In His teaching He said, “Watch out for the Torah scholars, who like to walk around in long robes. They like greetings in the marketplaces, 39the best seats in the synagogues, and places of honor at feasts. 40They devour widows’ houses and make long prayers as a show. These men will receive greater condemnation!” 41He sat down opposite the treasury and began watching how the people were putting money into the offering box. Many rich people were putting in a lot. 42Then a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, worth less than a penny. 43Calling His disciples over, He said to them, “Amen, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those contributing to the box! 44For they all put in from their surplus; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything she had, her whole living.”
–from Mark 12