Daily Discipline - #105
By Colleen Donahue
Have you ever listened to someone apologize and yet noticed that there seemed no real sorrow for what they had committed? They said the words but were really only sorry that they had been caught and were suffering the consequences. Perhaps in listening to their apology you felt that there seemed no real "heart" behind it and that ,given the opportunity, they would do again to you what they were apologizing for.
If you have experienced this, then you know a little of how God felt when he heard the apology of His beloved children , the Israelites, in Hosea 6:1-3. The people were suffering the consequences of their sins of idolatry, spiritual prostitution, and just down right forgetting Him. Consequences are painful and they reasoned that if they just went to God and acknowledged Him again then life could get back on track and become normal. They had a formula----"If we say this.... then God will do that!"
But God cannot be mocked and was not fooled by their empty words. Neither will He be fooled by our empty words. God will not be satisfied with anything less than.....
Hosea Part 2: Real Repentance
I. God's Response To False Repentance
At the end of the last study, we commented that the repentance found in Hosea 6:1-3 was not real. While they acknowledged the consequences of their sin they made no mention of the sin that had caused it. They treated God in an impersonal way, almost as though He would operate by their formula. Finally, there was no real sorrow as to what they had done to God, but only the joyous expectancy that once again life could be good with all of God's blessings.
Day 1- God cannot be fooled by our empty words. What was His response to their repentance?
Day 2- What consequences did the people suffer?
Day 3- What does God desire from us?
This is the answer to the charge God brought against them in...
Day 4- The Israelites made the mistake of equating their sacrifices and rituals and services and feast days as being things that satisfy the heart of God. In actual fact what does God think of all this activity?
Amos 5:21-24 / Isaiah 1:11-15 / Psalm 51:16
Are we substituting church meetings, committee meetings, choir practice, Sunday school, church suppers, etc. for our relationship with God?
Day 5- Besides the charges of their lack of love and absence of any true knowledge of God, there is a third charge of unfaithfulness. This is exhibited in several ways with harlotry (prostitution) being the most blatant. (Note: To God Israel was engaging in prostitution by going after other "lovers" or gods. )
II. How God Regards Those That Confess His Name But Are Still Rebellious
In Hosea, Chapter 7, there are four images given to show how God regards those that confess his name but are still rebellious.
Day 6- First, He likens them to a "heated oven". This may in part refer to inordinate sexual desires which like an intense fire drive a person to ultimate destruction.
Day 7- The second image given is of a "cake not turned". We would say today that it was half-baked. Israel in her present state was useless. The fact is that a half-baked cake can make one sick and Israel was making God sick! Are you doing the same?
Hosea 7:8 / Revelations 3:16
Day 8-When we live in a state of hypocrisy and rebellion we become old fast. But like Israel sin can blind us from seeing the erosion occurring in our life.
Hosea 7: 9-10
Day 9- A dove is the third image used to describe the Israelites. A dove is a helpless bird, easily deceived and senseless. Israel, in having forsaken God, did not know where to turn. We become like a dove when we search in all directions for help and answers but forget to ask the One that knows.
Day 10- A treacherous or faulty bow is a useless weapon. It is also dangerous. We are more likely to shoot ourselves with it than the enemy. This is the last image to describe a person in rebellion. In the end they will cause their own destruction.
III. So, What Should The Israelites Have done? What Should We do?
Day 11- WAKE UP -- for the alarm is sounding!
Hosea 5:1, 8 / Hosea 8:1
Alarm for What?
Romans 1:18 / 2 Peter 3:7 / Isaiah 66:15-16
Without a doubt there is a judgement coming for each one of us. While we don't know the exact time we do know that it is certain. It is not too late for men and women today to either begin, or repair their relationship with God. But where do we start?
Day 12- The clue is found in Hosea 10:12. Fallow ground is land that is left idle during a growing season. Nothing is planted, and so the ground becomes dry and hard. For it to receive seed again it needs to be broken up and tilled. In the Bible the mind of man is often compared to ground, and the Word of God to seed sown. Therefore to break up our fallow ground means to bring our minds to that state where it is willing to receive God's Word.
Jeremiah 4:3 / Luke 8: 4-15
"If you mean to break up the fallow ground of your hearts, you must begin by looking at your hearts..... To do all this, you must set yourself to work to consider your sins. Self examination consists in looking at your lives, in considering your actions, in calling up the past, and learning its true character......General confession of sin will never do. Your sins were committed one by one and as far as you can come at them, they ought to be reviewed and repented of one by one." Charles Finney; Revival Lectures; Fleming H. Revell Co., Pages 37-38
IV. Breaking Up Our Fallow Ground: A Look At Specific Sins
Day 13- What sin seemed to be at the base of all the people's behavior towards God?
Hosea 4:12-14, 17-19 / Hosea 5:3-4 / Hosea 6:10 / Hosea 9:1 / Hosea 10:8 / Hosea 11:2 / Hosea 13:1-2
Harlotry is an older word for prostitution. God had covenanted Himself to the Israelite nation forever, like a marriage covenant. He was to be their one, true God. But when they began to set up alternative altars, sacrificing to and worshiping other gods, this was the equivalent of Gomer walking out on Hosea to love other men. It was adultery and prostitution.
Day 14-The direct consequences of this sin of harlotry had its first effects within their relationship with God Himself.
Hosea 4:1 / Hosea 5:7 /Hosea 6: 4,7 / Hosea 11: 7a, 12a /Hosea 10:3
Day 15-This personal rejection of God led to the rejection of all that He had given them regarding instruction for living.
Hosea 4:6 / Hosea 8:12/ Hosea 11:7
Day 16- When we reject or "water down" God's Word this leads to lives of compromise, often sapping our strength and aging us without our even being aware of it.
Day 17-Compromise led the people to adopt a "form of religion" without really having to love God. To the watching world these people were highly religious. But to the eye of God it was all meaningless.
Hosea 8:11-14 / Hosea 10:1-4
Day 18-Without truth in our relationship with God, there cannot be truth with our relationships with other men. It will eventually surface into the society at large.
Hosea 4: 2-3, 8 / Hosea 6: 8-9
Day 19- This degenerative state led to dreadful consequences. But even then in their most desperate state they did not turn to God for help and they continued to act entirely independent of Him.
Hosea 5:13 / Hosea 7: 1, 10 / Hosea 8:4, 14 / Hosea 9:17 / Hosea 10:13 / Hosea 12:1
Day 20- Though they were on the road to total destruction, there was a false sense of security because it was a time of great prosperity and abundance.
Hosea 12:8 / Hosea 13: 6
If there are some of these same symptoms and sins in your own life and in that of your nation, then it is time to "break up your fallow ground and seek the Lord."
V. How Do We Turn Around to Walk Toward God Instead of Away From Him?
Day 21- You'll remember in Hosea 5:1 there was a call to Wake up and Hear. Well, the people just went on living their lives, having their festivals, and acting as though everything was OK. In this way they ignored every warning God was giving them. So, the first step of turning to God is to wake up, hear, and stop acting like nothing is wrong!
Hosea 9:1, 7a / Hosea 13:15 / Proverbs 29:1
Day 22- Be honest. Your life or your society is deteriorating because of sin. Call it for what it is. You didn't just make a mistake --- you lied. Your "affair" is not just being human -- it's adultery. Your overeating is not a lapse of will power -- it's gluttony.
Day 23- Don't make the mistake that Israel did. They turned to everyone else for help except the One they needed to. Return to your Creator and Father that loves you. There is no Savior outside of Him.
Hosea 12:6 / Hosea 6:1a / Hosea 13:4 / Hosea 14:1a
Day 24- "Take with you words...."
The recognition that we have sinned against God and our fellow man requires "words" or a confession of those sins. It is not the glib words that we read in Hosea 6:1-3 but rather an acknowledgement of each sin and genuine sorrow for what those sins have done to God and other people.
Hosea 14:2-3 / Ezra 10:11 / Proverbs 28:13 / Jeremiah 3:12-13
Day 25-Repentance is turning around to walk in the opposite direction. When our confession is real it will always be followed by action. If we have "plowed iniquity" then we stop and begin to "sow righteousness". The bottom line is that we stop sinning!
Hosea 10:12-13 / Isaiah 1:16-17 / Isaiah 55:7 / Ephesians 4:22 / Hebrews 12:1 / I Peter 2:11
Day 26- To stop our sinning is only one side of repentance. The negative must be replaced with right living.
Hosea 6:6 / Hosea 10:12/ Hosea 12:6
VI. How Can I Know That God Will Accept My Repentance?
Day 27- We must first be certain of what the heart of God is towards us. In chapter 11 of Hosea we see a picture of God's character. On the one hand He is a God of justice, while at the same time being a Father that loves us and wants only our welfare.
Hosea 11:1-9 / Ezekiel 18:32
God's acceptance of our repentance is marked by His promises that stand true for all men and women...
Day 28- He begins again to hear and answer our prayers.
2 Chronicles 7:14 / Isaiah 65:24 / Daniel 9:20-21
Day 29- You know from within that God has forgiven your sins.
Isaiah 43:25 / Isaiah 44:22 / Isaiah 55:7 / Micah 7:18
Day 30- Then, He gives us His promise of Life.
Ezekiel 18:21-22 / Proverbs 10: 16-17 / Proverbs 12:28 / Hosea 14:4-9
Day 31- True Repentance on our part is always followed by action on God's part. This promise stands for all men, and for all time.
I John 1:9
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