December 11, 2007

Hosea 9-11 - Cords of Kindness

From today's Bible reading:

Hosea 9:

Rejoice not, O Israel!

Exult not like the peoples; for you have played the whore, forsaking your God.

You have loved a prostitute's wages on all threshing floors.

What will you do on the day of the appointed festival, and on the day of the feast of the LORD?

The days of punishment have come;
the days of recompense have come;
Israel shall know it.

The prophet is a fool; the man of the spirit is mad, because of your great iniquity and great hatred.

Ephraim's glory shall fly away like a bird—no birth, no pregnancy, no conception!

Even though they give birth, I will put their beloved children to death.

My God will reject them
because they have not listened to him;
they shall be wanderers among the nations.

Hosea 10:

Israel is a luxuriant vine
that yields its fruit.
The more his fruit increased,
the more altars he built;
as his country improved,
he improved his pillars.

Their heart is false;
now they must bear their guilt.
The LORD will break down their altars
and destroy their pillars.

For now they will say:
We have no king,
for we do not fear the LORD;
and a king—what could he do for us?

The high places of Aven, the sin of Israel, shall be destroyed.

Thorn and thistle shall grow up
on their altars,
and they shall say to the mountains, Cover us,
and to the hills, Fall on us.

(High places of a different kind.)

Sow for yourselves righteousness;
reap steadfast love;
break up your fallow ground,
for it is the time to seek the LORD,
that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.

Because you have trusted in your own way
and in the multitude of your warriors,
therefore the tumult of war shall arise among your people,
and all your fortresses shall be destroyed,
as Shalman destroyed Beth-arbel on the day of battle;
mothers were dashed in pieces with their children.

Thus it shall be done to you, O Bethel,
because of your great evil.
At dawn the king of Israel
shall be utterly cut off.

Hosea 11:

When Israel was a child, I loved him,
and out of Egypt I called my son.

The more they were called,
the more they went away;
they kept sacrificing to the Baals
and burning offerings to idols.

Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk;
I took them up by their arms,
but they did not know that I healed them.

I led them with cords of kindness,
with the bands of love,
and I became to them as one who eases the yoke on their jaws,
and I bent down to them and fed them.

My people are bent on turning away from me,
and though they call out to the Most High,
he shall not raise them up at all.

My heart recoils within me; my compassion grows warm and tender.

I will not execute my burning anger;
I will not again destroy Ephraim;
for I am God and not a man,
the Holy One in your midst,
and I will not come in wrath.

They shall go after the LORD; he will roar like a lion; when he roars, his children shall come trembling from the west; they shall come trembling like birds from Egypt, and like doves from the land of Assyria, and I will return them to their homes, declares the LORD.

Ephraim has surrounded me with lies,
and the house of Israel with deceit,
but Judah still walks with God
and is faithful to the Holy One.

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