Sunday, August 7, 2011
Hosea Chapter 14
vs. 1-3- FINAL PLEA
- This last chapter is God's final plea. He's reminded the people of their past. What He's been to them. All the things He's done for them. All the times they needed Him and He came through. He's told them what their punishment will be if they continue on this path. And finally He's said “okay... if you want to leave me... have it your way. I'm not going to force you to love me...”
- And now... He's trying one last time to convince them to turn around before it's too late.
- “Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God, for your sins have brought you down. Bring your confessions, and return to the Lord. Say to Him, “Forgive all our sins and graciously receive us, so that we may offer You our praises. Assyria cannot save us, nor can our warhorses. Never again will we say to the idols we have made, “You are our gods.” No, in You alone do the orphans find mercy.”
- I think I've said before that God is the perfect gentleman. He doesn't force us into relationship with Him. Relationship with Him is a choice... an option... Our decision to make... He's calling out... begging us to come home...
- Malachi 3:6-18
- Jeremiah 4:1-6:30
- II Chronicles 30:6-9
- Job 22:1-30
vs. 4-7- PROMISE
- There's a quote I read a while ago that said something like “For every promise, there's a price to be paid.” (I can't remember who said it...)
- Do you realize that God made covenants and promises with people... knowing the price He'd have to pay? And yet He was forever faithful. No matter the cost... He's always true to His word.
- God said if the people would just return... He'd take them back with open arms...
- “... Then I will heal you of your faithlessness; my love will know no bounds, for my anger will be gone forever. I will be to Israel like a refreshing dew from heaven. Israel will blossom like the lily; it will send roots deep into the soil like the cedars in Lebanon. Its branches will spread out like beautiful olive trees, as fragrant as the cedars of Lebanon. My people will again live under my shade, They will flourish like grain and blossom like grapevines. They will be as fragrant as the wines of Lebanon.”
- If we just turn back! We will be new creations! New blossoms. New roots. New branches.
- Looking at those... it's the growth process. If we turn back... not only do we come back to safety and protection under God... but we will also be in a place of growth. New growing in Christ. Growing together and individually. As a tree has many roots that grow down deep and many branches that reach out in all directions...
- We will be bearing fruit. We will be “fragrant”. Sweet smelling. Attractive to others...
- Dad's sermon Sunday was on bearing fruit. Being a people of the Great Commission... going and seeking out the lost... and becoming more Christ-like. Bearing the Fruit of the Spirit.
- However... he brought up a point that I thought was pretty good... He said that it doesn't say that we are to bear FRUITS of the Spirit. There's just one fruit there. It's not like 9 kinds of the same apple... it's just one thing. So all nine of those (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) simultaneously in some level.
- Galatians 5:16-26
- Who doesn't want to be around someone who is loving. Or peaceful. Or kind. Or faithful....
- If we turn to God, turn from our sin, repent... then He promises to take us back... AND promises that we will grow in Him. And not only will we benefit from all of this... but so will everyone around us.
- Deuteronomy 28:1-30:20
- Hebrews 8:7-10:18
vs. 8-9- ONE LAST WARNING
- “O Israel, stay away from idols! I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from me.”
- But in order to grow and bear fruit... we have to stay away from the idols in our lives... again... maybe not a graven image... maybe a new car... maybe money... maybe the job... something that takes up more of your time than anything else.
- Our main focus is God. HE'S the One we should look to when we're in need. He's the One we should look to when we have problems. Or even when we're seeking something fulfilling... or something enjoyable...
- “I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from me.” God never runs out. He's always got more.
- This year our peach tree was LOADED with peaches. It was kind of a wet year... and there were peaches on every little branch everywhere on the tree. It was so heavy that the branches were bending down and touching the ground. And the peaches weren't even close to being ripe! They were just little hard green things... and the tree was already so heavy with them!
- God's full and overflowing with fruit. He's just waiting on us to want it. So... are you hungry?
- “ Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those with discernment listen carefully. The paths of the Lord are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. But in those paths sinners stumble and fall.”
- Ezekiel 3:16-21
- Romans 9
- John 1:1-14; 14