“Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces; now he will heal us. He has injured us; now he will bandage our wounds. In just a short time he will restore us, so that we may live in his presence. Oh, that we might know the Lord! Let us press on to know him. He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring.” Hosea 6:1-3 NLT
When I first read these passages I thought that Israel was making a true change to return to the Lord. But, Israel wanted God to fix their problems, without turning from their wicked ways. Their repentance wasn’t genuine. They were more interested in the material benefits God could provide. Their hearts were not right before him and he knew it. When have I done the same thing?
“I want to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings.” Hosea 6:6 NLT
“I want to heal Israel, but it’s sins are too great. Samaria is filled with liars.” Hosea 7:1 NLT
God didn’t want their sacrifices or rituals, he wanted their hearts. What is the motive behind my worship?
“What sorrow awaits those who have deserted me! Let them die, for they have rebelled against me. I wanted to redeem them, but they have told lies about me. They do not cry out with sincere hearts.” Hosea 7:13&14 NLT
Dear Father, Forgive me for when my heart is not right before you. Thank you for your patience with me. For not giving up on me. For your grace & mercy. Amen.
“They look everywhere except to the Most High. They are as useless as a crooked bow.” Hosea 7:16 NLT
“As for you, O people of Israel, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Go right ahead and worship your idols, but sooner or later you will obey me and will stop bringing shame on my holy name by worshiping idols. For on my holy mountain, the great mountain of Israel, says the Sovereign Lord, the people of Israel will someday worship me, and I will accept them.” Ezekiel 20:39&40 NLT
I was listening to a podcast where the man was talking about how the church he was pastoring at turned into his identity. When God called him to leave it, he didn’t know who he was anymore. Even this can become an idol. What idols do I need to strip away so Jesus is all I need?
“When I bring you home from exile, you will be like a pleasing sacrifice to me. And I will display my holiness through you as the nations watch. Then when I have brought you home to the land I promised with a solemn oath to give to your ancestors, you will know I am the Lord.” Ezekiel 20:41&42 NLT
When my heart is right before the Lord, I can humbly serve him. He will get the glory.
“You will know that I am the Lord, O people of Israel, when I have honored my name by treating you mercifully in spite of your wickedness. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!” Ezekiel 20:44 NLT
Thank you Father for your mercy. I desire a heart that serves you out of knowing that I am your daughter first. Than I am free to bless others with the gifts you have given me. Amen.
“So do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant; do not be dismayed, Israel,” says the Lord. “For I will bring you home again from distant lands, and your children will return from their exile. Israel will return to a life of peace and quiet, and no one will terrorize them. For I am with you and will save you,” says the Lord. Jeremiah 30:10&11 NLT
In their bondage, God asked the Israelites to seek Him wholeheartedly. And He promised to listen to their prayers. Lord, help me not to give into fear. Give me the faith to rise above my circumstances. Help me to remember that You are with me.
“This is what the Lord says: “When I bring Israel home again from captivity and restore their fortunes, Jerusalem will be rebuilt on its ruins, and the palace reconstructed as before. There will be joy and songs of thanksgiving, and I will multiply my people, not diminish them; I will honor them, not despise them.” Jeremiah 30:18-19 NLT
What am I allowing to hold me captive that I need to ask the Lord to free me from? Fear, worry…it can be a daily surrender to give those back to the Lord.
“Long ago the Lord said to Israel: “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself. I will rebuild you, my virgin Israel. You will again be happy and dance merrily with your tambourines.” Jeremiah 31:3-4 NLT
Dear Father, I am holding onto Your promises. Forgive me when I turn to other things. I can be so forgetful. I trust in You. I am grateful for Your promise to restore. You are good. Your goodness pursues me. Amen.
“About that time Hezekiah became deathly ill. “This is what the Lord says: ‘Set your affairs in order, for you are going to die. You will not recover from this illness.” When Hezekiah heard this, he turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, “Remember, O Lord, how I have always been faithful to you and have served you single-mindedly, always doing what pleases you. “This is what the Lord, the God of your ancestor David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tear… I will add fifteen years to your life” Isaiah 38:1-5 NLT
Hezekiah was so bold to pray that prayer. He knew that God had more for him to do. Am I praying courageous prayers in faith? Or has the enemy got me so discouraged that I don’t?
“Only the living can praise you as I do today. Each generation tells of your faithfulness to the next. Think of it-the Lord is ready to heal me! I will sing his praises with instruments every day of my life in the Temple of the Lord.” Isaiah 39:19&20 NLT
I think about times when the Lord has answered my prayers and I journal about His faithfulness. And my faith is strengthened. But, I can also get forgetful. Did Hezekiah know that he would get discouraged to? That’s why he took the time to write his story? And he wanted the Lord to get the glory for what He did in his life, for generations to come?
“Listen! It’s the voice of someone shouting. “Clear the way through the wilderness for the Lord! Make a straight highway through the wasteland for our God! Fill in the valleys, and level the mountains and hills. Straighten the curves, and smooth out the rough places. Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all the people will see it together. The Lord has spoken!” Isaiah 40:3-4 NLT
Dear Lord, thank you that you are a God of restoration and redemption. Thank you for your grace. Thank you that you still perform miracles today. Even if the healing doesn’t come, you are still good. You are sovereign. I trust You. Amen.
“Look up into the heavens. Who created all the stars? He brings them out like an army, one after another, calling each by its name. Because of his great power and incomparable strength, not a single one is missing.” Isaiah 49:26 NLT
Filed under Isaiah, 66 Books
“My child, eat honey, for it is good, and the honeycomb is sweet to the taste. In the same way, wisdom is sweet to your soul. If you find it, you will have a bright future, and your hopes will not be cut short.” Proverbs 24:13&14 NLT
I think about the little old lady who sits near me at church. Her face seems to exude wisdom, shining from her soul. I see her raising her hands in worship and wonder what her story is. She has a quiet trust about her. I am thankful for the wisdom of Christians who are farther along in their walk with the Lord than me. For their example and faith.
“A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls.” Proverbs 25:28 NLT
What am I letting into my soul that might be causing me to lack self-control?
“Timely advice is lovely, like golden apples in a silver basket. To one who listens, valid criticism is like a gold earring or other gold jewelry. Trustworthy messengers refresh like snow in the summer. They revive the the spirit of their employer.” Proverbs 25:12-14 NLT
Lord, give me discernment to know when to offer advice. As well as to listen when someone offers criticism. I think of all the times I have been too easily offended. Help me to keep my heart open to hear what You might be saying through a trusted friend or mentor.
“The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.” Proverbs 27:9 NLT
Dear Father, Thank you that I can pray for wisdom and you will freely give it. Thank for for your Holy Spirit who counsels me in all things. Amen.