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photo credit: Antique Telephone via photopin (license)
photo credit: Antique Telephone via photopin (license)

They call to Egypt, they go to Assyria. - Hosea 7:11 NASB

Ephraim is the name given to Israel’s 10 tribes who left the Lord quickly after the nation split. These were people God had called to be His own. He wanted to be a king over them, but they walked away from Him.

Hosea wrote in the last days of the Northern Kingdom. They had prospered greatly for a period after the split from Judea. Hosea was the last prophet to speak to Israel (the Northern Kingdom was know by these three names in by the Old Testament writers - Israel, Ephraim and the Northern Kingdom) before Assyria came and took her captive. Their prosperity was waning, and God was giving them one last chance to repent and turn back to Him.

What strikes me today, is God’s desire simply to hear their voice.

His major indictment in chapter 7 of this short prophecy is that they did not call out to Him.

The chapter starts with God stating - “When I wanted to heal Israel…” (Hosea 7:1)

Then He lists some of there sins, and some of the problems they are facing.

Then in 7:7 He says, “…None of them calls on Me.

Check out these snippets:

Ephraim mixes himself with the nations… 7:8

Strangers devour his strength, Yet he does not know it… 7:9

…Yet they have not returned to the LORD their God,
Nor have they sought Him, for all this. 7:10

They call to Egypt, they go to Assyria. 7:11

And they do not cry to Me from their heart
When they wail on their beds… 7:14

The Lord Almighty is saddened by the way the ones He called, His chosen people, didn’t call upon His name, even in times of trouble. They call on the world, Egypt. They call on their enemies, those who would do them great harm, Assyria.

But, “None of them calls on Me.

It’s a clarion call for us to be like Seth the third son of Adam and Eve.

To Seth, to him also a son was born; and he called his name Enosh. Then men began to call upon the name of the LORD. - Genesis 4:26

Today would be a great day to call upon the name of the Lord.

Cry out to Him in your day of trouble.

Call upon Him in your day of prosperity with thanksgiving.

When you’re looking for business advice—don’t look to Egypt, look to the Lord.

When you want provision—don’t negotiate with Assyria, seek the face of Jesus.

cropped-BenHeadshot.jpgSelah

Ben

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It’s getting close to Christmas, and so like a good Christian I am mucking around in the Christmas story a bit. Don’t get me wrong. I love these passages. The incarnation is a huge deal!

Anyway, I’ve come across this reference and thought I'd dig around this a bit.

"OUT OF EGYPT I CALLED MY SON." - Matthew 2:15

I wanted to go back to the original prophecy. Now we know that God called His son Israel out of Egypt, and this idea is floated a few times in the scripture. But this quotes actually comes from  to Hosea, and this passage moved me.

When Israel was a youth I loved him,
And out of Egypt I called My son.
The more they called them,
The more they went from them;
They kept sacrificing to the Baals
And burning incense to idols.
Yet it is I who taught Ephraim to walk,
I took them in My arms;
But they did not know that I healed them.
I led them with cords of a man, with bonds of love,
And I became to them as one who lifts the yoke from their jaws;
And I bent down and fed them.

Hosea 11:1-4

Isn’t this beautiful?

Here’s the part that has pushing it’s way into my heart all day:

But they did not know that I healed them.

Psalm 107:20 says “I sent My Word and healed them.”

How sad.

Is true in the World today?

It’s been two thousand years since His stripes have healed all who would come. I don’t care if you take this healing as physical, spiritual, emotional, or how you see it. It is finished! And yet...

Men and women are living lives captive to sin.

Men and women are living lives with broken hearts.

Men and women are still dying without any hope.

Billions live as if the year were 2000 BC

Is true in the Church today?

But the really sad thing is how we Christians live as if we have not been healed.

As if we are still under the curse of sin.

As if we don’t have any hope of living the life He’s called us to.

As if we could not obey Him if we tried.

As if He is angry with us everyday.

As if we were still under the curse.

…they didn’t know I healed them.

If you are in Christ today - you are a new creation - saved, deliver, healed and free to worship, love and  serve the One who says of you… [please add your name and read this aloud - really it will help]

When ________ was a youth I loved him/her,
And out of Egypt [the world] I called My son/daughter.

Yet it is I who taught _________ to walk,
I took _________ in My arms;
But he/she did not know that I healed him/her.
I led _________ with cords of a man, with bonds of love,
And I became to __________ as one who lifts the yoke from their jaws;
And I bent down and fed _________.

I feel better now - how about you?

nora and papa at the table, benThanks for stopping by.

Have a blessed holiday.

Ben

I have to tell you, it’s another Red Letter Day today and I want to talk with you about some pretty serious Red letters. Jesus said:

But go and learn what this means: ‘I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT SACRIFICE,’

He was at a reception at the house of His new friend and follower Matthew. The place was crawling with the lowest of the low in the day’s Jewish economy.

When the Pharisees begin complaining about this He gives them this quote from the prophet Hosea to think about. Here is His full comment:

It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: 'I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT SACRIFICE,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners." ~ Matthew 9:12-13

To tell a Pharisee “go and learn” is quite a slap in the face. These are the men who have spent their life learning. These are the scholars of the day. As I understand it they were required to memorize most, if not all of what we call the Old Testament, certainly all of the books of Moses.

These men knew the law, and kept it. When God demanded 1 tenth of their increase, they would apply it right down to mint leaves, and cumin seeds, one for God and nine for me.

But they did not have compassion.

You see righteousness man’s way leads to a rigid and judgmental heart. When we define a relationship with God in terms of the keeping of the Law, we end up with a system that is always comparing.

A system based on who makes the biggest sacrifice leave everyone a loser. The one who has the least to give feels worthless, the one in the middle falls short, and the one on the top gets puffed up with pride.

A system based on compassion on the other hand makes everyone a winner. If you dare to open your heart to those around you, you will find that your offering of love may take empower the recipient and the giver.

When I say offering, I am not necessarily talking about a money offering.

What does compassion give?

Friendship
Shelter
Protection
Equipping
Resources

What would you add to the list?

Let’s get free of this stinking sacrificial system. The sacrifice has been made – Jesus – once and for all. Our job is to LOVE, to have Compassion and Mercy, to offer Grace.

Ben NelsonLearn what that means!

See you again soon

Ben

Peaceable Kingdom - Edward Hicks

Deborah asks:

I have a question for tomorrow studying Hosea 2. Do you think that verse 18 is not only referring to the natural but also the spiritual realm of warfare?

shalom, shalom

Deborah

Wow Deborah!

What a great question.

I have to say, as I have said before, I am not a scholar by any means.

Here is the text Deborah is asking about – with a little bit extra on either side.

And it will come about in that day,” declares the LORD, “That you will call Me Ishi And will no longer call Me Baali. For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, So that they will be mentioned by their names no more. In that day I will also make a covenant for them With the beasts of the field, The birds of the sky, And the creeping things of the ground. And I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land, And will make them lie down in safety. And I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and in justice, In lovingkindness and in compassion, ~ Hosea 2:16-19

When I read this, I am thinking we are talking as yet unfulfilled prophecy. This is not something that I believe has come to pass as yet.

The Lord is pointing to a day in the future. What is sometimes called the Peaceable kingdom.

So Deborah’s question is does this mean actual animals at peace with one another, some cessation of spiritual warfare, or I might add a third choice – both.

Generally speaking I don’t hold strongly to any one view of end times at this point. I have just not studied it enough to be convinced one way or another. Actually, my problem may be the opposite of that. I was convinced, and then I studied from a different point of view and was convinced again – and then --- well you get the idea. There are many ways to read these scriptures.

So will there be a time in heaven or on earth when wars will cease and animals will get along.

Yep, I believe so.

I get the sense that was the case in the garden with Adam and Eve, which was an expression of a time with men and no sin. There was however that old serpent even then, stirring things up.

There are other accounts (2 in Isaiah – Ch 11 and 65) where the animals are getting along.

I love that this talk of peace is sandwiched in bridal language – Vs 16 – you will call me man not master – or perhaps  - husband not master. And in vs 19 – I will betroth you to me forever.

One more thing for you all to ponder. I am a firm believer in breaking through dispensations.

What I mean by breaking through dispensations is doing like the Syrophonecian woman did with Jesus, where He said, "I can’t heal the gentile dog because at this time I am here for the Jews." (really loose paraphrase therefore not in red)

She was like – I want it now – I can’t wait for the cross – my daughter is going to kill herself before that – and she would not take no for an answer.

How is it with you. Are you hoping for a day of peace? Spiritual – Natural – Political? Pull it forward – press in – Ask Seek Knock and not just a little. Knock for all our are worth.

Ben NelsonHappy Friday

Have a great day

Ben