Day 202 of the Holy Bible One Year Challenge. The prophet, Hosea, buys Gomer back from slavery. Romans 6: We are Slaves to either Sin or to God.
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Hosea Buys Gomer Back From Slavery
3 Then the Lord said to me again, “Gomer has many lovers, but you must continue loving her. Do this because it is an example of the Lord’s love for Israel. He continues to love them, but they continue to turn to other gods, and they love to eat those raisin cakes.”
2 So I bought Gomer back for 6 ounces of silver and 9 bushels of barley. 3 Then I told her, “You must stay at home with me for many days. You will not be like a prostitute. You will not have sexual relations with another man. I will be your husband.”
4 In the same way the people of Israel will continue many days without a king or a leader. They will be without a sacrifice or a memorial stone. They will be without an ephod or a household god. 5 After this, the people of Israel will come back and look for the Lord their God and for David their king. In the last days they will come to honor the Lord and his goodness.
The Lord Is Angry Against Israel
4 People of Israel, listen to the Lord’s message. The Lord has something to say against those who live in this land: “The people in this land are not honest or loyal. They don’t really know God. 2 They are always cursing, lying, killing, stealing, and committing adultery. They murder one person after another. 3 So the country is like someone crying for the dead, and all of its people are weak. Even the animals of the field, the birds of the sky, and the fish in the sea are dying. 4 No one should argue or blame another person. Priests, my argument is with you! 5 You priests will fall in the daytime. And at night the prophet will also fall with you. I will also destroy your mother.
6 “My people are destroyed because they have no knowledge. You priests have refused to learn, so I will refuse to let you be priests for me. You have forgotten the law of your God, so I will forget your children. 7 They became proud. They sinned more and more against me, so I will change their honor to shame.
8 “The priests fed on the people’s sins. They wanted more and more of their sin offerings. 9 So the priests are no different from the people. I will punish them for the things they did. I will pay them back for the wrong things they did. 10 They will eat, but they will not be satisfied. They will commit sexual sins, but they will not have babies. This is because they left the Lord and became like prostitutes.
11 “Sexual sins, strong drink, and new wine ruin a person’s ability to think straight. 12 My people are asking pieces of wood for advice. They think those sticks will answer them! They have chased after those false gods like prostitutes and have left their own God. 13 They make sacrifices on the tops of the mountains and burn incense on the hills under oak trees, poplar trees, and elm trees. The shade under those trees looks nice. So your daughters lie under those trees like prostitutes, and your daughters-in-law commit sexual sins.
14 “I cannot blame your daughters or your daughters-in-law for doing this, because your men go and have sex with the temple prostitutes and offer sacrifices with them. This is how foolish people destroy themselves.
The Shameful Sins of Israel
15 “Israel, just because you act like a prostitute doesn’t mean that Judah should feel guilty too. People, don’t go to Gilgal or Beth Aven. Don’t use the Lord’s name to make promises. Don’t say, ‘As the Lord lives …!’ 16 The Lord has given many things to Israel. He is like a shepherd who takes his sheep to a large field with plenty of grass. But Israel is stubborn like a young cow that runs away again and again.
17 “Ephraim has joined his idols, so leave him alone. 18 Ephraim has joined their drunkenness. Let them continue to be prostitutes. Let them be with their lovers. 19 They went to those gods for safety, and they have lost their ability to think. Their altars will bring them shame.
The Leaders Cause Israel and Judah to Sin
5 “Priests, nation of Israel, and people in the king’s family, listen to me. You have been judged guilty!
“You were like a trap at Mizpah and like a net spread on the ground at Tabor. 2 You have done many evil things, so I will punish you all. 3 I know Ephraim. I know what Israel has done. Ephraim, right now you act like a prostitute. Israel is dirty with sin. 4 The people of Israel have done many evil things, and these evil things keep them from coming back to their God. They are always thinking of ways to chase after other gods. They don’t know the Lord. 5 Israel’s pride is a witness against them, so Israel and Ephraim will stumble in their sin. But Judah will also stumble with them.
6 “The leaders of the people went to look for the Lord. They took their sheep and cattle with them, but they did not find the Lord because he refused to accept them. 7 They have not been faithful to the Lord. Their children are from some stranger. And now, he will destroy them and their land again.
A Prophecy of Israel’s Destruction
8 “Blow the horn in Gibeah.
Blow the trumpet in Ramah.
Give the warning at Beth Aven.
The enemy is behind you, Benjamin.
9 Ephraim will become empty
at the time of punishment.
I, God, warn the families of Israel
that this really will happen.
10 The leaders of Judah are like thieves trying to steal someone’s property,
so I will pour out my anger on them like water.
11 Ephraim will be punished.
He will be crushed and pressed like grapes,
because he decided to follow filth.
12 I will destroy Ephraim as a moth eats a piece of cloth.
I will ruin Judah, like rot on a piece of wood.
13 Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah saw his wound,
so they went to Assyria for help.
They told their problems to the great king,
but he cannot heal you or cure your wound.
14 I will be like a lion to Ephraim,
like a young lion to the nation of Judah.
I—yes, I myself—will rip them to pieces.
I will carry them away,
and no one can save them.
15 I will go back to my place,
until the people admit they are guilty,
until they come looking for me.
Yes, in their trouble they will try very hard to find me.”
Slaves to What Is Right
15 So what should we do? Should we sin because we are under grace and not under law? Certainly not! 16 Surely you know that you become the slaves of whatever you give yourselves to. Anything or anyone you obey will be your master. You can follow sin, or you can obey God. Following sin will bring spiri- tual death. But obeying God will lead to being right with him. 17 In the past you were slaves to sin—sin controlled you. But thank God, you willingly obeyed all the teachings he led you to learn. 18 You were made free from sin, and now you are slaves to what is right. 19 I use this example from everyday life because you need help in understanding this spiritual truth. In the past you offered the parts of your body as slaves to your immoral and evil thoughts. The result was that you lived only for what was evil. In the same way, you must now offer yourselves as slaves to what is right. Then you will live only for God.
20 In the past you were slaves to sin, and you did not even think about do- ing right. 21 You did evil things, and now you are ashamed of what you did. Did those things make your life better? No, they only brought you death. 22 But
now you are free from sin. You have become slaves of God, and the result is that you live only for God. This will bring you eternal life. 23 When people sin, they earn what sin pays—death. But God gives his people a free gift—eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.
An Example From Marriage
Brothers and sisters, you all know something about the law. So surely
you know that the law rules over people only while they are alive. 2 It’s like what the law says about marriage: a woman must stay married to her husband as long as he is alive. But if her husband dies, she is made free from the law of marriage. 3 If she marries another man while her husband is still alive, the law says she is guilty of adultery. But if her husband dies, she is made free from the law of marriage. So if she marries another man after her husband dies, she is not guilty of adultery.
4 In the same way, my brothers and sisters, your old selves died and you be- came free from the law through the body of Christ. Now you belong to him, the one who was raised from death. We all belong to him so that we can be used in service to God. 5 In the past we were ruled by our sinful selves. The law made us want to do sinful things. And those sinful desires controlled our bodies, so what we did only brought us death. 6 In the past the law held us as prisoners, but our old selves died, and we were made free from the law. So we no longer serve God in the old way, with the written rules. Now we serve God in the new way, with the Spirit.
Lord God, you are my Savior.
I have been praying to you day and night.
2 Please pay attention to my prayers.
Listen to my prayers for mercy.
3 My soul has had enough of this pain!
I am ready to die.
4 People already treat me like a dead man,
like someone too weak to live.
5 Look for me among the dead,
like a body in the grave.
I am one of those you have forgotten,
cut off from you and your care.
6 You put me in that hole in the ground.
Yes, you put me in that dark place.
7 Your anger presses down on me like a heavy weight.
It’s like one wave after another pounding against me. Selah
8 You made my friends leave me.
They all avoid me like someone no one wants to touch.
Like a prisoner in my house, I cannot go out.
9 My eyes hurt from crying.
Lord, I pray to you constantly!
I lift my arms in prayer to you.
10 Do you do miracles for the dead?
Do ghosts rise up and praise you? No! Selah
11 The dead in their graves cannot talk about your faithful love.
People in the world of the dead cannot talk about your faithfulness.
12 The dead who lie in darkness cannot see the amazing things you do.
Those in the world of the forgotten cannot talk about your goodness.
13 Lord, I am asking you to help me!
Early each morning I pray to you.
14 Lord, why have you abandoned me?
Why do you refuse to listen to me?
15 I have been sick and weak since I was young.
I have suffered your anger, and I am helpless.
16 Your anger covers me like a flood.
Your attacks are killing me.
17 They surround me on every side.
I feel like a drowning man.
18 You caused my friends and loved ones to leave me.
Now darkness is my closest friend.
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