Day 206 of the Holy Bible One Year CHALLENGE. Hosea asks Israel to beg God for mercy. Romans 9: God and the Jewish People
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Ephraim is wasting its time; Israel “chases the wind” all day long. The people tell more and more lies and steal more and more. They have made agreements with Assyria, and they are carrying their olive oil to Egypt.
2 The LORD also has a complaint against Judah.
He will soon punish the descendants of Jacob for the way they live.
They will pay for the bad things they have done.
3 Even before Jacob was born,
he tried to cheat his brother.† And when he became a man, he fought with God.
4 Jacob wrestled with God’s angel and won.
Then, crying, he asked for a blessing. There at Bethel he met God,
and there God spoke to us.
5 This was the LORD God All-Powerful. His name is YAHWEH.
6 So come back to your God; look to him for help.
Always act in love
and do what is right.
Always depend on God!
7 “Jacob’s people are like a clever merchant,
who uses dishonest scales. They love to cheat.
8 Israel says, ‘I am rich!
I have made myself wealthy!
And I did it without anyone seeing me cheat.
No one can say I did wrong.’
9 “But I am the LORD your God,
the same one who freed you from Egypt. Now I will make you live in tents,
as you do during the Festival of Shelters.
10 I am the one who spoke to the prophets
and gave them many visions.
I gave them many ways to warn you.”
11 But the people in Gilead have ruined themselves
with their wicked ways.
And in Gilgal the people sacrifice bulls. Their altars will look like the stones piled up by a ploughed field.
12 Our ancestor Jacob ran away to Aram.
There he§ worked to get a wife.
He took care of sheep to pay for her.
13 Later, the LORD used a prophet to lead his people** out of Egypt,
and by that prophet he kept them safe.
14 But the people of Israel have made the Lord very angry,
so he will punish them for their crimes. They must pay for insulting him.
The Lord Accuses Israel
The tribe of Ephraim made itself very important in Israel.
When they spoke, the other tribes shook with fear.
But the people of Ephraim sinned by worshipping Baal,
which was their ruin.
2 Now they sin more and more
by making silver idols to worship.
Skilled workers design and make these idols,
then tell the people to offer sacrifices to them.
They tell the people
to kiss those calf-shaped idols!
3 So they will soon vanish like the morning mist,
like the dew that disappears at dawn.
They will be like chaff blown from the threshing floor,
like smoke out of a window.
4 “I have been the LORD your God since the time you were in Egypt.
I am the only God you have ever known. I am the only one who can save you.
5 I took care of you in the desert,
in that land so hot and dry.
6 I gave you food,
and you ate all you wanted. But when you were full,
you became proud and forgot me.
7 So now I will attack you like a lion;
like a leopard, I will hide and wait for you by the road.
8 I will attack you like a bear robbed of
and I will rip you open.
Like a lion or other wild animal,
I will tear you to pieces and eat you up.
Israel Cannot Escape
9 “Israel, I am ready to destroy you,
and I am the only one who can help you.
10 Where is your king?
Can he save any of your cities?
Where are the leaders you asked for when you said, ‘give us a king and leaders’?
11 I gave you a king, but only out of anger,
and when I became even more angry, I took him away.
12 “Israel cannot erase their guilt.
A list of their sins has been stored away for the future.
13 Pain will come to them,
like that of a woman giving birth.
But they are like a baby who doesn’t know
that it is time to be born and will not come out.
14 “Should I save them from the grave?
Should I rescue them from death? No, I will not show them mercy. Come, death, bring your sickness!
Come, grave, bring your power to destroy!
15 Israel is like a healthy plant in the tall
grass by the water,
but a hot east wind will blow from the desert,
a wind from the LORD.
And it will dry up their springs and wells.
It will take away everything of value they have stored.
16 The people of Israel* must be punished because they have turned against their
They will be killed in war.
Their children will be bashed to pieces, and their pregnant women will be ripped open.”
Return to the Lord
Israel, return to the LORD your God.
Your sin made you fall.
2 So come back to the LORD,
and be ready to say these words to him: “Take away all our sin.
Accept these sincere words of ours. We offer you a sacrifice of praise.
3 Assyria cannot save us.
War horses cannot help us.
We will never again say, ‘You are our gods’
to something we made with our hands.
You alone are the one
who shows mercy to orphans.”
4 The LORD says: “My people were unfaithful,
but I will make things right again.
I will show them my love without limit, because I have stopped being angry.
5 Like a refreshing dew, I will bring bless-
ing to Israel.
My people will blossom like the lily
and grow strong like the cedar trees of Lebanon.
6 They will be as beautiful as an olive tree
with branches spreading in all directions.
They will be as pleasant
as a sweet-smelling forest in Lebanon.
7 My people will again live under my protection.
They will grow like a crop of grain. They will blossom like a vine.
They will be as famous as the wine of Lebanon.
8 “Israel, there is no need for idols.
I am the one who answers your prayers and takes care of you.
I am like an evergreen tree.
Your blessings come from me.”
9 If you are wise, you will understand these things.
If you are smart, you will pay attention to them.
The LORD’s ways are right. Good people follow his ways,
but sinners stumble and fall in them.
God and the Jewish People
I speak to you now as one who be- longs to Christ. So you can be sure I am not lying. My conscience, ruled by the Holy Spirit, agrees that what I say now is true: 2 my heart is filled with sorrow and pain that never ends 3 because of my own people. They are my brothers and sisters, my earthly family. I wish I could help them. I would even be willing to suffer the curse of being cut off from Christ if that would help them. 4 They are the people of Israel, God’s chosen children. They have the glory of God and the agreements he made between himself and his people. God gave them the Law of Moses, the Temple worship and his promises. 5 They are the descendants of our great ancestors, and they are the earthly family of the Messiah,‡ who is God over all things. Praise him forever! Amen.
6 I don’t mean that God failed to keep his promise to the Jewish people. But only some of the people of Israel are really God’s people. 7 And only some of Abraham’s children are his true descendants. This is what God said to Abra- ham: “Your true descendants will be those who come through Isaac.”† 8 This means that not all of Abraham’s descendants are true children of God. Abra- ham’s true descendants are those who become God’s children because of the promise he made to Abraham. 9 Here is what God said in that promise: “About this time next year I will come back, and Sarah will have a son.”
10 And that is not all. Something like
that also happened to Rebecca after she became pregnant with twin sons by the same father, our ancestor Isaac. 11–12 Yes, before the two sons were born, God told Rebecca, “The older son will serve the younger.”¶ This was before the boys had done anything good or bad. God said this before they were born so that the boy he wanted would be chosen because of God’s own plan. This boy was chosen because he was the one God wanted to call, not because of anything the boys did. 13 As the Scriptures say, “I loved Jacob, but I hated Esau.”
14 So does this mean that God is not
fair? Certainly not! 15 God said to Moses, “I will show mercy to anyone I want to show mercy to. I will show pity to anyone I choose.” 16 So God will choose to show mercy to anyone he wants, and his choice does not depend on what people want or how well they run the race. 17 In the Scriptures God says to Pharaoh,
“I made you king for this reason: to show my power through you. I wanted my name to be announced throughout the world.”†† 18 So God shows mercy to those he wants to show mercy to and makes stubborn those he wants to make stubborn.
19 So you will ask me, “If God controls what we do, why does he blame us for our sins?” 20 Don’t ask that. You are only human and have no right to ques- tion God. A clay jar does not question the one who made it. It does not say, “Why did you make me like this?” 21 The one who makes the jar can make anything he wants. He uses the same clay to make different things. He might make one thing for special purposes and an- other for daily use.
9 You rule the stormy sea
and calm its angry waves.
10 You defeated the sea monster Rahab.
You scattered your enemies with your own powerful arm.
11 Everything in heaven and earth belongs to you.
You made the world and everything in it.
12 You created everything north and south.
Mount Tabor and Mount Hermon sing praises to your name.
13 You have the power!
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