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Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Amish horse and buggy
This Amish buggy is not only being pulled by literal horsepower but appears to being pushed as well. Is it similar to a towing truck pulling a vehicle?

"When Sin Pays"

Message summary: Let us seek to always align our motives with that which honors God.

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"The more priests there were, the more they sinned against me; they exchanged their glorious God for something disgraceful. They feed on the sins of my people and relish their wickedness" (Hosea 4:7,8).

There are stories and videos of nationally known televangelists flaunting their wealth and bragging about their mansions, airplanes and other examples of their self-perceived success. It's hard for us to believe men like this have a large following but they do. But this is  not new. There have always been those who profit from religion.

Today we consider those who profit from sin. Sin indeed can be profitable in the indeterminate short-term and for some the short-term doesn't end till death when they will most certainly find out sin does not pay in the long-term. In fact the wages of sin is always death (spiritual separation from God).

Today's first text is a gem Brooksyne brought to my attention while reading Hosea, a book that can be a rather hard read. In the book Hosea is describing Israel's many sins and calling the people to repentance.

This text follows the passage shared yesterday from Hosea 4:6, "my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge". The verse continues to explain the priests had rejected knowledge and ignored the law of God and thus God rejected them as priests.

But apparently the people still saw them as legitimate priests thus the following verse (v.7) states, "The more priests there were, the more they sinned against me."

What a sad result of having more priests! The priestly role of the Old Testament is similar (but not identical) to ministers in the New Testament and through the church age. You would expect the more priests the less the people would sin but God had rejected them and now they were using their priestly role as a pretext for greed.

God-honoring priests and ministers should be reminding people of the consequences of sin and stressing living in obedience to God, but these priests "ignored the law of your God" (v.6).

The priests during this apostate time made a very bad exchange, "they exchanged their glorious God for something disgraceful". What was this disgrace?

"They feed on the sins of my people and relish their wickedness." Another version renders the text this way, "When the people bring their sin offerings, the priests get fed. So the priests are glad when the people sin!"

A similar expression of ministerial greed in the New Testament are the false teachers Paul wrote about in 1 Timothy 6:5 "who think that godliness is a means to financial gain". Another version render it, "they imagine that religion is a road to riches".

He follows this with these instructive words, "But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs" (1 Timothy 6:6-10).

The application for all of us, but especially ministers, is to always align our motives with that which honors God.

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen and Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, how it must grieve Your heart to see those in spiritual roles seeking personal benefit from the sins of the people they serve, so much so, that they relish in the wickedness of their own people as spoken of by the prophet Hosea in chapter four. Though we more often judge leaders by their actions, You judge them by their motives as well. Nothing in all creation is hidden in Your sight, but everything is uncovered and laid bare before Your eyes to whom they must give an account; You see all things, including the thoughts in their mind and affections of their heart. Our spiritual leaders not only serve on behalf of their people, but on behalf of You, Almighty God. May they be faithful and honorable in doing so in Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

Weber couple photo 7/3/22
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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