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Thursday, February 23, 2023

Cameron Estate Mansion and Inn in Lancaster County PA
On our walk west of our home we enjoy strolling the grounds of the stately Cameron Estate Mansion and Inn on Donegal Springs Road.

"Forgetting God"

Note: All this week we are considering gems from the book of Hosea who prophesied to the northern kingdom just prior to its destruction by the Assyrians about 2,700 years ago.

Message summary: Today we consider the worst kind of forgetfulness, these words spoken by God that paint such a sad, ungrateful picture, "Then they forgot Me".

Listen to our message on your audio player.

"But I have been the Lord your God ever since you came out of Egypt. You shall acknowledge no God but Me, no Savior except Me. I cared for you in the desert, in the land of burning heat. When I fed them, they were satisfied; when they were satisfied, they became proud; then they forgot me" (Hosea 13:4-6).

Wearing glasses on top of headYesterday I heard a story about a man who had forgotten where he had placed his wallet. He had a frustrating but fruitless search for it and had to leave for work without it. Only after getting to work did he discover it had been in his pocket all along. I've little doubt that some of our female readers can relate to that with trying to find their wallet in their "organizer" purses (at least that's what Brooksyne commented.)

However, I recall times I have searched for my sunglasses and then realized they had been on top of my head all along!

Forgetfulness is frustrating but it happens to people at all ages and for different reasons. Some contributing reasons would be carelessness, inattentiveness, busyness, memory weakness and of course the aging process, those "senior moments".

Bible teacher Stuart Strachan observes,

"One of humanity’s problems is forgetfulness. Forgetfulness can happen at multiple levels, from a simple problem of recall to a posture of hard-heartedness and disobedience toward the command-giver. When God deals with the people of Israel throughout the Old Testament, God does not merely say, “This is God.” Rather, we often read, “This is the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt.” It is a reminder, to a forgetful people (which we all are), what it is that God has done for us.

God gives us a variety of practices to remember. Sabbath, the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Each exists to remind us of some significant aspect of our faith and the God who created, redeemed, and sustains us each day. So the question for us to answer is, will we remember?"

Today let us consider the saddest type of forgetfulness, our Scripture portion ending with these most grievous words, "Then they forgot me". Although specifically dealing with the children of Israel, it is also a descriptive profile of people from every generation, including our own.

God spoke these familiar commands through Hosea:

"You shall acknowledge no God but Me." We have this foundational commandment consistently asserted through Scripture. The first of the Ten Commandments states, “You shall have no other gods before me" (Exodus 20:3).

"No Savior except me." God alone is our Savior, a fundamental teaching of Christianity but also a stumbling block in this age where many wrongly believe there are many ways to God. I consider a loved one we are seeking to bring to Christ who just cannot accept this. But Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6). Peter expressed this exclusivity in Acts 4:10, "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved." In the epistles Paul wrote, "For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus"  (1 Timothy 2:5).

"I cared for you in the desert, in the land of burning heat." Some 700 years after the 40 year wandering period in the desert Hosea alludes to this formative experience. These people had their history drilled into them. How much do we know about what happened to our ancestors 700 years ago! 

Hosea 13:6"When I fed them, they were satisfied." He is speaking of God's provision of manna, a reminder that God cares for us and has abundantly fed us (spiritually and physically).

Satisfaction is generally a blessing related to contentedness but but we must always remember the Source of all good things and continue to "praise God from whom all blessings flow".

"When they were satisfied, they became proud." This satisfaction leads to pride when the source of blessing is centered on self rather than God. And such pride leads to the worst kind of forgetfulness.

"Then they forgot me." These words spoken by God paint such a sorrowful, ungrateful picture, "Then they forgot Me". This is sure a caution for believers in our own generation isn't it!

Wherever you've come from, whatever you've received or accomplished, give all the glory to God. Never forget – anything that we are and anything that we receive is because of God's abundant goodness and His amazing grace!

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen and Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Loving Father, from Your generous hands flows every good and precious gift. We receive physical, material, relational, and spiritual blessings that far surpass our daily needs. We acknowledge that You are the one and only true God, and the only way to the Father is through Jesus Christ Your Son and our Savior. We give You glory for all that we are and all that we hope to be. We must always focus upward, not inward nor around us, lest we forget You or the prize for which You have called us heavenward in Christ Jesus. Be glorified in and through us so that we walk in humility and express thanksgiving to You. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"To God be The Glory"  Video  Reawaken Hymns

"This Is My Song"  Video   Church on the Move

Brooksyne's Note:  On the way to choir last night this song was playing on the radio, and I wish I could have just pulled over and listened to it because it is truly a song of worship, the kind you gotta close your eyes, raise your hands and shut out everything around you. It stirred such memories of that first love with Christ as it alludes to many of the old songs of the faith we sang as children. The hymns I had sung for years suddenly came alive because I sang the lyrics in a personal way. You will enjoy hearing this wonderful, thoughtful song that will help you remember that which you may forget along the way. Here's a challenge for old-timers or should I say long-timers:  See how many hymn lines or titles you can count in this song. I will do the same later today and we'll compare the number we come up with. If you wanna have fun submit your total number with the lines you've selected. I won't cheat by looking at yours first!

I remember those melodies
Those words we sang
When I first believed
Songs of redemption
Stories of hope
Heaven awakened
Inside my soul

In Christ alone
My solid
Amazing grace
How sweet the sound
On that rugged cross
Jesus paid it all
Because He lives
This is my song

Peace like a river
Love so divine
Those words kept singing
Through the darkest nights
Sweet hymns of freedom
Anthems of praise
Remind my heart
To trust His name

This is my story
This is my song
Praising my savior
all the day long
Blessed assurance
Glory divine
Jesus is mine

"Thank You Jesus for the Blood"  Video  Charity Gayle  A very moving song we sang in our church service this last Lord's Day! A great reminder at Communion.

Phil, a friend of ours, share this insight based on yesterday's message:

A farmer friend made a few points regarding sowing & reaping many years ago that I will always remember:
  •     We reap what we sow
  •     We reap more than we sow
  •     We reap later than we sow
A point on this that I always make. We reap based on what we sow and get it later. So when we decide to do right, we will still be reaping from the bad that we sowed. Therefore it may look like nothing will change and we could get discouraged. If we decide to sow wickedness, we will still be reaping some from our good and it may look like there was no harm in my poor decision and be deceived.

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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