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Friday, February 24, 2023
"Wise, Discerning and
Walking In Righteousness"
Message summary: 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. Today we examine the final verse and pray for each reader and also for ourselves, the messengers, that we will be Biblically wise, full of discernment and understanding so that we will walk righteously in the ways of the Lord.
Listen to our message on your audio player.
"Who is wise? Let them realize these things. Who is discerning? Let them understand. The ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them" (Hosea 14:9).
Last words are often very significant and can be a blessing from those who have lived by faith in Christ.
But not all live by faith in Christ. Thomas Paine, English-American writer and political pamphleteer, has these final words attributed to him— "I would give worlds, if I had them, if The Age of Reason* had never been published. O Lord, help me! Christ, help me! Stay with me! It is hell to be left alone!"
Today let us consider the powerful last words of Hosea (written in the Biblical book bearing his name). This is an epilogue or conclusion to his book, extracting the general moral lesson which underlies it all. The tone and language of it remind us of the Book of Proverbs.
"Who is wise? Let them realize these things." What are "these things"? Commentator Adam Clarke wrote,
"Those which relate to the backslidings, iniquity, and punishment of Israel; and to the mercy and kindness of God in their promised restoration. The things which belong to the work of sin in the heart; the things which belong to the work of grace in the soul; and particularly the things mentioned in this wonderful chapter."
Bible teacher David Guzik writes,
"The wise man will see the message throughout the Book of Hosea. He will understand that in His mercy, God offers a wonderful opportunity for repentance and restoration, and it is dangerous and foolish to neglect that invitation."
"Who is discerning? Let them understand." Discernment is the ability to properly discriminate or make determinations. It is related to wisdom. Being a discerning person is vitally important in light of all the deceptions we face in life, especially in the spiritual realm. Psalm 92:6 bluntly states, "Senseless people do not know, fools do not understand".
"The ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them." This is a timeless truism. The term ‘the righteous’ occurs nowhere else in Hosea. Even in the midst of promised judgment, the wise and understanding man sees that the ways of the LORD are right, and that every announcement of judgment is an invitation to repentance. That is still true today!
"But the rebellious stumble in them." They did so during Hosea's time and they still do today. The apostle Paul wrote, "But a natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned" (1 Corinthians 2:14).
Today we pray for each reader and also for ourselves, the messengers, that we will be Biblically wise, full of discernment and understanding so that we will walk righteously in the ways of the Lord.
Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)
Stephen and Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we thank You for the gift of discernment, a kind of wisdom that comes with spiritual insight, at times from learned experience and sometimes developed from prior mistakes or poor choices we've made in the past but after choosing to follow You and walk in Your ways we've learned the better way. Discernment comes from Your Holy Spirit that enables us to determine the true assessment of a situation, person, or opportunity. We can be wise in our understanding by having a healthy and respectful fear of You, for Your Word says, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom". Acknowledging that You are our Creator so You know what is best for us enables us in discerning good from evil, darkness from light, and so many other helpful insights all along the way that will help us to have greater understanding so that we make wise decisions. Amen.
* The Age of Reason and other writings of Thomas Paine advocated Deism, promoted reason and free-thought, and argued against institutionalized religions in general and the Christian doctrine in particular. When he died on June 8, 1809, only six people attended his funeral, as he had been ostracized for his ridicule of Christianity and attacks on the nation's leaders.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"This Is My Song" Video Church on the Move
We shared about this song yesterday. It's a modern song but alludes or quotes from older hymns. We shared the lyrics yesterday and wondered how many songs the songwriter referenced. Some readers found more than we did but here's our basic list:
In Christ alone my solid ground
Amazing grace how sweet the sound
On that (old) rugged cross
Jesus paid it all
Because He lives
Peace like a river
Love so divine (When I Survey the Wondrous Cross)
Glory divine, Hallelujah, Jesus is mine (Heavenly Sunlight)
Crossroads class teaching team
Yesterday we had the teaching and leadership team from our Adult Bible Fellowship class (Sunday School) over to our house for lunch followed by a meeting. Brooksyne instructed us to line up for a photo op before she would serve us our lunch. From the left: former missionary and Bible College teacher Don Alban, businessman and class leader Rick Kirby, yours truly, businessman and teacher leader Gordy Harrower, former minister of music Ross Weidman, and Dennis Shelley, former missionary to Nigeria. Quite a combination!
Yesterday we wrote a message about not forgetting God and received this interesting perspective from Ken, a longtime hospital and hospice chaplain, who lives in Kansas:
"As I read DE today, I am reminded and did pause to consider several times in which I have dealt with patients in the hospital or in hospice care who experience Alzheimer's disease or Dementia. While acknowledging that there are those times we forget our relationship with God, I always find it interesting to note that those with memory impaired conditions are, a lot of times, those who will be able to recite with me and their family dozens of Bible verses, The Lord's Prayer, The Shepherd's Psalm, and sing hymns that they had learned decades previously. Invariably I also have noticed that when they are able to do this they are able to smile while reciting or singing.
My ponderings on this dynamic are few but include:
1. It seems that the Lord has implanted a way for us to remain in relationship with Him even as our minds begin to fade.
2. Isn't it a marvelous Work of grace for these memories to be able to be accessed in the midst of disease and provide comfort to those in need.
3. One has to wonder, why we are unwilling to work at remembering these important elements of our walk with God and the gifts of which we are the recipients.
We have need to be more intentional about learning the written Word of God which leads us to actively experience the Living Word of God - The Lord Jesus Christ."
"Jesus Revolution" - I'm taking Brooksyne out this evening to see "Jesus Revolution", a movie based on the true story of the Jesus People who entered into the church setting, though unwelcome by many congregations in the 70's during the hippie era. Here's the trailer - Video
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