Hosea 7

Vs. 1, “whenever I would heal Israel, the sins of Ephraim are exposed and the crimes of Samaria revealed. They practice deceit, thieves break into houses, bandits rob in the streets.”  Question: What is the problem?  The sins of Israel’s leaders have brought sorrow upon the whole nation.  The whole political and religious system was corrupt and Israel’s priests were even involved in murder (Hosea 6:9).  Sadly, the Northern Kingdom did not have one good King.  And to make matters worse, they were making alliances with pagan nations (vs. 11).  This is a sad chapter because we see the sadness of what sin can do to a people who do not desire to turn to God (vs. 13-16).

Regarding application…Reality of Sin.  Vs. 2, “but they do not realize that I remember all their evil deeds. Their sins engulf them; they are always before me.”  Part of the problem we have here is that people don’t want to be reminded and told they are sinners.  Seriously…who wants to be accused and called a sinner.  This is the sad reality of it all is that so many rebel from the truth (John 14:6).  Salvation cannot come to anyone unless they admit they are a sinner.   Dearest brothers and sisters in Christ, oh how I wish we were now in Heaven.  How I wish this journey of life never had a river to cross, an obstacle to hurdle, and that is prowling like a lion.   I’m reminded of the scene from Lord of the Rings when Frodo helplessly states, “I wish the ring had never come to me.” Question: Isn’t that so true with our own lives?  How we wish tough times and sin never had it’s affect upon us.  Gandalf replies, “So do all who to live see such times, but that is not for them to decide.  All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”  Our life is a vapor in the wind, here today and gone tomorrow.  Brothers and sisters…don’t give up.  Don’t let sin entangle and seep out the hope that we have.  Remember the bigger picture of life and that is to be a light to this world.  We are called to remain steadfast in our faith and share Christ wherever He sends us.  Let that be your reminder and encouragement.  The Lord Jesus loves you more than you can imagine, so let your heart rest in Him.

II Peter 2

Vs. 1, “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves.”  We should never underestimate the danger of false teachers.  Please note: Keep in mind that a false teacher is not a person who teaches false doctrine out of ignorance.  Throughout history, many great teachers over time have and do hold different interpretations to minor matters…but false teachers are professed believers who know the truth but who deliberately teach lies in the hope of promoting themselves or getting financial gain from their followers.  But we know God will ultmately condemn them for their selfish greed.  I like the fact that Peter doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to this very serious topic.

Regarding application…Sad Reality.  Vs. 21, “It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.”   Pastor John Vernon McGee would once say after his sermons…“Friends, if you came in here today unsaved and you walk out of here unsaved, I am the worst enemy that you have ever had, because you have heard the gospel and you can never go into the presence of God and tell Him that you have never heard the gospel. You have heard it, and it will be worse for you when God pronounces judgment than for any heathen in the darkest part of the earth today.”

This reminds me of Judas Iscariot…Jesus would say it would have been better if Judas had never been born.  This is different from those of us who know what is right, but the flesh is weak.  These are people who deliberately strive to hurt the church and all that it has worked for.  Let us be discerning children of God so we can not only keep from being duped…but also help others be able to keep from following such false teachers.