Leviticus 27

Vs. 28, “But nothing that a person owns and devotes to the Lord—whether a human being or an animal or family land—may be sold or redeemed; everything so devoted is most holy to the Lord.”  It might be strange to have the book of Leviticus that speaks of God’s holiness end on vows/promises. The vow system was setup so that a person could substitute money for that which was given in dedication to God; this could be a person, animal, and property.  Another important aspect about vows is that they were entirely voluntary.  If a person felt much appreciation to the LORD or wanted to sacrifice something to help support the priests, this vow system was in place.  In our society today, we make many promises we might make in desperation, but never end up keeping.  However, voluntary vows were not something a person could just change their mind.  If a person could not fulfill the vow at that time, they had to give the priest the equivalent in money plus twenty percent more.  The evaluation of people was not based on any prejudice, but whether or not that person if devoted to the temple could have contributed towards productive work.

Regarding application…Keep Your Promises.  I’m reminded of this old movie I saw as a kid called the The End with Burt Reynolds.  As I remember it, Burt Reynolds character has incurable cancer and wants to commit suicide by drowning himself in the ocean. He is in a psychiatric hospital because people have learned about this and put him there to protect him from himself. Another patient is Dom DeLuise (I probably did not spell that right!). Reynolds makes a pact with his buddy that if he chickens out, his buddy will kill him. None of that is the part to laugh about.  But when Burt Reynolds gets way out deep in the water, planning to swim until he is worn out and cannot make it back, he thinks of his daughter and changes his mind and wants to live for her. He prays to God and promises that he will give him some ridiculous percentage of his assets if he helps him get back to shore, tired as he is, something like 50%. As he gets closer to shore and his feet touch the bottom for the first time, he cuts it to 40%. Closer in it gets to 30, 20, 10%. As he stumbles out onto the shore, he promises God that he will have to “drop in to see him sometime.” Then DeLuise jumps out from behind a rock with a big butcher knife and chases Reynolds down the shore, with Reynolds yelling: “80%, 80 %!”

Hosea 4

Vs. 1 “Hear the word of the LORD, you Israelites, because the LORD has a charge to bring against you who live in the land: “There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land.”  Question: What is going on here?  The example of Hosea’s relationship with Gomer is now coming to light with Israel.  Israel is being charged by God as if they were in a court of law.  The increase of sin is bringing a breakdown of morality over the land.  Notice also how the LORD’s charge gets more specific and directed towards the supposed leaders of Isarel; the priests (vs. 4-14).  The spiritual leaders have a huge impact.  But Israel’s leaders were leading the charge towards immorality.  This was a time in Israel where there was relative peace.  King Jeroboam II was reigning and the priesthood was increasing.  However, just like in Jesus’ day, there was corruption in the sacrificial system and priests were profiting (vs. 7-11).  As the prophecies of judgment came forth by Hosea, all he saw was the continued stubborn responses of hardened hearts (vs. 16).

Regarding application…Knowing God.  Vs. 6a, “…my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge…”  There is much talk of the declining education system in America these days.  But I would contend there is a much steeper decline in the church education system.  I commend the church for we are doing a wonderful job in sharing the Gospel and bringing people to church.  But it seems we stop at the point of salvation.  John Mitchell, founder of Multnomah Bible College, coined his famous question, “Don’t you folks ever read your Bibles?”  Just like in Hosea’s time, we are in a period where we lack the knowledge of God.  We know more about Algebra, English Lit, Entertainment, sports, technology, cars, etc…than we do about the Living Word of God!  Brothers & Sisters, this should not be.  That is why I try to encourage each of you daily the importance of growing in your knowledge of God!  Question: How can you live out a genuine faith if you are not spending time knowing God?  It would be like me never spending time with my wife, but telling others I really do have one.  Open your heart and let God’s word change and renew you to a deeper walk with Him!

Hosea 3

Vs. 1 “The LORD said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the LORD loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.”  Lost in this narrative is the raw emotion that must have been going on in Hosea’s heart.  Sure, Hosea had a right to divorce and leave Gomer.  Though, Jesus mentioned divorce was permissible due to unfaithfulness only because of our own hardened hearts (Mark 10:5).  Hosea goes to find Gomer and it’s interesting because it looks like she was owned by another man.  This man might have sold her to other men for a profit.  At first, Gomer might have enjoyed this lifestyle free from a husband and her children.  However even listen to present day prostitutes and they live a very sad life of regret.  This is an amazing picture of love and grace Hosea would extend to his estranged wife.  Also, don’t forget about the imagery of the LORD’s love for His people!

Regarding application…Bought at a Price.  Vs. 2, “So I bought her for fifteen shekelsof silver and about a homer and a lethek of barley.”  Hosea bought Gomer from a life of prostitution and in many ways a life of slavery.  She was a slave to sin and the price Hosea bought her at would have been close to that of a female slave.  This of course brings a reminder that we too were bought at a price (I Cor. 6:20).  Gomer was bought and turned back to her husband with love.  We too are bought and have an opportunity to turn back to Jesus.  Paul later tell us not to live as slaves of men (I Cor. 7:23).  Since we were paid and bought with such a high price, it’s time to take our faith and put it into action!  Turn to Jesus today!