Thanks Be To God…for Jesus

5 01 2012

DAY TWO HUNDRED AND THREE : Hosea 6 v. 1 – 7 v. 16; Romans 7 v. 7 – 25; Psalm 88 v. 9b – 18

HOSEA
Israel Unrepentant – the call is for Israel to return to the Lord, after all the destruction, ‘He will heal us…He will bind up our wounds…He will revive us..He will restore us…Let us acknowledge the Lord…He will come to us like spring rains’
In return, though, Ephraim and Judah have a love which is like the early dew which disappears quickly. God brings destruction upon them because of their disloyalty and disobedience. ‘I killed you with the words of my mouth.’
‘For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings’
They have been like Adam – breaking the covenant, and being unfaithful.
Gilead is singled out as a city of wicked people. The priests are singled out as a band of ambushing marauders.
‘I have seen a horrible thing in the house of Israel…Ephraim’s prostitution and Israel defiled’
Although Judah is also under God’s spotlight, it is Israel which is being charged with
– crimes of deceit, theft, robbing
‘Their sins engulf them; they are always before me.’
– the kings and princes are impressed / delighted with the wickedness and sin
– adultery is rife
– the princes drink too much, and the king joins them in smouldering passions (like a hot oven devouring rulers with its flaming fire)
– Ephraim has mixed too much with other nations, such that foreigners sap its strength
– Israel does not return to the Lord, or even search for Him
‘Ephraim is like a dove, easily deceived and senseless’, turning instead to Egypt and Assyria for help
– God will catch them like birds in nets, as they fly, straying from Him
‘I long to redeem them, but they speak lies against me.
– they wail and mourn, but don’t cry out to God anymore
‘I trained them and strengthened them, but they plot evil against me’
– they will fall by the sword and be ridiculed in Egypt because of their insolence

ROMANS
Struggling With Sin – Paul is not saying that the ‘law is sin’, but that the law informs us about sin, sets the boundaries, and highlights sin.
‘Sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of covetous desire. For apart from law, sin is dead.’
The commandment which was meant to bring life, actually brought death.
‘The law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good’.
The commandment produces ‘death in me’, sin twists even what is good, and makes it as death.
The law is only possible if you live the spiritual life – the naturally sinful life experiences only the impossibility of the law.
‘For what I want to do I do not do; but what I hate I do….it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.’
‘For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing.’
There is an inner battle going on, and Paul knows that ‘evil is right there with me’.
There is a war on! Something / someone ‘making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members’.
Paul cries out for a saviour, someone to help him in this struggle.
‘Thanks be to God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!’

He, alone, makes all things possible.

PSALM
My Lord, my God, I cry out to You, I lift my hands to You, every day

Do You occupy Yourself with the dead? Do the dead respond to You?

(pause for reflection)

Does the grave know Your loving faithfulness, or just Destruction?
Does the darkness know Your right and glorious deeds, or just Oblivion?

My Lord, my God, I cry out to You,
from first thing in the morning.
‘Help me!’
But it feels like You’ve rejected me, turned away from me.

It’s been like this since I was young:
I have been sick to the point of death
I have suffered, been terrified, and despaired
I have felt the full force of Your anger, Your terrible destruction
I have experienced drowing in the flood of it all
I have lost my companions and loved ones
My best friend now is Darkness.

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