Daily Devotional

by Larry Stockstill

Major storms and hurricanes have what are called steering currents. These currents keep the storms moving in a certain direction. Without the steering currents, the storms would be far more dangerous than they are.

Your life also gets out of control if you lack spiritual steering currents. Jude reveals that the first steering current is praying in the Holy Spirit. This kind of praying builds up your inner man and keeps your faith strong.

The second spiritual guideline is living in God's love. Jude says to

"live in such a way that God's love can bless you as you wait for the eternal life that our Lord Jesus Christ in his mercy is going to give you" (v. 21). If you can continually stay in the center of the love of God, you will be able to wait patiently for God's mercy to bring you to eternal life.

The third steering current is reaching out to others by obeying the command to "rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment" (v. 23). To focus continually on soul winning will keep you off the reefs and rocks of life. All your energy will be directed toward what God loves: souls!

Prayer, love, and outreach will steer you well, even when the ship of your life seems to be off course. If you let these "steering currents" guide your life, one day you will stand before God "innocent of sin and with great joy" (v. 24).

Hosea 10:1-14:9

10 Israel was a spreading vine;S Eze 15:2

he brought forth fruit for himself.

As his fruit increased,

he built more altars;S 1Ki 14:23

as his land prospered,Hos 13:15

he adorned his sacred stones.Hos 3:4; S 4:7; S 8:11; 12:11

Their heart is deceitful,1Ki 18:21

and now they must bear their guilt.Hos 13:16

The Lord will demolish their altarsver 8

and destroy their sacred stones.Mic 5:13

Then they will say, “We have no king

because we did not revere the Lord.

But even if we had a king,

what could he do for us?”

They make many promises,

take false oathsS Hos 4:2

and make agreements;S Eze 17:19; Am 5:7

therefore lawsuits spring up

like poisonous weedsAm 6:12 in a plowed field.

The people who live in Samaria fear

for the calf-idolS Ex 32:4; S Isa 44:17-20 of Beth Aven.Beth Aven means house of wickedness (a derogatory name for Bethel, which means house of God).ver 8; S Hos 5:8

Its people will mourn over it,

and so will its idolatrous priests,S 2Ki 23:5; Zep 1:4

those who had rejoiced over its splendor,

because it is taken from them into exile.S Jdg 18:17-18; S Hos 8:5; S 9:1, 3, 11

It will be carried to AssyriaS 2Ki 16:7; Hos 11:5

as tributeS Jdg 3:15 for the great king.S Hos 5:13

Ephraim will be disgraced;Isa 30:3; S Hos 4:7

Israel will be ashamedJer 48:13 of its foreign alliances.

Samaria’s king will be destroyed,ver 15; Hos 13:11

swept away like a twig on the surface of the waters.

The high placesS Eze 6:6 of wickednessHebrew aven, a reference to Beth Aven (a derogatory name for Bethel); see verse 5.S ver 5; 1Ki 12:28-30; S Hos 4:13 will be destroyed—

it is the sin of Israel.

ThornsS Hos 9:6 and thistles will grow up

and cover their altars.ver 2; S Isa 32:13

Then they will say to the mountains, “Cover us!”S Job 30:6; Am 3:14-15

and to the hills, “Fall on us!”Am 7:9; Lk 23:30*; Rev 6:16

“Since the days of Gibeah,S Hos 5:8 you have sinned,S Jos 7:11 Israel,

and there you have remained.Or there a stand was taken

Will not war again overtake

the evildoers in Gibeah?

10 When I please, I will punishS Eze 5:13; S Hos 4:9 them;

nations will be gathered against them

to put them in bonds for their double sin.

11 Ephraim is a trained heifer

that loves to thresh;

so I will put a yokeS Jer 15:12; S 31:18

on her fair neck.

I will drive Ephraim,

Judah must plow,

and Jacob must break up the ground.

12 SowS Ecc 11:1 righteousnessS Pr 11:18; Jas 3:18 for yourselves,

reap the fruit of unfailing love,

and break up your unplowed ground;Jer 4:3

for it is time to seekS Isa 19:22; Hos 12:6 the Lord,

until he comes

and showers his righteousnessS Isa 45:8 on you.

13 But you have planted wickedness,

you have reaped evil,S Job 4:8; S Hos 7:3; 11:12; Gal 6:7-8

you have eaten the fruit of deception.S Pr 11:18; S Hos 8:7

Because you have depended on your own strength

and on your many warriors,Ps 33:16

14 the roar of battle will rise against your people,

so that all your fortresses will be devastatedS Isa 17:3; Mic 5:11

as ShalmanS 2Ki 17:3 devastated Beth Arbel on the day of battle,

when mothers were dashed to the ground with their children.S Isa 13:16; Hos 13:16

15 So will it happen to you, Bethel,

because your wickedness is great.

When that day dawns,

the king of Israel will be completely destroyed.S ver 7

God’s Love for Israel

11 “When Israel was a child,S Jer 2:2; S Eze 16:22 I lovedS Dt 4:37 him,

and out of Egypt I called my son.S Ex 4:22; Hos 12:9, 13; 13:4; Mt 2:15*

But the more they were called,

the more they went away from me.Septuagint; Hebrew themver 7

They sacrificed to the BaalsS Hos 2:13

and they burned incense to images.S 2Ki 17:15; Isa 65:7; S Jer 18:15; S Hos 4:13; 13:1

It was I who taught Ephraim to walk,

taking them by the arms;S Dt 1:31; S 32:11; Hos 7:15

but they did not realize

it was I who healedS Ex 15:26; Jer 30:17 them.

I led them with cords of human kindness,

with ties of love.Jer 31:2-3

To them I was like one who lifts

a little child to the cheek,

and I bent down to feedEx 16:32; Ps 78:25 them.Jer 31:20

“Will they not return to EgyptS Hos 7:16

and will not AssyriaS Hos 10:6 rule over them

because they refuse to repent?S Ex 13:17

A swordHos 13:16 will flash in their cities;

it will devourS La 2:9 their false prophets

and put an end to their plans.

My people are determined to turnS Isa 26:10 from me.ver 2; Jer 3:6-7; 8:5

Even though they call me God Most High,

I will by no means exalt them.

“How can I give you up,S Jer 7:29 Ephraim?Hos 6:4

How can I hand you over, Israel?

How can I treat you like Admah?

How can I make you like Zeboyim?S Ge 14:8; S La 3:32

My heart is changed within me;

all my compassionS 1Ki 3:26; S Ps 25:6 is aroused.S Eze 33:11; Am 7:3

I will not carry out my fierce anger,Dt 13:17; S Jer 18:8; S 30:11

nor will I devastateLa 3:22; Mal 3:6 Ephraim again.

For I am God, and not a manS Nu 23:19

the Holy OneS 2Ki 19:22; S Isa 31:1 among you.

I will not come against their cities.

10 They will follow the Lord;

he will roarS Isa 42:13 like a lion.S Isa 31:4

When he roars,

his children will come tremblingS Ps 18:45 from the west.S Hos 3:5; S 6:1-3

11 They will come from Egypt,

trembling like sparrows,

from Assyria,S Isa 11:11 fluttering like doves.S Ge 8:8

I will settle them in their homes,”S Eze 28:26; S 34:25-28

declares the Lord.

Israel’s Sin

12 Ephraim has surrounded me with lies,S Hos 4:2

Israel with deceit.

And Judah is unruly against God,

even against the faithfulS Dt 7:9 Holy One.In Hebrew texts this verse (11:12) is numbered 12:1.S Hos 10:13

12 In Hebrew texts 12:1-14 is numbered 12:2-15.EphraimS Ps 78:67 feeds on the wind;S Ge 41:6; S Eze 17:10

he pursues the east wind all day

and multiplies lies and violence.S Hos 4:19; S 7:1

He makes a treaty with AssyriaHos 5:13; S 7:11

and sends olive oil to Egypt.S 2Ki 17:4

The Lord has a chargeS Job 10:2; Mic 6:2 to bring against Judah;Am 2:4

he will punishS Ex 32:34 JacobJacob means he grasps the heel, a Hebrew idiom for he takes advantage of or he deceives. according to his ways

and repay him according to his deeds.S Hos 4:9; S 9:15

In the womb he grasped his brother’s heel;Ge 25:26

as a man he struggledGe 32:24-29 with God.

He struggled with the angel and overcame him;

he wept and begged for his favor.

He found him at BethelS Ge 12:8; S 35:15

and talked with him there—

the Lord God Almighty,

the Lord is his name!S Ex 3:15

But you must returnS Isa 19:22; Jer 4:1; Joel 2:12 to your God;

maintain love and justice,S Ps 106:3; S Jer 22:3

and wait for your God always.S Eze 18:30; Hos 6:1-3; 10:12; Mic 7:7

The merchant uses dishonest scalesS Lev 19:36; Am 8:5

and loves to defraud.

Ephraim boasts,S Eze 28:5

“I am very rich; I have become wealthy.Ps 62:10; Rev 3:17

With all my wealth they will not find in me

any iniquity or sin.”

“I have been the Lord your God

ever since you came out of Egypt;Lev 23:43; S Hos 2:15; S 11:1

I will make you live in tentsS Ne 8:17 again,

as in the days of your appointed festivals.

10 I spoke to the prophets,

gave them many visions

and told parablesS Jdg 14:12; S Eze 20:49 through them.”2Ki 17:13; Jer 7:25

11 Is Gilead wicked?S Hos 6:8

Its people are worthless!

Do they sacrifice bulls in Gilgal?S Hos 4:15

Their altars will be like piles of stones

on a plowed field.S Hos 8:11

12 Jacob fled to the country of AramThat is, Northwest Mesopotamia;Ge 28:5

Israel served to get a wife,

and to pay for her he tended sheep.S Ge 29:18

13 The Lord used a prophet to bring Israel up from Egypt,S Hos 11:1

by a prophet he cared for him.Ex 13:3; 14:19-22; Isa 63:11-14

14 But Ephraim has aroused his bitter anger;

his Lord will leave on him the guilt of his bloodshedS Eze 18:13

and will repay him for his contempt.Da 11:18

The Lord’s Anger Against Israel

13 When Ephraim spoke, people trembled;Jdg 12:1

he was exaltedS Jdg 8:1 in Israel.

But he became guilty of Baal worshipS Hos 11:2 and died.

Now they sin more and more;

they makeJer 44:8 idols for themselves from their silver,S Isa 46:6; S Jer 10:4

cleverly fashioned images,

all of them the work of craftsmen.Hos 14:3

It is said of these people,

“They offer human sacrifices!

They kissOr “Men who sacrifice / kiss1Ki 19:18 calf-idols!S Isa 44:17-20; S Hos 8:4

Therefore they will be like the morning mist,

like the early dew that disappears,S Hos 6:4

like chaffS Job 13:25; Ps 1:4; S Isa 17:13 swirling from a threshing floor,Da 2:35

like smokePs 68:2 escaping through a window.

“But I have been the Lord your God

ever since you came out of Egypt.S Jer 2:6; S Hos 12:9

You shall acknowledgeS Hos 2:20 no God but me,S Ex 20:3

no SaviorS Dt 28:29; Ps 18:46; Isa 43:11; 45:21-22 except me.

I cared for you in the wilderness,S Dt 1:19

in the land of burning heat.

When I fed them, they were satisfied;

when they were satisfied, they became proud;S Eze 28:5

then they forgotS Dt 32:18; S Isa 17:10 me.Dt 32:12-15; S Pr 30:7-9; S Jer 5:7; S Hos 2:13; S 4:7

So I will be like a lionS Job 10:16; S Jer 4:7 to them,

like a leopard I will lurk by the path.

Like a bear robbed of her cubs,2Sa 17:8

I will attack them and rip them open;

like a lionS 1Sa 17:34; Ps 17:12 I will devour them—

a wild animal will tear them apart.Ps 50:22; S La 3:10; S Hos 2:12

“You are destroyed, Israel,

because you are against me,Jer 2:17-19 against your helper.S Dt 33:29

10 Where is your king,2Ki 17:4; Hos 7:7 that he may save you?

Where are your rulers in all your towns,

of whom you said,

‘Give me a king and princes’?1Sa 8:6; Hos 8:4

11 So in my anger I gave you a king,S Nu 11:20

and in my wrath I took him away.S Jos 24:20; S 1Sa 13:14; S 1Ki 14:10; Hos 3:4; S 10:7

12 The guilt of Ephraim is stored up,

his sins are kept on record.S Dt 32:34

13 Pains as of a woman in childbirthIsa 13:8; Mic 4:9-10 come to him,

but he is a child without wisdom;

when the time2Ki 19:3 arrives,

he doesn’t have the sense to come out of the womb.Isa 66:9

14 “I will deliver this people from the power of the grave;S Ps 16:10; 49:15; S Eze 37:12-13

I will redeem them from death.S Isa 25:8

Where, O death, are your plagues?

Where, O grave, is your destruction?1Co 15:55*

“I will have no compassion,

15 even though he thrivesS Hos 10:1 among his brothers.

An east windS Job 1:19; S Eze 19:12; S Hos 4:19 from the Lord will come,

blowing in from the desert;

his spring will fail

and his well dry up.S Jer 51:36

His storehouse will be plunderedJer 20:5

of all its treasures.

16 The people of Samaria2Ki 17:5 must bear their guilt,Hos 10:2

because they have rebelledS Hos 7:14 against their God.

They will fall by the sword;Hos 11:6

their little ones will be dashedS 2Ki 8:12; S Hos 10:14 to the ground,

their pregnant women2Ki 15:16; Isa 13:16; Am 1:13 ripped open.”In Hebrew texts this verse (13:16) is numbered 14:1.

Repentance to Bring Blessing

14 In Hebrew texts 14:1-9 is numbered 14:2-10.Return,S Isa 19:22; S Jer 3:12 Israel, to the Lord your God.

Your sinsS Hos 4:8 have been your downfall!S Hos 5:5; S 9:7

Take words with you

and return to the Lord.

Say to him:

“ForgiveS Ex 34:9 all our sins

and receive us graciously,Ps 51:16-17; Mic 7:18-19

that we may offer the fruit of our lips.Or offer our lips as sacrifices of bullsHeb 13:15

Assyria cannot save us;S Hos 5:13

we will not mount warhorses.Ps 33:17; S Isa 31:1; Mic 5:10

We will never again say ‘Our gods’Hos 8:6

to what our own hands have made,ver 8; Hos 13:2

for in you the fatherlessPs 10:14; 68:5; Jer 49:11 find compassion.”

“I will healS Isa 30:26; S Hos 6:1 their waywardnessS Jer 2:19

and love them freely,S Isa 55:1; Jer 31:20; Zep 3:17

for my anger has turned awayS Job 13:16 from them.

I will be like the dewS Ge 27:28; S Isa 18:4 to Israel;

he will blossom like a lily.S SS 2:1

Like a cedar of LebanonIsa 35:2

he will send down his roots;Job 29:19

his young shoots will grow.

His splendor will be like an olive tree,Ps 52:8; S Jer 11:16

his fragrance like a cedar of Lebanon.S Ps 92:12; S SS 4:11

People will dwell again in his shade;Ps 91:1-4

they will flourish like the grain,

they will blossomS Ge 40:10 like the vine—

Israel’s fame will be like the wineS Hos 2:22 of Lebanon.S Eze 17:23

Ephraim, what more have IOr Hebrew; Septuagint What more has Ephraim to do with idols?S ver 3

I will answer him and care for him.

I am like a flourishing juniper;S Isa 37:24

your fruitfulness comes from me.”

Who is wise?S Ps 107:43 Let them realize these things.

Who is discerning? Let them understand.S Pr 10:29; S Isa 1:28; Da 12:10

The ways of the Lord are right;Ps 111:7-8; Zep 3:5; Ac 13:10

the righteous walkIsa 26:7 in them,

but the rebellious stumble in them.

The Lord’s Judgment against Israel

10 How prosperous Israel is—

a luxuriant vine loaded with fruit.

But the richer the people get,

the more pagan altars they build.

The more bountiful their harvests,

the more beautiful their sacred pillars.

The hearts of the people are fickle;

they are guilty and must be punished.

The Lord will break down their altars

and smash their sacred pillars.

Then they will say, “We have no king

because we didn’t fear the Lord.

But even if we had a king,

what could he do for us anyway?”

They spout empty words

and make covenants they don’t intend to keep.

So injustice springs up among them

like poisonous weeds in a farmer’s field.

The people of Samaria tremble in fear

for their calf idol at Beth-aven,Beth-aven means “house of wickedness”; it is being used as another name for Bethel, which means “house of God.”

and they mourn for it.

Though its priests rejoice over it,

its glory will be stripped away.Or will be taken away into exile.

This idol will be carted away to Assyria,

a gift to the great king there.

Ephraim will be ridiculed and Israel will be shamed,

because its people have trusted in this idol.

Samaria and its king will be cut off;

they will float away like driftwood on an ocean wave.

And the pagan shrines of Aven,Aven is a reference to Beth-aven; see 10:5a and the note there. the place of Israel’s sin, will crumble.

Thorns and thistles will grow up around their altars.

They will beg the mountains, “Bury us!”

and plead with the hills, “Fall on us!”

The Lord says, “O Israel, ever since Gibeah,

there has been only sin and more sin!

You have made no progress whatsoever.

Was it not right that the wicked men of Gibeah were attacked?

10 Now whenever it fits my plan,

I will attack you, too.

I will call out the armies of the nations

to punish you for your multiplied sins.

11 “IsraelHebrew Ephraim, referring to the northern kingdom of Israel. is like a trained heifer treading out the grain—

an easy job she loves.

But I will put a heavy yoke on her tender neck.

I will force Judah to pull the plow

and IsraelHebrew Jacob. The names “Jacob” and “Israel” are often interchanged throughout the Old Testament, referring sometimes to the individual patriarch and sometimes to the nation. to break up the hard ground.

12 I said, ‘Plant the good seeds of righteousness,

and you will harvest a crop of love.

Plow up the hard ground of your hearts,

for now is the time to seek the Lord,

that he may come

and shower righteousness upon you.’

13 “But you have cultivated wickedness

and harvested a thriving crop of sins.

You have eaten the fruit of lies—

trusting in your military might,

believing that great armies

could make your nation safe.

14 Now the terrors of war

will rise among your people.

All your fortifications will fall,

just as when Shalman destroyed Beth-arbel.

Even mothers and children

were dashed to death there.

15 You will share that fate, Bethel,

because of your great wickedness.

When the day of judgment dawns,

the king of Israel will be completely destroyed.

The Lord’s Love for Israel

11 “When Israel was a child, I loved him,

and I called my son out of Egypt.

But the more I called to him,

the farther he moved from me,As in Greek version; Hebrew reads the more they called to him, the farther he moved from them.

offering sacrifices to the images of Baal

and burning incense to idols.

I myself taught IsraelHebrew Ephraim, referring to the northern kingdom of Israel; also in 11:8, 9, 12. how to walk,

leading him along by the hand.

But he doesn’t know or even care

that it was I who took care of him.

I led Israel along

with my ropes of kindness and love.

I lifted the yoke from his neck,

and I myself stooped to feed him.

“But since my people refuse to return to me,

they will return to Egypt

and will be forced to serve Assyria.

War will swirl through their cities;

their enemies will crash through their gates.

They will destroy them,

trapping them in their own evil plans.

For my people are determined to desert me.

They call me the Most High,

but they don’t truly honor me.

“Oh, how can I give you up, Israel?

How can I let you go?

How can I destroy you like Admah

or demolish you like Zeboiim?

My heart is torn within me,

and my compassion overflows.

No, I will not unleash my fierce anger.

I will not completely destroy Israel,

for I am God and not a mere mortal.

I am the Holy One living among you,

and I will not come to destroy.

10 For someday the people will follow me.

I, the Lord, will roar like a lion.

And when I roar,

my people will return trembling from the west.

11 Like a flock of birds, they will come from Egypt.

Trembling like doves, they will return from Assyria.

And I will bring them home again,”

says the Lord.

Charges against Israel and Judah

12 Verse 11:12 is numbered 12:1 in Hebrew text.Israel surrounds me with lies and deceit,

but Judah still obeys God

and is faithful to the Holy One.Or and Judah is unruly against God, the faithful Holy One. The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.

12 Verses 12:1-14 are numbered 12:2-15 in Hebrew text.The people of IsraelHebrew Ephraim, referring to the northern kingdom of Israel; also in 12:8, 14. feed on the wind;

they chase after the east wind all day long.

They pile up lies and violence;

they are making an alliance with Assyria

while sending olive oil to buy support from Egypt.

Now the Lord is bringing charges against Judah.

He is about to punish JacobJacob sounds like the Hebrew word for “deceiver.” for all his deceitful ways,

and pay him back for all he has done.

Even in the womb,

Jacob struggled with his brother;

when he became a man,

he even fought with God.

Yes, he wrestled with the angel and won.

He wept and pleaded for a blessing from him.

There at Bethel he met God face to face,

and God spoke to himAs in Greek and Syriac versions; Hebrew reads to us.

the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies,

the Lord is his name!

So now, come back to your God.

Act with love and justice,

and always depend on him.

But no, the people are like crafty merchants

selling from dishonest scales—

they love to cheat.

Israel boasts, “I am rich!

I’ve made a fortune all by myself!

No one has caught me cheating!

My record is spotless!”

“But I am the Lord your God,

who rescued you from slavery in Egypt.

And I will make you live in tents again,

as you do each year at the Festival of Shelters.Hebrew as in the days of your appointed feast.

10 I sent my prophets to warn you

with many visions and parables.”

11 But the people of Gilead are worthless

because of their idol worship.

And in Gilgal, too, they sacrifice bulls;

their altars are lined up like the heaps of stone

along the edges of a plowed field.

12 Jacob fled to the land of Aram,

and there heHebrew Israel. See note on 10:11b. earned a wife by tending sheep.

13 Then by a prophet

the Lord brought Jacob’s descendantsHebrew brought Israel. See note on 10:11b. out of Egypt;

and by that prophet

they were protected.

14 But the people of Israel

have bitterly provoked the Lord,

so their Lord will now sentence them to death

in payment for their sins.

The Lord’s Anger against Israel

13 When the tribe of Ephraim spoke,

the people shook with fear,

for that tribe was important in Israel.

But the people of Ephraim sinned by worshiping Baal

and thus sealed their destruction.

Now they continue to sin by making silver idols,

images shaped skillfully with human hands.

“Sacrifice to these,” they cry,

“and kiss the calf idols!”

Therefore, they will disappear like the morning mist,

like dew in the morning sun,

like chaff blown by the wind,

like smoke from a chimney.

“I have been the Lord your God

ever since I brought you out of Egypt.

You must acknowledge no God but me,

for there is no other savior.

I took care of you in the wilderness,

in that dry and thirsty land.

But when you had eaten and were satisfied,

you became proud and forgot me.

So now I will attack you like a lion,

like a leopard that lurks along the road.

Like a bear whose cubs have been taken away,

I will tear out your heart.

I will devour you like a hungry lioness

and mangle you like a wild animal.

“You are about to be destroyed, O Israel—

yes, by me, your only helper.

10 Now where isAs in Greek and Syriac versions and Latin Vulgate; Hebrew reads I will be. your king?

Let him save you!

Where are all the leaders of the land,

the king and the officials you demanded of me?

11 In my anger I gave you kings,

and in my fury I took them away.

12 “Ephraim’s guilt has been collected,

and his sin has been stored up for punishment.

13 Pain has come to the people

like the pain of childbirth,

but they are like a child

who resists being born.

The moment of birth has arrived,

but they stay in the womb!

14 “Should I ransom them from the graveHebrew Sheol; also in 13:14b.?

Should I redeem them from death?

O death, bring on your terrors!

O grave, bring on your plagues!Greek version reads O death, where is your punishment? / O grave [Hades], where is your sting? Compare 1 Cor 15:55.

For I will not take pity on them.

15 Ephraim was the most fruitful of all his brothers,

but the east wind—a blast from the Lord

will arise in the desert.

All their flowing springs will run dry,

and all their wells will disappear.

Every precious thing they own

will be plundered and carried away.

16 Verse 16 is numbered 14:1 in Hebrew text.The people of Samaria

must bear the consequences of their guilt

because they rebelled against their God.

They will be killed by an invading army,

their little ones dashed to death against the ground,

their pregnant women ripped open by swords.”

Healing for the Repentant

14 Verses 14:1-9 are numbered 14:2-10 in Hebrew text.Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God,

for your sins have brought you down.

Bring your confessions, and return to the Lord.

Say to him,

“Forgive all our sins and graciously receive us,

so that we may offer you our praises.As in Greek and Syriac versions, which read may repay the fruit of our lips; Hebrew reads may repay the bulls of our lips.

Assyria cannot save us,

nor can our warhorses.

Never again will we say to the idols we have made,

‘You are our gods.’

No, in you alone

do the orphans find mercy.”

The Lord says,

“Then I will heal you of your faithlessness;

my love will know no bounds,

for my anger will be gone forever.

I will be to Israel

like a refreshing dew from heaven.

Israel will blossom like the lily;

it will send roots deep into the soil

like the cedars in Lebanon.

Its branches will spread out like beautiful olive trees,

as fragrant as the cedars of Lebanon.

My people will again live under my shade.

They will flourish like grain and blossom like grapevines.

They will be as fragrant as the wines of Lebanon.

“O Israel,Hebrew Ephraim, referring to the northern kingdom of Israel. stay away from idols!

I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you.

I am like a tree that is always green;

all your fruit comes from me.”

Let those who are wise understand these things.

Let those with discernment listen carefully.

The paths of the Lord are true and right,

and righteous people live by walking in them.

But in those paths sinners stumble and fall.

10 Israel is an empty vine, he bringeth forth fruit unto himself: according to the multitude of his fruit he hath increased the altars; according to the goodness of his land they have made goodly images.

Their heart is divided; now shall they be found faulty: he shall break down their altars, he shall spoil their images.

For now they shall say, We have no king, because we feared not the Lord; what then should a king do to us?

They have spoken words, swearing falsely in making a covenant: thus judgment springeth up as hemlock in the furrows of the field.

The inhabitants of Samaria shall fear because of the calves of Bethaven: for the people thereof shall mourn over it, and the priests thereof that rejoiced on it, for the glory thereof, because it is departed from it.

It shall be also carried unto Assyria for a present to king Jareb: Ephraim shall receive shame, and Israel shall be ashamed of his own counsel.

As for Samaria, her king is cut off as the foam upon the water.

The high places also of Aven, the sin of Israel, shall be destroyed: the thorn and the thistle shall come up on their altars; and they shall say to the mountains, Cover us; and to the hills, Fall on us.

O Israel, thou hast sinned from the days of Gibeah: there they stood: the battle in Gibeah against the children of iniquity did not overtake them.

10 It is in my desire that I should chastise them; and the people shall be gathered against them, when they shall bind themselves in their two furrows.

11 And Ephraim is as an heifer that is taught, and loveth to tread out the corn; but I passed over upon her fair neck: I will make Ephraim to ride; Judah shall plow, and Jacob shall break his clods.

12 Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.

13 Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity; ye have eaten the fruit of lies: because thou didst trust in thy way, in the multitude of thy mighty men.

14 Therefore shall a tumult arise among thy people, and all thy fortresses shall be spoiled, as Shalman spoiled Betharbel in the day of battle: the mother was dashed in pieces upon her children.

15 So shall Bethel do unto you because of your great wickedness: in a morning shall the king of Israel utterly be cut off.

11 When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.

As they called them, so they went from them: they sacrificed unto Baalim, and burned incense to graven images.

I taught Ephraim also to go, taking them by their arms; but they knew not that I healed them.

I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love: and I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their jaws, and I laid meat unto them.

He shall not return into the land of Egypt, and the Assyrian shall be his king, because they refused to return.

And the sword shall abide on his cities, and shall consume his branches, and devour them, because of their own counsels.

And my people are bent to backsliding from me: though they called them to the most High, none at all would exalt him.

How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? how shall I deliver thee, Israel? how shall I make thee as Admah? how shall I set thee as Zeboim? mine heart is turned within me, my repentings are kindled together.

I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim: for I am God, and not man; the Holy One in the midst of thee: and I will not enter into the city.

10 They shall walk after the Lord: he shall roar like a lion: when he shall roar, then the children shall tremble from the west.

11 They shall tremble as a bird out of Egypt, and as a dove out of the land of Assyria: and I will place them in their houses, saith the Lord.

12 Ephraim compasseth me about with lies, and the house of Israel with deceit: but Judah yet ruleth with God, and is faithful with the saints.

12 Ephraim feedeth on wind, and followeth after the east wind: he daily increaseth lies and desolation; and they do make a covenant with the Assyrians, and oil is carried into Egypt.

The Lord hath also a controversy with Judah, and will punish Jacob according to his ways; according to his doings will he recompense him.

He took his brother by the heel in the womb, and by his strength he had power with God:

Yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed: he wept, and made supplication unto him: he found him in Bethel, and there he spake with us;

Even the Lord God of hosts; the Lord is his memorial.

Therefore turn thou to thy God: keep mercy and judgment and wait on thy God continually.

He is a merchant, the balances of deceit are in his hand: he loveth to oppress.

And Ephraim said, Yet I am become rich, I have found me out substance: in all my labours they shall find none iniquity in me that were sin.

And I that am the Lord thy God from the land of Egypt will yet make thee to dwell in tabernacles, as in the days of the solemn feast.

10 I have also spoken by the prophets, and I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes, by the ministry of the prophets.

11 Is there iniquity in Gilead? surely they are vanity: they sacrifice bullocks in Gilgal; yea, their altars are as heaps in the furrows of the fields.

12 And Jacob fled into the country of Syria, and Israel served for a wife, and for a wife he kept sheep.

13 And by a prophet the Lord brought Israel out of Egypt, and by a prophet was he preserved.

14 Ephraim provoked him to anger most bitterly: therefore shall he leave his blood upon him, and his reproach shall his Lord return unto him.

13 When Ephraim spake trembling, he exalted himself in Israel; but when he offended in Baal, he died.

And now they sin more and more, and have made them molten images of their silver, and idols according to their own understanding, all of it the work of the craftsmen: they say of them, Let the men that sacrifice kiss the calves.

Therefore they shall be as the morning cloud and as the early dew that passeth away, as the chaff that is driven with the whirlwind out of the floor, and as the smoke out of the chimney.

Yet I am the Lord thy God from the land of Egypt, and thou shalt know no god but me: for there is no saviour beside me.

I did know thee in the wilderness, in the land of great drought.

According to their pasture, so were they filled; they were filled, and their heart was exalted; therefore have they forgotten me.

Therefore I will be unto them as a lion: as a leopard by the way will I observe them:

I will meet them as a bear that is bereaved of her whelps, and will rend the caul of their heart, and there will I devour them like a lion: the wild beast shall tear them.

O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help.

10 I will be thy king: where is any other that may save thee in all thy cities? and thy judges of whom thou saidst, Give me a king and princes?

11 I gave thee a king in mine anger, and took him away in my wrath.

12 The iniquity of Ephraim is bound up; his sin is hid.

13 The sorrows of a travailing woman shall come upon him: he is an unwise son; for he should not stay long in the place of the breaking forth of children.

14 I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.

15 Though he be fruitful among his brethren, an east wind shall come, the wind of the Lord shall come up from the wilderness, and his spring shall become dry, and his fountain shall be dried up: he shall spoil the treasure of all pleasant vessels.

16 Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up.

14 O israel, return unto the Lord thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity.

Take with you words, and turn to the Lord: say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render the calves of our lips.

Asshur shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses: neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, Ye are our gods: for in thee the fatherless findeth mercy.

I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him.

I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon.

His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon.

They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon.

Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more with idols? I have heard him, and observed him: I am like a green fir tree. From me is thy fruit found.

Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the Lord are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein.

Jude 1-25

Jude,Mt 13:55; Jn 14:22; Ac 1:13 a servant of Jesus ChristRo 1:1 and a brother of James,

To those who have been called,Ro 1:6, 7 who are loved in God the Father and kept forOr by; or in Jesus Christ:Jn 17:12

Mercy, peaceGal 6:16; 1Ti 1:2 and love be yours in abundance.S Ro 1:7

The Sin and Doom of Ungodly People

Dear friends,S 1Co 10:14 although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share,Tit 1:4 I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend1Ti 6:12 for the faithver 20; Ac 6:7 that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people.S Ac 9:13For certain individuals whose condemnation was written aboutOr individuals who were marked out for condemnation long ago have secretly slipped in among you.Gal 2:4 They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.Tit 1:16; 2Pe 2:1; 1Jn 2:22

Though you already know all this,S 1Jn 2:20 I want to remind you2Pe 1:12, 13; 3:1, 2 that the LordSome early manuscripts Jesus at one time delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe.Nu 14:29; Dt 1:32; 2:15; Ps 106:26; 1Co 10:1-5; Heb 3:16, 17And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day.S 2Pe 2:4, 9In a similar way, Sodom and GomorrahS Mt 10:15 and the surrounding townsDt 29:23 gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.S Mt 25:41; 2Pe 3:7

In the very same way, on the strength of their dreams these ungodly people pollute their own bodies, reject authority and heap abuse on celestial beings.2Pe 2:10But even the archangel1Th 4:16 Michael,Da 10:13, 21; 12:1; Rev 12:7 when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses,Dt 34:6 did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”Jude is alluding to the Jewish Testament of Moses (approximately the first century a.d.).Zec 3:210 Yet these people slander whatever they do not understand, and the very things they do understand by instinct—as irrational animals do—will destroy them.2Pe 2:12

11 Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain;Ge 4:3-8; Heb 11:4; 1Jn 3:12 they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error;S 2Pe 2:15 they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion.Nu 16:1-3, 31-35

12 These people are blemishes at your love feasts,2Pe 2:13; 1Co 11:20-22 eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves.Eze 34:2, 8, 10 They are clouds without rain,Pr 25:14; 2Pe 2:17 blown along by the wind;Eph 4:14 autumn trees, without fruit and uprootedMt 15:13—twice dead.13 They are wild waves of the sea,Isa 57:20 foaming up their shame;Php 3:19 wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.2Pe 2:17

14 Enoch,Ge 5:18, 21-24 the seventh from Adam, prophesied about them: “See, the Lord is comingS Mt 16:27 with thousands upon thousands of his holy onesDt 33:2; Da 7:10; Zec 14:5; Heb 12:2215 to judge2Pe 2:6-9 everyone, and to convict all of them of all the ungodly acts they have committed in their ungodliness, and of all the defiant words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”From the Jewish First Book of Enoch (approximately the first century b.c.)1Ti 1:916 These people are grumblers1Co 10:10 and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires;ver 18; 2Pe 2:10 they boast2Pe 2:18 about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.

A Call to Persevere

17 But, dear friends, remember what the apostlesS Eph 4:11 of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold.Heb 2:3; 2Pe 3:218 They said to you, “In the last times1Ti 4:1; 2Ti 3:1; 2Pe 3:3 there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.”ver 16; 2Pe 2:1; 3:319 These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.1Co 2:14, 15

20 But you, dear friends, by building yourselves upCol 2:7; 1Th 5:11 in your most holy faithver 3 and praying in the Holy Spirit,Eph 6:1821 keep yourselves in God’s love as you waitTit 2:13; Heb 9:28; 2Pe 3:12 for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.S Mt 25:46

22 Be merciful to those who doubt;23 save others by snatching them from the fire;Am 4:11; Zec 3:2-5; 1Co 3:15 to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.The Greek manuscripts of these verses vary at several points.Rev 3:4


24 To him who is ableS Ro 16:25 to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presenceS 2Co 4:14 without faultCol 1:22 and with great joy—25 to the only GodJn 5:44; 1Ti 1:17 our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore!Heb 13:8 Amen.S Ro 11:36

Greetings from Jude

This letter is from Jude, a slave of Jesus Christ and a brother of James.

I am writing to all who have been called by God the Father, who loves you and keeps you safe in the care of Jesus Christ.Or keeps you for Jesus Christ.

May God give you more and more mercy, peace, and love.

The Danger of False Teachers

Dear friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the salvation we all share. But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people.I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

So I want to remind you, though you already know these things, that JesusOther manuscripts read [the] Lord, or God, or God Christ. first rescued the nation of Israel from Egypt, but later he destroyed those who did not remain faithful.And I remind you of the angels who did not stay within the limits of authority God gave them but left the place where they belonged. God has kept them securely chained in prisons of darkness, waiting for the great day of judgment.And don’t forget Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns, which were filled with immorality and every kind of sexual perversion. Those cities were destroyed by fire and serve as a warning of the eternal fire of God’s judgment.

In the same way, these people—who claim authority from their dreams—live immoral lives, defy authority, and scoff at supernatural beings.Greek at glorious ones, which are probably evil angels.But even Michael, one of the mightiest of the angels,Greek Michael, the archangel. did not dare accuse the devil of blasphemy, but simply said, “The Lord rebuke you!” (This took place when Michael was arguing with the devil about Moses’ body.)10 But these people scoff at things they do not understand. Like unthinking animals, they do whatever their instincts tell them, and so they bring about their own destruction.11 What sorrow awaits them! For they follow in the footsteps of Cain, who killed his brother. Like Balaam, they deceive people for money. And like Korah, they perish in their rebellion.

12 When these people eat with you in your fellowship meals commemorating the Lord’s love, they are like dangerous reefs that can shipwreck you.Or they are contaminants among you; or they are stains. They are like shameless shepherds who care only for themselves. They are like clouds blowing over the land without giving any rain. They are like trees in autumn that are doubly dead, for they bear no fruit and have been pulled up by the roots.13 They are like wild waves of the sea, churning up the foam of their shameful deeds. They are like wandering stars, doomed forever to blackest darkness.

14 Enoch, who lived in the seventh generation after Adam, prophesied about these people. He said, “Listen! The Lord is coming with countless thousands of his holy ones15 to execute judgment on the people of the world. He will convict every person of all the ungodly things they have done and for all the insults that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”The quotation comes from intertestamental literature: Enoch 1:9.

16 These people are grumblers and complainers, living only to satisfy their desires. They brag loudly about themselves, and they flatter others to get what they want.

A Call to Remain Faithful

17 But you, my dear friends, must remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ predicted.18 They told you that in the last times there would be scoffers whose purpose in life is to satisfy their ungodly desires.19 These people are the ones who are creating divisions among you. They follow their natural instincts because they do not have God’s Spirit in them.

20 But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit,Greek pray in the Holy Spirit.21 and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love.

22 And you must show mercy toSome manuscripts read must reprove. those whose faith is wavering.23 Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others,Some manuscripts have only two categories of people: (1) those whose faith is wavering and therefore need to be snatched from the flames of judgment, and (2) those who need to be shown mercy. but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.Greek with fear, hating even the clothing stained by the flesh.

A Prayer of Praise

24 Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault.25 All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen.

Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:

Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied.

Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.

And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.

Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities.

Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.

10 But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves.

11 Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.

12 These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots;

13 Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.

14 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,

15 To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.

16 These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage.

17 But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ;

18 How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.

19 These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.

20 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,

21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

22 And of some have compassion, making a difference:

23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,

25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.

Psalm 127:1-5

Psalm 127

A song of ascents. Of Solomon.

Unless the Lord buildsPs 78:69 the house,

the builders labor in vain.

Unless the Lord watchesPs 121:4 over the city,

the guards stand watch in vain.

In vain you rise early

and stay up late,

toiling for foodS Ge 3:17 to eat—

for he grants sleepS Nu 6:26; S Job 11:18 toOr eat— / for while they sleep he provides for those he loves.S Dt 33:12; Ecc 2:25

Children are a heritage from the Lord,

offspring a rewardS Ge 1:28 from him.

Like arrowsPs 112:2 in the hands of a warrior

are children born in one’s youth.

Blessed is the man

whose quiver is full of them.Ps 128:2-3

They will not be put to shame

when they contend with their opponentsS Ge 24:60 in court.S Ge 23:10

Psalm 127

A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem. A psalm of Solomon.

Unless the Lord builds a house,

the work of the builders is wasted.

Unless the Lord protects a city,

guarding it with sentries will do no good.

It is useless for you to work so hard

from early morning until late at night,

anxiously working for food to eat;

for God gives rest to his loved ones.

Children are a gift from the Lord;

they are a reward from him.

Children born to a young man

are like arrows in a warrior’s hands.

How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them!

He will not be put to shame when he confronts his accusers at the city gates.

127 Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.

It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.

Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.

Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

Proverbs 29:15-17

15 A rod and a reprimand impart wisdom,

but a child left undisciplined disgraces its mother.ver 17; S Pr 13:24

16 When the wicked thrive, so does sin,

but the righteous will see their downfall.S Ps 91:8; S 92:11

17 Discipline your children, and they will give you peace;

they will bring you the delights you desire.S ver 15

15 To discipline a child produces wisdom,

but a mother is disgraced by an undisciplined child.

16 When the wicked are in authority, sin flourishes,

but the godly will live to see their downfall.

17 Discipline your children, and they will give you peace of mind

and will make your heart glad.

15 The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.

16 When the wicked are multiplied, transgression increaseth: but the righteous shall see their fall.

17 Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.

Dec 7 Dec 9
Bible Gateway