Week 6: Israel’s Hypocrisy, Hosea 8:1-14

This week in our study of Hosea chapter 8, we continue learning the cost of Israel’s iniquities. Their many sins in breaking God’s covenant and rebelling against his law, which included idolatry, alliances with pagan nations, hypocrisy in worship, and self-reliance, trace directly to the root of forgetting the God who made them (8:14). Therefore the God to whom they should have turned for protection has decreed their demise. Instead of crying out to the LORD who covenanted to be their refuge, they have turned to the neighboring nations seeking security, employing worldly solutions to their degenerating foreign affairs. Meanwhile, Assyria is circling like a vulture overhead and will soon swoop down upon them with unrelenting destruction (8:1).

And yet it is evident that the Israelites believed that they were on good terms with God. Appealing to him that, “My God, we—Israel—know you” (8:2). But they have “spurned the good” (8:3), rejecting (with disdain and contempt) the covenant and laws by which he made himself known to them and called them to walk in his ways as his own people. They are pursuing relationship with their Creator not on his terms, but their own. By forsaking their exclusive calling to be set apart from the nations and live according to God’s holy laws, they made a mockery of their faithless worship of him. Continue reading “Week 6: Israel’s Hypocrisy, Hosea 8:1-14”

Standing in the True Grace of God, Lesson 24

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By BARBARANNE KELLY|CONTRIBUTOR

This week’s passage from 1 Peter needs to be kept in the context of that which we studied last week. Peter was then addressing the doubts voiced by the scoffers, and he now turns to the believers who may be asking the same things, though from faith and not unbelief. “It is not only the scoffers who are concerned about these questions… The New Testament epistles were written in order to strengthen the faith of God’s people and comfort them.”[1] He once again addresses with tenderness these believers who, as many of us might, are wondering when our Lord will return. Continue reading “Standing in the True Grace of God, Lesson 24”

Standing in the True Grace of God, Lesson 22

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By BARBARANNE KELLY|CONTRIBUTOR

In this week’s passage (actually, last week’s, as I was late getting this finished) Peter calls out false teachers and strips away their masks and pretenses to reveal the sordid truth behind their lies. This passage is not only difficult to read, it is necessary. For the same reasons parents everywhere warn their children to stay away from strangers, Peter is warning Christians to avoid false teachers in the church. At the end of his first epistle Peter wrote, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). The false teachers are on mission from our prowling adversary, attempting to lure the Lord’s sheep away from the safety of the truth, and Peter, appointed to shepherd God’s flock, is warning the sheep to be wary. It’s a warning we must heed even still. Continue reading “Standing in the True Grace of God, Lesson 22”