Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009 at 12:05 am

Day 3: Harvest of Love

Hosea 10 (NLT)

1 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.

2 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.

3 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?”

4 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.

5 The people of Samaria tremble in fear for what might happen to their calf idol at Beth-aven. The people mourn and the priests wail, because its glory will be stripped away. 6 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. 7 Samaria and its king will be cut off; they will float away like driftwood on an ocean wave. 8 And the pagan shrines of Aven, 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!”

9 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 “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 Israel 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.’

The famous saying that “you reap what you sow” is actually based in the Bible (Galatians 6).  Here in the book of Hosea, God is telling Israel that they too will one day reap what is being sown.  Israel was planting seeds of double-mindedness, idolatry, injustice, and persistent sins that God says will one day lead to destruction and judgment.  But, in the midst of His proclamation of judgment, God also reminds them of His previous invitation and promise (verse 12) that the people have been invited to “plow up the hard ground” of their hearts by first seeking Him, so that He may come and shower good seeds into their lives.  God’s true heart for His people is that they would one day reap a harvest of love and righteousness.

Responding to the Transmitted Message:

The way we live and the seeds that are planted each day will one day have a consequence.   Let’s spend some time in prayer today, first seeking the Lord, and then asking Him for the seeds of his righteousness and truth to be deeply planted in our lives.  Our Father desires that each one of us would one day reap a harvest of love and righteousness!

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