Home > Uncategorized > 12-3-10 devotions: Hosea 8-10, Acts 16, Psalm 33

12-3-10 devotions: Hosea 8-10, Acts 16, Psalm 33

I did my Bible reading Friday night after my work was done for the day, and I was upset with myself. Devotions should really be done in the morning–or at least begun in the morning.

In my current path, I think what I will try to do is read the Old and New Testament in the morning and at night, read from the Psalms and Proverbs. Or perhaps it is best to read it all in the morning and to take a closer look at each passage at night; each delve into Psalms and Proverbs provides encouragement to take on the day.

What works best for you, Dear Reader?

I knew of one man who was serving at the Roloff Homes and spoke at my then-home church, Beeville Baptist Church, to speak. He told of how he was reading the Bible through in a month.

Wow! I thought. That is a LOT of reading.

Sometime I may try that just to see if I can accomplish it, but I’m leery because with my short attention span, it would be a classic case of quantity over quality. At least three times in my life I’ve read over Old Testament books like Ezekiel, Amos, Obadiah, the other Minor Prophets along with tiny New Testament books like 1, 2 and 3 John and can barely–if at all–tell you what they were about. In fact, if I died today, I’d have to ask God to let me have a crash course on what Obadiah and other books were about since I must presume that, until we are completely perfected in heaven, it is possible still to feel embarrassment in heaven. (Perhaps some young Christian may even go up to David and say, “Yo! David! Was Bathsheba as hot as the Sports Illustrated swimsuit models?!”)

Rabbit trail aside, what I am trying to say is I like the year-long approach to Bible reading much better.

That being said, what I might do is when I finish reading the Bible through (I am almost halfway through with my current plan that, sadly, I have been doing since 2003), I may see if I can read the Word of God through again before the end of 2011. We will see.

That being said…

Hosea 8-10: In these chapters, Hosea continues speaking to the brick wall that is the hardened heart of Israel as he urges the nation to repent and not face the humiliation of God’s correction. I imagine as he returned home for the night, perhaps Gomer even gave him encouragement and insight. “Honey, you won me back through tough love, and that’s what you need to have in your message to Israel–tough love.”

It’s a question I intend to ask Hosea someday. I am so glad now that when I get to heaven I won’t have to say, “Hello, Hosea! I’m ashamed to have to tell you this, but I don’t remember what your book was about!”

Hosea 8:14 says this: “For Israel has forgotten his Maker, and has built temples; Judah also has multiplied fortified cities; but I will send fire upon his cities, and it shall devour his palaces.”

Acts 16: This chapter touches briefly on a subject I intend to blog about in the near future.

Circumcision.

Timothy, a Christian whose Mom was Jewish and whose father was Greek, was not circumcised. He was in the ministry in Lystra and Iconium, and Paul had Tim circumcised. Since his ministry was among Jews (who were and are still circumcised), it was determined Tim could be a more effective missionary if he were circumcised.

Yes, by modern standards it seems silly that ancient man could get so hung up over foreskins, but it’s about how you can best tend to the needs of those you minister to. Having no respect for the culture of a country you work in makes you an ineffective missionary.

That being done, Paul continued to minister and lead people to the Lord, including the very prominent businesswoman Lydia, a merchant of purple in Thyatira.

Also in this chapter, Paul and Silas were famously beaten and imprisoned for exorcising a demon from a girl who told people’s fortunes. Paul saw her anguish and ordered the demon to leave her, which angered her masters since it deprived them of their lucrative income.

So, Paul and Silas were jailed and through their testimony of praising God despite their tough circumstances, the jailer came to know Christ. I wonder what would have happened had they moped, cried and complained? The jail probably was not a very pleasant place to be, and we can hardly imagine the miserable times there as they were beaten.

After leading the jailer and his family to the Lord, Paul then informed the officers of the local legal community that he and Silas were Roman citizens and that it was illegal to beat them without a trial.

Oops!

This was no doubt why tradition says Paul eventually was probably beheaded instead of crucified. It has been said crucifixion was the most severe form of Roman capital punishment: no Roman citizen could be crucified.

Reading about Paul and his trials leads me to one incontrovertible conclusion: I may be dealing with heartaches and craziness in my own life, but compared to Christians in the Middle East, Sri Lanka, China and other places, I practically live in Beverly Hills.

Psalm 33: As I read through the thirty-third Psalm, I wonder if it has been made into a song. I imagine David in heaven in a recording studio with musical instruments we cannot even begin to imagine, instruments that play melodies well beyond the limits of finite human sound.

In short, it is a Psalm encouraging musicians to use their talents to praise God.

Verse four tells us: “For the word of the LORD is right, and all His work is done in truth. He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the goodness of the LORD.”

This Psalm also speaks of God’s work during Creation (before man ruined things) and how God is in ultimate control over the affairs of man. It speaks of how God works in every human individually, placing things in their hearts that He hopes will bring them to Him.

Verses 18-22: “Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His mercy,

“To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.

“Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help and our shield.

“For our heart shall rejoice in Him, because we have trusted in His holy name.

“Let Your mercy, O LORD, be upon us, just as we hope in You.”

Richard Zowie is going through the Bible in his Richard’s Two Shekels blog when not commenting on Christian issues or blogging about his Christian walk. He hopes in the coming months to complete his first visit with all the Minor Prophets. Post comments here or drop a line to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

 

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