Northern Israel was warned through the prophet Hosea that God saw their rebellion and lack of faith as acts of harlotry. Hosea’s own marriage to Gomer was symbolic of Israel’s actions towards God. God’s mercy and compassion are on display as Hosea sought out an unfaithful Gomer. The challenge for believers is to be faithful, for there are consequences to sin, but believers have an awesome God who will always welcome a repentant prodigal.
I Peter 1:18-21 reminds believers of the following: “knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory.” The Perfect Lamb of God has risen and now sits at the right hand of God, for the work needed for our salvation is finished.
The book of Jonah tells of a prophet who tried to run from the will of God for his life. The book is called Jonah, but his name is mentioned eighteen times, whereas God’s is mentioned thirty-eight times. God’s compassion for mankind is on grand display. He loved the prophet and the people of Nineveh. Sadly, this prophet doesn’t end well. The question is, how will our story end?
The book of Daniel is a reality check for us as believers. These young Hebrews trusted God when they were taken captive and made into eunuchs. Their faith was on exhibition again and again throughout the book. They proclaimed and lived in the belief that God's hand was directing all things.
Job description for God’s servant, Obadiah: Prophesy to the nation of Edom, a proud people- wise in their own eyes, that their complete destruction is at hand because of what they did to Israel. The lessons are there for us as well. Be careful of pride and what you trust in – be it your alliances, your wisdom, or natural defenses. Honor God, our Creator and Sustainer.
Peter was not a perfect apostle, and as we well know, nor are there any perfect saints. His righteousness and ours come from a perfect Savior. What comes through in this epistle as Peter is facing death is his concern for the well-being of the church. He knew Christians needed to add to their faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly love. Then believers can abound and remain steadfast as he did.
Whom does God use to share His Word? Amos was a farmer who had the call of God placed on his life and he responded. The people, however, did not respond to the message of impending judgment that Amos warned of. They would not accept that their sinful kingdom would be destroyed.
In amazement we read how Jesus, the All-knowing God, called Judas “friend” when Judas is in the act of betraying Him. Such love, mercy, and grace extended to the sinner, but the prophet Joel is warning of the coming day of the Lord when the sinner who rejects Christ will fall under judgment. He urges his people to tell the children. Are we warning our children and others?
I Peter is written by the apostle of whom Jesus had asked, “Peter, do you love Me?” Peter’s faith was exhibited in his walk right up to the time he was crucified upside down. God has a divine purpose for what takes place and Peter proclaims that truth. ”If need be” was his focus. Can it be ours?
Can we get so hard that we too would question God and ask Him, “In what way have You loved us?” The Bible is saturated with proof of His love: salvation as a gift, security that He’ll never leave us, a Shepherd who feeds us. He doesn’t leave us. We leave Him! Let’s watch out for those things that would lead us to stray.