06 Aug 2023
The nation Israel came from their father Jacob. And just as Jacob humbled himself and came to know God, Israel is now encouraged in Hosea 12 to do likewise, as their father Jacob did. Learn how Israel was like Jacob in "Character" & in the impending "Chastisement". See how God encourages Israel that "Change" is possible with Him, just as Jacob experienced. And observe the "Charge" that God will give Israel. Let us also see our own sinful "Character", understand how we may go through "Chastisement", and find out how we can experience a heartfelt and thorough "Change".
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We have gone through a few, probably months of Hosea already, and this is our penultimate sermon. Next week will be the last, and following that we will switch over to the New Testament book of Colossians. I hope it has been a meaningful journey for you as it has been for me.
My two sons are now 15 and 11 years old. Truth be told, when they were born, I was somewhat disappointed, because they don't look anything like myself, nor my wife. I thought something is wrong, how come they don't have any semblance whatsoever? And as they grew, I realized Shawn, the older one, looks more like, not looks, but behaves more like Winnie. He takes on more of her characteristics. And I realized the younger one, Matthias, takes on more of my characteristics.
I was, he was here earlier this morning, and I said, Matthias, I'm sorry, but you'll never be tall, dark, and handsome, huh. So Matthias is going to be like daddy. Uh, and there are many things that we are similar in. For example, both of us have a very big appetite. As a child, he eats a lot, and I eat a lot. So, we happen to look quite similar when we are younger, or when he is young and when I was younger.
This is Matthias, this is him, the cute little fella, and this is me, huh, hah, hah, huh. Uh, same body shape, same pattern, love to eat. And besides that, if you notice, we both have similar kind of hair. Uh, messy, thick, bushy, difficult to manage hair. So that's my son. Besides that, we were, we both of us are very mischievous at heart, very playful. And so, when I react in certain situations, I can somehow predict how he would respond in the same situations as well. You could say, he's a chip off the old block, or like father, like son.
That is the idea, the main idea, I think, that you'll find unique in Hosea chapter 12. God is saying to Israel that your father Jacob repented and came to Me. So Israel, as descendants of your father Jacob, you can also do so. See, in verse 4, he, that is Jacob, strove with the angel and prevailed. He wept and sought His favour. He met with God at Bethel, and there God spoke with us.
And just as Jacob had an encounter with God, humbled himself, and truly came to God, so you, O Israel, by the help of your God, return, hold fast to love and justice, and wait continually for your God.
So I think this is the highlight in this chapter. So we like to look at what it means for Israel to follow in Jacob's footsteps. What does it mean to be like father, like son?
So let's look at Jacob's life, and then we're going to look at how it applies to Israel, and then, obviously, we must not forget ourselves, and how the truth should apply to us. So we're going to look at Jacob, Israel, and you and I today, alright? So let's start.
2. The Character
First of all, the Bible gives us a glimpse into Jacob's character. What's he like? If there's a summary of his life, at least before coming to God, what would it be? Well, the author, Hosea, chose to say, in the womb, he took his brother by the heel. Out of a million things you can say about Jacob, this is the highlight. This is the distinctive of Jacob's life. He grabbed his brother's heel as he emerged from the birth canal. That's why he is called Jacob. The name Jacob literally means the heel grabber.
So he's someone who grabs his brother's heel in order to pull him back, so that perhaps he may get in front. Jacob's life can be characterized by this distinctive. He grabs, he trips up someone else for his own advantage. It's somewhat prophetic, because later on in his life, Jacob would deceive his own father, Isaac. He would dress up with Esau's clothings, speak with Esau's voice, or at least mimic Esau's voice, and come to his father and say, I am Esau. Come bless me before you die. I want the birthright.
He was a swindler, a deceiver, a liar, a con man. He was no angel. And Hosea, God, applies Jacob's characteristics to Israel and say, Israel, you are just like your father, in a sense. You're sinful like your ancestor, your patriarch. Because God says in Hosea 11 verse 12, Ephraim, the chief tribe in Israel, and sometimes used synonymously to refer to Israel, Ephraim has surrounded Me with lies and the house of Israel with deceit. They are a people characterized by deception and lies.
That's not just in Hosea 11 verse 12, but verse 1, Ephraim feeds on the wind and pursues the east wind all day long, probably referring to how they would seek help from Assyria rather than God. They multiply falsehood and violence. Verse 7, a merchant in whose hands are false balances, a dishonest fishmonger, a dishonest butcher, a dishonest merchant. That's how Israel is like. So they were deceitful, just like Jacob was.
But Hosea also expands upon other sins in this land. I mean, that is what we have been looking at throughout the book of Hosea. But in the immediate context, it talks about how they love violence, they resort to violence, how they love to oppress, and the Bible says that they have blood guilt and they are filled with disgraceful deeds. Yet for all these sins, they are self-righteous in and of themselves because in verse 8, they say, they cannot find in me iniquity or sin.
This week I was having a Zoom meeting with some of our church leaders and before we start, I invited one of them to open the session with a word of prayer. And on Zoom, I could see his mouth move, but I hear nothing. You know the typical problem in Zoom meetings, right? So I say, hey, uh sorry, you, you, we can't hear you. Can you unmute yourself? So I saw him frantically trying to press, press, press, press, press, but still cannot hear. Something wrong with him, I thought, until the rest of them began to type in a chat message, we can all hear him. Maybe it's you. Well, they didn't say maybe it's you, then I realized, oh, I have muted my laptop, so I couldn't hear anything.
You know, when something goes wrong, we never think about ourselves as the cause, not the first. It's always you, always them, always Israel. We read this and we say, oh, this is a, this is a book about their sin, but like I said, it's important to read the Bible and realize it's not just written for Israel, it's written also for our sakes.
And maybe we can be guilty of that self-righteous attitude that sin is something they dealt with, but not us. But the Bible is like a mirror, it actually says, the Bible is a mirror to show us our faults, to show us our sins, to show us how we have fallen short of God's requirements.
So whilst we look at the portrait of Jacob grabbing the heel of his brother, stealing that birthright, and we see Israel, the nation, plunged in deception and violence and disgraceful deeds, we must be reminded that this is written also to show us our sinfulness. The Bible gives us a portrait. Today we all like to take selfies, not we all, I don't, but many people like to take selfies, photos, wah, this angle, very nice, that angle, we like to see how beautiful or handsome we are.
Well if God takes a selfie for you, it's not very nice, you know, this is your selfie. Their throat is an open grave. It's smelly. You know what's an open grave? A grave is supposed to close lah, you're supposed to bury it underground, because if you let it open, the smell is like a toilet seat, please close it, it keeps the smell in.
So your throat, God says, we all, this is not just for a few people, this is for all humanity that has been caught up with the disease, infected with the disease of sin. Their throat is an open grave, super smelly. They use their tongues to deceive. The venom of asps is under their lips, their mouth is full of curses and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood, in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes, none is righteous. Is there one? No, not one. No one understands, no one seeks for God, all have turned aside, together they have become worthless, no one does good, not even one.
So if we are confronted with the sinfulness of Jacob, and we have been apprised as to the sinfulness of Israel, we must not forget that the Bible is describing simply a common human condition, that we all are worthless, gone astray, there is none righteous, and all have come short of the glory of God.
So the character of Jacob here is meant to show us that just as Jacob was sinful, so was Israel, and so are you and I. I hope you came to church today not thinking, I'm such a great fellow, and God must be very pleased with me, and the more I come to church, the more He will be pleased with me, and someday I will earn my right to be part of His kingdom.
You are on the wrong premise, you are barking up the wrong tree, because God's diagnosis and view of humanity is that we are utterly helpless and hopeless and worthless in terms of earning a right standing before Him. That's who Jacob was, that's what Israel was, and that's what you and I are.
But we don't stop there, because let's see how God is going to wonderfully, at the end of the day, still bless and save Jacob. And how He will wonderfully save Israel, and how He may wonderfully save you. So move on.
2. The Chastisement
Secondly, we see the chastisement. We see the pain and suffering that Jacob would have to go through. It's summarized in one statement in verse 12, Jacob fled to the land of Aram. Uh, you read this in Genesis, it will be called Haran, it's a similar sounding names, Jacob fled to the land of Aram and there Israel, that is the other name for Jacob, Israel served for a wife and for a wife he guarded sheep.
So this is one sentence that captures several chapters in the Bible. You will recall after Jacob swindled his father Isaac, his brother Esau who has been robbed of his birthright, was furious and Jacob knew that his brother is going to kill him. I'm going to kill you, he could imagine in his mind.
So he had no choice but to run. He had to be a fugitive. He would have to go back or he would have to go to the land of Haran and there he will meet with his uncle Laban. Now Laban is the master, the guru of deception. If Jacob thought he was smart, he was outsmarted by his uncle. He, he fell in love with Laban's daughter Rachel.
And so Laban said, if you want to marry my daughter, sure, work for seven years and I'll give you my daughter to be married. So Jacob happily served seven years and to him seven years flew by because of his love for Rachel. But on the night that he was about to consummate his marriage, he realised, huh, it's not Rachel, it's Leah. Jacob was very upset. I worked for seven years and you gave me Leah, how come? And Laban, the guru says, well, it's the custom of our people here that we cannot marry the younger one, the older one have to go first.
So never mind, you get Leah, but if you promise to work for me another seven years, then I'll give you Rachel. Bo pian, so in total, he worked 14 years before he could marry Rachel, but soon after there was a conflict between Laban and himself and he had no choice but he had to leave his in-laws and go back to his hometown.
As he was going back to his hometown, his servants came back and said to him, we came to your brother Esau and he's coming to meet you and there are 400 men with him. That sent shivers down Jacob's spine. What? My brother, after he's been on the run for 20 years, my brother after 20 years still won't let me go? He's coming to me with 400 men? So he chuak, he kan jiong. He is scared for his own life.
So he tried his very best, he's a smart guy. So on the spot, he devised a strategy to send forward all these livestock and goods, hoping to appease, hoping to placate his brother Esau so that he will not kill him and his family. So he sent them not at once because the impact better if you go in waves. So he was very smart, he calculated wisely, sending them in wave after wave after wave until he sent everything and he was all alone by the river Jabbok.
Left to himself, bereaved, bereft of ideas, helpless, in fear and trembling, he came to an end of himself. This is probably the lowest point, the breaking point or soon to be breaking point for Jacob's life. And in a sense, this suffering, this agony, this 20 years of being deceived and on the run and being on the losing end, is a kind of picture of how God is going to bring Israel, the nation, through a difficult time.
You see, in chapter 12 we read again, God saying, because of your sins against Me, I'm going to chastise you. I will again make you dwell in tents. You will not be living in your own land anymore. You will not have your own place to call home. You'll be living in tents and you shall surely come to nothing. Your nation will be obliterated. So the LORD will leave his blood guilt on him and will repay him for all his disgraceful deeds.
The point I think God is saying in the story of Jacob is that the chastisement that comes upon them will be a kind of a picture of how chastisement would also come upon Israel. And all that is meant not to annihilate them, but to bring them, to redirect them to God Himself.
I don't dare to say, every pain in life is for your good. I don't think the Bible does say that. But the Bible does say that sometimes pain can be for good. In the sense that it captures our attention, humbles us and turns us back to God Himself and that is the ultimate blessing. And for some, they will never turn until, like Jacob, they come to an end of their ways.
And I think that's how God designed or planned this world to be. This is a world that is broken. This is a world that is filled with sufferings. But it is not entirely meaningless. It is not entirely vain. All these pains in this world, perhaps, is so that we may come to a realization that we sin against God, God is angry with us and we better learn to repent and to return.
One of the verses I always speak about in funeral services will be Ecclesiastes 7:2. I think I've mentioned that a few times. It says, it is better to go to the house of mourning than to the house of feasting. For that is the end of all men and the living will lay it to heart. So what Solomon, that wise man is saying is, it's better for us to go to the place of sorrow and death and mourning than go to a party for feasting and wine. Why? Because that is the end of all men. That is where you will go. This is what you will eventually have to face. And it's better for you to be in that place of sorrow so that you may reflect and contemplate and the wise will lay it to heart.
So God intends for this world to experience death, that we may be sobered up, so that we may be warned that judgment is coming from a Holy God against sinners, that perhaps you may repent and believe. Like I've said, I've been surrounded, not surrounded, but I've been meeting various people who are not yet Christians. And one of the common points I have gathered from these dear people in this, in this season in my life is, a lot of them are turning to God, waking up to their realisation that life is not quite what it should be because afflictions and pains have sobered them up.
So today, maybe you're going through a hardship. You can see a similarity with Jacob and with Israel. I hope this is the reason why today you're seeking the truth and wanting to know what the Bible has to say that you may one day truly come to know this God of the Bible.
3. The Change
Now let's come to the third transition, and that is the change that we see in Jacob's life. And this is again summarised very concisely with this statement, he strove with the angel and prevailed, he wept and sought His favour. So this introduces us to the epic battle between Jacob and God when he was all alone at the River Jabbok.
The Bible tells us that a man wrestled with Jacob. Now later on in this chapter, and also Hosea 12, it becomes clear to us that this is no ordinary man, not even an angel, but God Himself. Because he calls this place Penuel, which means, I've met God face to face. So this man who wrestled with Jacob is God.
So this was an epic match, because they wrestled from night to the breaking of the day. Growing up, I watched WWF, not World Wildlife Fund, but World Wrestling Federation. I know the name is now changed, I think ah, to WWE, World Wrestling Entertainment. But those matches, those Hulk, is it Hulk, Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, they fight usually 15, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, wah, very tired already. But this is epic because they fought the whole night through. I mean, if there's anything you must learn, that Jacob is a really tenacious guy.
And when the man saw that He did not prevail against Jacob. Now I want you to know that this is not by any means saying, oh God's so weak, cannot outlast Jacob, cannot beat Jacob. No, no, I don't think God is not capable of beating Jacob. It's just that God allows Jacob to try his all, exhaust all his energy, exhaust all his determination and willpower, as it were, so that he may realise that when he has nothing left, this is what he can cling on.
So when it was the breaking of the day, and Jacob is still at it, God touches his hip socket, just a touch, and he had a dislocation of his hip. Now the hip joint is super strong, right? You hear of people dislocating finger, dislocating elbow, dislocating shoulder, but very rare for dislocation of the hip, unless you're very old or very, huge force, especially like in driving, a head-on crash, you may dislocate your hip. But it takes a huge force, and all it takes for God is a touch.
And when you are dislocated in your hip, you are useless in wrestling. There's no way you can win anymore, you can't even stand. So when he was dislocated, the Man who wrestled with Jacob said, let Me go for the day has broken. And when Jacob has nothing left, he now learns to plead, he now learns to beg. He says, I will not let You go unless You bless me. He wants, he knows this is God. Somehow he knows this is God, he says, I will not let You go until you bless me.
And God said, what is your name? What a strange thing. Jacob must be thinking, huh, I asked you to bless me, you ask me my name. I thought you're God, you know my name what? That may not be exactly what Jacob is thinking, but that may be what you're thinking. Why suddenly out of the blue God ask him, what is your name?
Well because I think God wants Jacob to acknowledge my name is Jacob. I'm a heel grabber, that's who I am my whole life. I swindled my father, I got to where I am because I'm good at deception and getting my own way, I am Jacob. And it is only when he says, I am Jacob, that God now says, you shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel.
It's only when you admit that you are a sinner, admit that you are a liar, that you are a heel grabber, that I will now bless you. And can I say to you, the only way you can know God, the only way you can have power with God, the only way you can be saved by God, is not to say, I'm strong, but to realize I'm nothing.
In fact, I'm sinful. I'm a heel grabber, I'm a liar, I'm a murderer in the heart, I'm an adulterer in my mind, I am someone who does not fear God. Only when you acknowledge who you really are in the sight of God, will there be blessings. So Jacob said, I am a heel grabber, and God says, alright, you will no longer be called a heel grabber, but Israel, which means the prince who prevails with God, for you have striven with God and with man and have prevailed. And there, He blessed him.
I think this scene, this story in the River Jabbok is the turning point for Jacob's life. Because right after Genesis 32, we read of Jacob erecting an altar in Genesis 33. And he calls this altar El-Elohe-Israel. What does it mean? Well, it simply means God, the God of Israel. Who is Israel? Jacob. He's calling God, the God of Israel. He's calling God, my God. That's the significance.
You say, what's so significant? Well, it is significant if you compare how Jacob calls Jehovah God prior to this. In Genesis 27, this is before Jabbok, of course. In 27, we read, Jacob calls the LORD, that is Yahweh, Jehovah, your God. He does not call God, my God. It's someone else's God. In 31, he says, but the God of my father, not my God. And then he says in Genesis 31:42, is the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, but not my God.
But when he encounters God Himself in Jabbok, he subsequently calls this place God. Not just the God of Abraham, not just the God of Isaac, but the God of Israel, the God of Jacob. He is now my God.
So there is a change in Jacob's life. He has repented of his sins when he says, I am Jacob. And now he believes in God as his own God. I think this is when, if I may use a New Testament Christian term, he's born again, he's converted, he's saved.
And Jacob's life is a tremendous encouragement for us not to give up hope for people around us. Maybe your son is not willing to repent and believe. Maybe your mom is not willing to repent and believe. Maybe your elderly grandfather is stubborn in his unbelief, but we don't have to give up hope. Do you know how old Jacob was when he came to faith? We think of him as a strapping young man, 20, 30 years old, no, he's 97, 97 still wrestle whole night. Wah he really takong. But he was 97 when he was at River Jabbok. And for 90 over years, maybe you can discount the last 20 years, but for 70 over years, he grew up in Isaac's home.
Isaac was a believer. He must have heard the Gospel. He must have heard about the Messiah. He must have heard about how in Abraham's seed shall all nations be blessed, understood that there will be a coming serpent crusher, a Savior for the world. But he wouldn't believe. He knows the theory, but he only knows the God of his father and his grandfather, but not as his own God. But at 97, God took a painful situation to turn his gaze away from himself and to Him, to God Himself.
And so today, we do not need to give up hope. We must continue to pray for those around us, continue to set the right example before them. Perhaps, there is no guarantee of course, perhaps one day God will do for them like what He has done for Jacob. And salvation is deeply personal, isn't it? Abraham can be a believer, but it doesn't always mean that the children and the grandchildren born would definitely be God's. Only those who will personally repent of their sins and come to God Himself.
So here is the change. The change is just as Jacob was humbled, repented and believed, his people Israel can do so as well. That's the tremendous encouragement. Like father, like son, just as your father was a swindler and is humbled and was willing to repent, so can you, oh Israel. God is using this story to encourage the people's hearts.
And for all of us, I think we must also understand just as we are sinful and as we go through hardship, God can save us.
4. The Charge
I have one more point and please bear with me and that is the charge in chapter 12. God says, so you, by the help of your God, return, hold fast to love and justice and wait continually for your God. So just as Jacob repented, what does it mean for you to turn back to Me? What does it look like?
So God describes it as such, return, hold fast to love and justice and wait continually for your God. If, if I may say it's obedience and worship. So God wants Israel to obey, God wants Israel to worship Him and not other false gods and false nations. That I think is pretty clear. That's what God wants.
But what I think is helpful for us to consider a bit more deeply is this phrase, by the help of your God. Why does He say by the help of your God? And in what way does God help you, Israel, to obey and to worship, how? This part is a bit complex but I think it's actually super important. Uh, but I know it's Sunday morning and maybe you're tired and this is the last tail end of the sermon. If you are finding this difficult to navigate with me, don't stress. I'm sure I'll come back again to these concepts in future times.
But I think I, I, I want to bring this through together with you. How does God help His people to obey and to worship Him? Because it seems this is all what we do. No, God helps you do it. Let me try to show it to you. Centuries before Israel entered the Promised Land, God already told them this is what He will do. If your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there the LORD will gather you and from there He will take you.
Now, this is Deuteronomy. This is written by Moses. Moses told the people of Israel that when they entered the Promised Land, they have not yet entered, Moses' time, but when they enter the Promised Land, they are to keep God's Word. They are to keep their end of the covenant, obey God. And if they do not do so, God will judge them, punish them, and may even send them into exile.
That was written hundreds of years ago. And as it turned out, they did, the people of Israel and Judah, did sin against God and they were sent into exile. But already, hundreds of years before that would even happen, God would say, even though you will be exiled, I will gather you back. I will gather you back and not just help you physically relocate here back again, but the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring. That is a pictorial language to say, I'm going to remove the filth of your heart. I'm going to rid you of sin so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul that you may live.
So interesting, right? Even before they got into the Promised Land, God gave several steps ahead what is going to happen. You are supposed to obey Me, but you won't. You will sin. And because of your sin, I will send you to exile. But I will not let you remain in exile because I will gather you back. And I will not just gather you back, but I will cleanse your heart. Whoa, this is what God is going to do.
And when I circumcise your heart, you shall again obey the voice of the LORD and keep His, all His commandments that I command you today. You're going to do this. Now when I see the word, all His commands, in fact I just see the word commandments, I'm scared because it's so hard. How to keep all His commandments? Is it even possible for you and I to keep all His commandments? The people of Israel would have to say, certainly.
But God anticipates that and says, for this commandment that I command you today, it's not too hard for you. Neither is it far off. Now this is saying this is totally possible and accessible. It's not too hard. How is it not too hard? It is not in heaven that you should say, who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us that we may hear it and do it. Neither is it beyond the sea that you should say, who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us that we may hear it and do it.
But the word is very near you. There's something about what you have to say, something that is about what you believe and articulate so it is in your mouth and in your heart so that you can do it.
Now let me try to make this clear with this statement. What I think could summarize these few verses we've read is this. In a future day after the exile, for Israel, God will clean your heart and grant you righteousness. I think that's what we can gather so far. And all these will actually be very accessible to you. It's not impossible, it's not out of your reach or beyond your reach. And then you may start to ask, hmm, Deuteronomy 30 is still very chim. What is this word? That's why I say you want to sleep, you can sleep, I'll wake you up later.
But, what do you mean by this? So let me give you a cheat code. Without going into the details and searching for the clues within Deuteronomy to answer that question, I shortcut. We will go through Deuteronomy one day, uh in the sermon series, so I'm maybe waiting to that time, but I think it's about two years' time.
Without going into that great a detail, the cheat code will be from the Apostle Paul in the New Testament. Paul said in Romans, but the righteousness based on faith says, do not say in your heart who will ascend into heaven, that is to bring Christ down. Aah, I get it. When I read Deuteronomy 30, it may seem like it is me, myself, trying to earn the righteousness. Trying to keep all the commandments to be right with God, but Paul is saying, no, no, it's not legalism. It's not self-righteousness. It's not you earning that right standing before God, but this is something that is based on faith.
So I must, I would say that Paul is saying that this righteousness, this right standing with God is by faith, not by your own works. It's received by believing, not achieved by doing. This righteousness is by faith, and I think it is clear, it is in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is given to those who would repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Apostle Paul goes on to say, or who will descend into the abyss, that is to bring Christ up from the dead. So this has something to do with what Christ has already done. He died and rose again. There is righteousness available because of the finished work of Jesus Christ, and this righteousness is credited to those who would repent and believe, have faith.
So what does it say? The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart. That is the word of faith that we proclaim. This righteousness and this new heart, because of Deuteronomy 30 verse 6, is very available to those who will believe in the heart and profess with their mouth. Because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
Wake up. So if you forgot, if you can't get what I said, all that is okay. I think what I'm saying to you is, when God said to Israel, by the help of God, return, obey and worship, God is not saying, go and do it in your own strength. But based on what Deuteronomy 30 has been said, it is telling Israel, that in order to do all that, you've got to first turn to Me for a new heart and for true righteousness. And that's the only way you can follow Jacob.
Like father, like son. Not continue in your own ego and pride and self-righteous deeds, but like Jacob, with your hip broken, with you coming to an end of yourself, admitting that you are nothing but a heel grabber, and crying out to God, bless me. I will not let you go until you bless me. Give me a new heart and save me from my sins. And that's all possible because of what Jesus has done.
Thinking whether I should say the last thing, I'll just say it very quickly. You know, as we finish up the book of Hosea, some of us may find this book repetitive. And maybe we would find many prophetic books repetitive. Go read Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, very long, and God cycles and circles around the repeated themes of confronting them about their sin and the judgment that is to come and how God always provides that glimpse of hope.
We almost feel quite chong hei ah. But as I read and as I study Hosea, I, I realize, you know God is so patient. Even though Israel sins over and over and over and over again, God never gives up on Israel. And God uses all kinds of illustrations, persuasions, and arguments to plead with His people and to call them to repent and to believe. That is what our God is like. A God of steadfast love, immense patience, and mercy, and love.
Maybe today, you have been stubborn in sin. You somehow know that Jesus Christ died to save man from their sins. But in your pride and ego, you just will not humble yourself to repent and believe upon Him. I hope today, Hosea's words will encourage you to follow in the footsteps of Jacob and even the nation of Israel one day. May you wonderfully come to know God through His Son and be gloriously saved. Let's bow for a word of prayer together.
Gospel Light exists for the purpose of leading generations, leading you into a life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ. The Bible is very clear that there is no life, no real salvation apart from the right relationship with Jesus. Because Jesus is the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. He's the way, the truth, and the life, and no man comes to the Father but by Him.
The solution is clear. But you will never be saved unless, like Jacob, you admit your sin, come to an end of your own ways, and at the end of your strength, you will simply humble yourself and cry out, God, have mercy on me, a sinner. I will not let you go until you bless me.
Perhaps some of you have to face your Esau, facing the music, facing suffering and pain as a consequence of your actions. Maybe you are coming to an end of yourselves. God perhaps is leading you to a Jabbok experience that you may come to Him and be saved. I pray you will soon do so.
Dear Church, even as we hear a message about God's pleading to sinners, may we all be reminded of how we are all brought to salvation in our very own lives. When God spoke to our hearts one day, broke our pride, showed us His greatness and His goodness, may we today never grow cold of that deep work in our hearts, grow cold of His love for us. May we love Him therefore. May we serve Him, obey Him, may we worship Him with our lives. Not just Sunday morning, please, but every single day of our lives. In the thousand and one decisions we make, may we, as Gospel Light, be faithful in witnessing the Gospel to those around.
So Father, thank You today for who You are. God of amazing patience and mercy and love. Oh Lord, we are so full of ourselves, it's so hard for men and women today to come to You. So we plead today that by Your grace, You'll remove blindness and enable men and women like Jacob, with broken hips, to come to You and say, we will not let You go until You bless us. So bless Your people, bless Your Church. May You be glorified, we ask in Jesus' Name. Amen.
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