Today, our passages are Hosea 4:1–5:15; 2 John 1-13; Psalm 125:1-5; and Proverbs 29:9-11. The readings are from The Message by Eugene H. Peterson. If you find these readings helpful, please consider sending an offering directly to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal by using the link below.
Hosea 4-5:15 (The Message)
No One Is Faithful1-3 Attention all Israelites! God's Message! God indicts the whole population: "No one is faithful. No one loves.
No one knows the first thing about God.
All this cussing and lying and killing, theft and loose sex,
sheer anarchy, one murder after another!
And because of all this, the very land itself weeps
and everything in it is grief-stricken—
animals in the fields and birds on the wing,
even the fish in the sea are listless, lifeless.
4-10 "But don't look for someone to blame.
No finger pointing!
You, priest, are the one in the dock.
You stumble around in broad daylight,
And then the prophets take over and stumble all night.
Your mother is as bad as you.
My people are ruined
because they don't know what's right or true.
Because you've turned your back on knowledge,
I've turned my back on you priests.
Because you refuse to recognize the revelation of God,
I'm no longer recognizing your children.
The more priests, the more sin.
They traded in their glory for shame.
They pig out on my people's sins.
They can't wait for the latest in evil.
The result: You can't tell the people from the priests,
the priests from the people.
I'm on my way to make them both pay
and take the consequences of the bad lives they've lived.
They'll eat and be as hungry as ever,
have sex and get no satisfaction.
They walked out on me, their God,
for a life of rutting with whores.
They Make a Picnic Out of Religion11-14 "Wine and whiskey
leave my people in a stupor.
They ask questions of a dead tree,
expect answers from a sturdy walking stick.
Drunk on sex, they can't find their way home.
They've replaced their God with their genitals.
They worship on the tops of mountains,
make a picnic out of religion.
Under the oaks and elms on the hills
they stretch out and take it easy.
Before you know it, your daughters are whores
and the wives of your sons are sleeping around.
But I'm not going after your whoring daughters
or the adulterous wives of your sons.
It's the men who pick up the whores that I'm after,
the men who worship at the holy whorehouses—
a stupid people, ruined by whores! 15-19 "You've ruined your own life, Israel—
but don't drag Judah down with you!
Don't go to the sex shrine at Gilgal,
don't go to that sin city Bethel,
Don't go around saying 'God bless you' and not mean it,
taking God's name in vain.
Israel is stubborn as a mule.
How can God lead him like a lamb to open pasture?
Ephraim is addicted to idols.
Let him go.
When the beer runs out,
it's sex, sex, and more sex.
Bold and sordid debauchery—
how they love it!
The whirlwind has them in its clutches.
Their sex-worship leaves them finally impotent."
They Wouldn't Recognize God If They Saw Him1-2 "Listen to this, priests! Attention, people of Israel!
Royal family—all ears!
You're in charge of justice around here.
But what have you done? Exploited people at Mizpah,
ripped them off on Tabor,
Victimized them at Shittim.
I'm going to punish the lot of you. 3-4"I know you, Ephraim, inside and out.
Yes, Israel, I see right through you!
Ephraim, you've played your sex-and-religion games long enough.
All Israel is thoroughly polluted.
They couldn't turn to God if they wanted to.
Their evil life is a bad habit.
Every breath they take is a whore's breath.
They wouldn't recognize God if they saw me.
5-7"Bloated by arrogance, big as a house,
they're a public disgrace,
The lot of them—Israel, Ephraim, Judah—
lurching and weaving down their guilty streets.
When they decide to get their lives together
and go off looking for God once again,
They'll find it's too late.
I, God, will be long gone.
They've played fast and loose with me for too long,
filling the country with their bastard offspring.
A plague of locusts will
devastate their violated land.
8-9"Blow the ram's horn shofar in Gibeah,
the bugle in Ramah!
Signal the invasion of Sin City!
Scare the daylights out of Benjamin!
Ephraim will be left wasted,
a lifeless moonscape.
I'm telling it straight, the unvarnished truth,
to the tribes of Israel.
10"Israel's rulers are crooks and thieves,
cheating the people of their land,
And I'm angry, good and angry.
Every inch of their bodies is going to feel my anger.
11-12"Brutal Ephraim is himself brutalized—
a taste of his own medicine!
He was so determined
to do it his own worthless way.
Therefore I'm pus to Ephraim,
dry rot in the house of Judah.
13"When Ephraim saw he was sick
and Judah saw his pus-filled sores,
Ephraim went running to Assyria,
went for help to the big king.
But he can't heal you.
He can't cure your oozing sores.
14-15"I'm a grizzly charging Ephraim,
a grizzly with cubs charging Judah.
I'll rip them to pieces—yes, I will!
No one can stop me now.
I'll drag them off.
No one can help them.
Then I'll go back to where I came from
until they come to their senses.
When they finally hit rock bottom,
maybe they'll come looking for me."
2 John 1-13 (The Message)
2 John 11-2My dear congregation, I, your pastor, love you in very truth. And I'm not alone—everyone who knows the Truth that has taken up permanent residence in us loves you. 3Let grace, mercy, and peace be with us in truth and love from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, Son of the Father!
4-6I can't tell you how happy I am to learn that many members of your congregation are diligent in living out the Truth, exactly as commanded by the Father. But permit me a reminder, friends, and this is not a new commandment but simply a repetition of our original and basic charter: that we love each other. Love means following his commandments, and his unifying commandment is that you conduct your lives in love. This is the first thing you heard, and nothing has changed.
Don't Walk Out on God7There are a lot of smooth-talking charlatans loose in the world who refuse to believe that Jesus Christ was truly human, a flesh-and-blood human being. Give them their true title: Deceiver! Antichrist! 8-9And be very careful around them so you don't lose out on what we've worked so diligently in together; I want you to get every reward you have coming to you. Anyone who gets so progressive in his thinking that he walks out on the teaching of Christ, walks out on God. But whoever stays with the teaching, stays faithful to both the Father and the Son.
10-11If anyone shows up who doesn't hold to this teaching, don't invite him in and give him the run of the place. That would just give him a platform to perpetuate his evil ways, making you his partner.
12-13I have a lot more things to tell you, but I'd rather not use paper and ink. I hope to be there soon in person and have a heart-to-heart talk. That will be far more satisfying to both you and me. Everyone here in your sister congregation sends greetings.
Psalm 125:1-5 (The Message)
A Pilgrim Song1-5 Those who trust in God
are like Zion Mountain:
Nothing can move it, a rock-solid mountain
you can always depend on.
Mountains encircle Jerusalem,
and God encircles his people—
always has and always will.
The fist of the wicked
will never violate
What is due the righteous,
provoking wrongful violence.
Be good to your good people, God,
to those whose hearts are right!
God will round up the backsliders,
corral them with the incorrigibles.
Peace over Israel!
Proverbs 29:9-11 (The Message)
9 A sage trying to work things out with a fool
gets only scorn and sarcasm for his trouble.
10 Murderers hate honest people;
moral folks encourage them.
11 A fool lets it all hang out;
a sage quietly mulls it over.
Verse of the Day
“I am the good shepherd. I know my sheep, and they know me. Just as the Father knows me, I know the Father, and I give up my life for my sheep.” - John 10:14-15
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.
Thought for the Day
The preeminent leader of the Indian independence movement in British-ruled India. Employing nonviolent civil disobedience, Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”