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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Of cell phones and selfishness

Several weeks ago I dropped my relatively new phone into water. The details don’t really matter, but in case you are curious, the water was clean. It had barely hit the water by the time I retrieved it. I immediately dried it off and then allowed it to dry out before turning it back on. I was relieved when I tried to use it later in the day and it still worked. But over the weekend an important function of the phone stopped working. So after speaking to three different techs on the phone, I was instructed to take the phone into a retail store, where they would run diagnostics. I had forgotten about the water incident, but learned that there are sensors inside the phone that change colors once the phone has gotten wet. “Mr. Cornett, do you realize this phone has water damage?” I didn’t, only later would I remember dropping the phone. I was surprised at the frustration I felt by being told, “I’m sorry but we can’t help you.” In fact, I was grumpy the rest of the evening, which of course, is ridiculous. It was my fault the phone was not working and not their responsibility to fix something they didn’t cause.

I tell you this story because it is a reminder of how skewed our perspective sometimes is. I was frustrated because this piece of equipment that I use wasn’t working well. It was a reminder to me that such devices are too important to me and in the moment I was forgetting the incredible blessings God has showered on my life.

In the Old Testament book of Hosea, God charges the people of Israel with forgetting that he was the one who provided for them the good provisions for their well being and that instead they had forsaken him and run off after other gods. That is one of the milder indictments in the book. For the next two, possible three weeks, i am going to explore the message of this book in my preaching at Bethany Place. Hosea portrays in shocking language God’s grief and anger at our sin and with the same shocking terms illustrates glory of God’s mercy which he extends to us when we come to him in repentance. It is important to study this text because against this backdrop we can see with new eyes the tremendous value that the grace of God extended to us really is.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” I have been deeply affected by my study of this book in the past few weeks. I believe that it is critical for our being able to value the gospel for the treasure that it is.

You can see the outline and prayer guide for this message below.

A Scandalous View of God’s Anger
Shock and Awe, A Study in Hosea

1.    See that God’s word transcends all political leadership

Hosea 1:1 (ESV) The word of the Lord that came to Hosea, the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel.

2.    Feel God’s anger and grief over persistent sin

Hosea 1:2–9 (ESV) When the Lord first spoke through Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea, “Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the Lord.” So he went and took Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.
And the Lord said to him, “Call his name Jezreel, for in just a little while I will punish the house of Jehu for the blood of Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel. And on that day I will break the bow of Israel in the Valley of Jezreel.”
She conceived again and bore a daughter. And the Lord said to him, “Call her name No Mercy, for I will no more have mercy on the house of Israel, to forgive them at all. But I will have mercy on the house of Judah, and I will save them by the Lord their God. I will not save them by bow or by sword or by war or by horses or by horsemen.”
When she had weaned No Mercy, she conceived and bore a son. And the Lord said, “Call his name Not My People, for you are not my people, and I am not your God.”

3.    Experience God’s mercy against the backdrop of God’s anger

Hosea 1:10–2:1 (ESV)10  Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. And in the place where it was said to them, “You are not my people,” it shall be said to them, “Children of the living God.” 11 And the children of Judah and the children of Israel shall be gathered together, and they shall appoint for themselves one head. And they shall go up from the land, for great shall be the day of Jezreel.
Say to your brothers, “You are my people,” and to your sisters, “You have received mercy.”

Ways to pray through this text
Pray that we would learn to rely on God and his word no matter what swirls around us politically, educationally, or financially.

Pray that we would have an accurate view of God’s holiness and his just anger toward our rebellions so that we can fully appreciate the mercy he extends to us.

Against the backdrop of God’s just anger against our rebellion, pray that God would grant us the ability to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ and that we might know this love that surpasses knowledge that we might be filled to the measure with all the fullness of God. (See Eph. 3:18-19)

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