I have a prayer request for my cousin’s son, Jeff, who they just found out he has cancer of the brain, lungs, pancreas, and liver. He is single but has a girlfriend and needs a miracle!
The prophet Hosea was called to live out a parable of God’s persistent love in the midst of Israel’s betrayal. God commanded Hosea to marry a common whore and have children with her (Ch. 1-3). God “goes after us at our worst, keeps after us until he gets us, and makes lovers of men and women who know nothing of real love” (Message).
God wants us to identify with Gomer in her wretched state to understand how spiritual adultery offends God. We can see the heart of God as He calls us back to himself. God does not give up on us. In our day both spiritual and moral idolatry keep us from relationship with Him.
Who is responsible for this spiritual condition of our culture? Hosea 4: 14 gives us a clue: It is fathers who have not set the example in taking the lead in spiritual and moral fidelity. Hosea calls the fathers out for their failure: “I will not punish your daughters when they play the harlot, nor your brides when they commit adultery, for the men themselves slip away with prostitutes, and they offer sacrifices with temple prostitutes [who give their bodies in honor of the idol]…the people without understanding [stumble and fall and] come to ruin” (Hosea 4:14 – Amp.).
To win the favor of the fertility god Baal and the goddess Asherah, the Canaanites engaged in “sacred” prostitution, which involved ritual sexual acts with “sacred” prostitutes. “These rituals took place at special shrines located on hills under the shade of trees and were designed to promote fertility in the land…The Israelites encouraged their daughters to visit the shrines, hoping that their participation in ritual sex with the priests of Baal and Asherah would encourage their gods to give them numerous children. But their fathers were just as guilty, for they too visited the shrines and has sexual relations with the priestesses there…to enhance their own virility” (Chisholm – Handbook on the Prophets).
Israel became so infatuated with idols and sexuality promiscuity that they surrendered to “a spirit of prostitution” in which “the men consort with harlots and… sacrifice with temple prostitutes” v. 14 NET). “Verse 14 is in fact a landmark in moral history by its refusal to treat a man’s sexual sins more leniently than a woman’s” (Bible Speaks Today). Here Hosea makes clear that the daughters are innocent when compared to the men, who were not setting an example to their daughters, but were going to prostitutes, both religious and secular.
Verses 12-14 reveal people who had forsaken the Lord and turned to promiscuity. They show how self-indulging and mindless religion is in fact guilty of producing spiritual decadence, which in turn produces a moral breakdown in the culture. God declares they are, “a stupid people, ruined by whores” (v. 14 – Message).
Men, God’s directive in the sixth commandment is: “You shall not commit adultery” (Ex. 20:14). Luther’s Small Catechism tells us, “We should fear and love God so that we lead a chaste and pure life in word and deed, and that husband and wife love and honor each other.” Paul exhorts us, “Keep yourselves from sexual promiscuity” (I Thess. 4:3 – Message).
It seems to me that in a sensual and sexually-confused time, Christian men need to step forth and practice sexual purity. We can apply this by resolving to: 1) Be a one-woman man, 2) Live and model a virtuous life of purity, and 3) Acknowledge how much we and other fathers have failed in our culture. God help us as men and fathers to do that.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Today we are going to Ann’s at the lake and looking forward to time with them and enjoying a feast together. Mark and Kurt’s families have a house full of relatives from the other side as well.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Are you old school? I ask that question as I watch pro football games. Commentators use the term as they discuss a player’s talent, attitude, and contribution to his team. When you tune into sports talk radio, you will hear intense dialogue, men sharing passionately about the play of their favorite players and teams. They often refer to players as old school. Could it be evoking memories of players of old, stirring a longing for the past, especially their youth?
As an NFL sports fan, I know enough to keep informed and to converse with others. I’m even in a fantasy football league with some of the guys in our building. For some it borders on idolatry. But I try to keep it in perspective; it is simply a pastime for me. Even so, I wonder why these die-hard fans use the term old school so often. Do certain players model character that is missing in our day?
Gary Sheffield wrote that Green Packers wide receiver Davante Adams is old school for this comment: “I hate everyone that I play against.” “Although it’s overblown how buddy-buddy athletics are today, “notes Sheffield, “[Adams] is having none of that culture. He spoke this morning about how much he hates everyone he plays against…We’d like to see more quotes like these from everyone so we can get back to believing players take losing as personal as we do.”
If I’m understanding this correctly, Sheffield would like to see more passion in football players that verges on hatred of the opponent, rather than the “buddy-buddy” mentality he encounters on his sports beat. For him, though, old school carries more of a negative connotation.
I identify somehow with old school, but primarily as a positive longing in the hearts of men admiring the exceptional performance in a man competing with other men. Pro scouts talk about a prospect as “a character person.” This is more the exception then the rule. To get a positive grade for “character” is seen as an achievement.
So, what exactly is old school? It certainly points to a player being exceptional and even unique. I would like to be considered old school when it comes to my walk with Jesus. I know that I am “surrounded by…a great cloud of witnesses” (Heb. 12:1) who are definitely old school. They all followed Jesus, who is “the same yesterday and today and forever.” So as followers of Jesus, we might want to be called old school.
First, if hating your enemy is old school, as Sheffield seems to believe, I don’t want to be identified with that attitude. The old can become the new. The old has died, and I am a new man in Christ. He gives me grace to compete but also care.
Second, old school refers to the exceptional character of a person. It seems to highlight the attitude of one who “marches to the beat of a different drummer.” I want to be that way. “Jesus said, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34).
Third, old school can refer to the admired performance of a player. He might not be the most talented, but he works hard at his game – like a “blue collar guy.” I want to be “all in” for Jesus, not necessarily polished, but sincere.
Fourth, while being old school, I sincerely pray that God will give me the discernment and wisdom to be relevant in sharing the good news of Jesus.
If that’s what old school means, I’m in. How about you?