Lord, I’m very disturbed by my reading in Hosea 9 today. I know I’ve read it before. But today it scares me. For some reason I can’t get to a comfortable “clinical” distance from the text. There’s a little fear in my heart.

Father, in particular, the judgements against Israel scare me. That you were willing to make them so desolate that they would eat unclean foods and miss out on worship. That you were willing to make them barren and take their children. That such loss and pain was worthwhile to you scares me. And, yet, you endured such pain – and more – with Jesus on the cross.

They shall not pour drink offerings of wine to the Lord,
and their sacrifices shall not please him.
It shall be like mourners’ bread to them;
all who eat of it shall be defiled;
for their bread shall be for their hunger only;
it shall not come to the house of the Lord.

Hosea 9:4 (ESV)

It’s nearly unfathomable for me. It’s beyond surreal.

Lord, it scares me because I’m afraid you’re speaking to the Western church through the scriptures. That you’re letting us know what will come if we truly abandon you. And it scares me because I don’t know how much margin is between where we are and the point of judgment.

And it scares me because that judgement was really mercy on your part. It was really discipline in love. That judgement – with all its pain and suffering and loss and death – was given in love that your people might avoid a greater judgement with greater pain and suffering and loss and eternal death.

Lord, move in power that we might turn to you in love and compassion and obedience and truth before you must execute such a judgement against us. Father, may our hearts be turned towards you. May we be sensitive to your leading and your heart.

Father, in your divine providence, order the world in such a way that your people willingly choose you. That we have compassion on those in need – those on the margins, those without resources or advocates. Lord, in your immense love for the world, form us – your people – more completely into your image.

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