Hosea 1:1-3:5 ~ 1 John 5:1-21 ~ Psalm 124:1-8 ~ Proverbs 29:5-8
Today is the 5th day of December. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I’m Brian. It is great to be here with you. Greetings to everyone who is just arriving back in your homes, wherever you come from, landing in the United States today from the amazing, amazing tour that we had in the land of the Bible. It’s great to be here with you diving into this week, and as we move ourselves fully into this week, we move into a brand new book and start speeding up here at the end of the year. It gets really fast at the very end. As we move through the books of the minor prophets we move quickly and as we move through the smaller letters in the New Testament we move quickly.
Introduction of a New Book (Old Testament)
We’re at the book of Hosea. Now, the theme of marriage is used often in the Bible to represent God’s love for his people and what that is like to be in a relationship with God, especially in the Old Testament between God and those he was in covenant with, the children of Israel. It is a fitting metaphor because we often find God’s people off with other lovers. We’ve been through this all year. They’ve been committing adultery, as it were.
So God’s reaction to this in that light is very understandable, as a scorned lover who deeply loves and cares for his love lost. Nowhere in all the Bible is this more clearly presented than in the book of Hosea, a book of prophesy, because God asks Hosea to use his very life as living prophesy. He instructs him to marry a prostitute named Gomer and this represents the idolatry, adultery, and harlotry of Israel. The couple have children and each child is given a prophetic name that speaks directly to Israel. And then Gomer, Hosea’s former prostitute wife, she is unfaithful. So Hosea divorces her as God thrusts away Israel and then in an about face, Hosea goes in pursuit of Gomer once again. And this woman, who has been unfaithful, who has played the harlot, actually has to be purchased back, which Hosea does, representing God’s passion for his people, even to the point of rescuing and buying back that which he loves. It’s a beautiful picture of God’s love for us.
We also get a good picture of our betrayal and what that looks like when we chase after other loves. Most of us have experienced a broken heart or had a sense of betrayal in our lives and the book of Hosea gives us a good picture of what that looks like from God’s eyes.
So we begin, reading from The Message this week, Hosea chapter 1 verse 1 through 3 verse 5.
This passage in Hosea is one of the most bittersweet, beautiful passages in all of the Bible to me. There is another passage like this in the book of Ezekiel and we talked about that when we were there, but the description here is so personal and so understandable. Whether we have been through the betrayal of adultery, and I know a lot of us have, but whether we’ve been through that or not, we know what it is like to feel betrayal. If we were to consider it, we could understand the ravaging, tormented heart and emotions of finding out that somebody we love with all our heart and gave ourselves to wasn’t nearly as all-in as we were and we find out that the reality that we had hoped in is not real at all and everything is upside down. Those of you have gone through this, you know what I’m talking about, and those of you who haven’t, you can imagine just the rollercoaster of emotions, the instability of finding this kind of information out, the way that it reframes life as you knew it. Everything is upside down and then it goes right side up. It’s like being in a washing machine.
God is describing this kind of emotion. We see the back and forth. We see the shock and then we see the anger and then we see the love that still remains and then we see the anger. Then we see the disbelief and then we see the hope of rescue and then we see the resolve and determination to find a way. It is like God is saying you have cheated on me. I have been faithful to you. You have cheated on me. You have betrayed our covenant, our trust. You have gone off and not just fallen in love with somebody else, but have been all over the place. There is this song by the band U2 and the lyrics are you’ve been all over and it’s been all over you. That is what we’re talking about here. God looking at his people and saying you’ve been all over and it’s been all over you. He is heartbroken. He’s not just raging. He’s heartbroken.
This particular passage, along with the one in Ezekiel, actually completely changed my understanding of this concept of a vengeful, raging God in the Old Testament. As I grew up, I never really liked the Old Testament. It was just this angry God. Now I realize as I have grown to know God and know the scriptures that is not fair. A person who has found out that the one they loved enough to die for has been cheating on them, yeah, they go through a range of emotions. So God is being very open and he is articulating emotions that we can wrap our head around and understand to say this is how I’m feeling. And it for me brought the Father so close. Like, oh my! I see now and I see how I’ve contributed and I don’t ever want to feel that way again. I am not going to be unfaithful.
So may we understand that God is not aloof, distant, some kind of gray cloud hanging out in the corner of our lives that we can invoke and try to use as some sort of magic. We’re invited into the relationship that we were made to have with God. May we understand that our choices matter. They matter to the heart of God who loves us beyond words.
Father, we invite you into that by first saying we are so guilty. We have certainly been guilty and so all we can do is come back humbly and fall before you in shame, knowing that you will wipe that shame away. But we can own the fact that we have played this role. We have done these things and we can feel the weight of it on your heart while asking you to forgive us and take us back. And you do. You do. Your love is beyond words. It is beyond description. It is beyond vocabulary in any language. And so we thank you. And we return once again inviting your life and your love into us, the Spirit of Christ spoken of in 1 John inside of us, transforming us. Come Holy Spirit, we pray. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Www.DailyAudioBible.com is the website. It’s home base. It’s where you find out what is going on around here. It’s the Christmas Box. It’s Christmastime.
I’m delirious. I’m faking it. I’m tired as can possibly be from the journey and that will go on for a few days. It’s just weird. You get back from something like that and you have to find the rhythm of your life again because it has been disrupted in all kinds of good ways but all kinds of challenging ways too, like jet lag, just having your days and nights backwards, trying to find the rhythm again because you’re changed and you have to find the new normal. So there is this kind of in between period where you’re like I don’t know where I belong. And it takes some time. So on the one hand to kind of be in the land of the Bible during the beginning of the holiday season, even to go to the Church of the Nativity that is the flashpoint for Christmas, is so different than coming back into the Western culture and all of the feelings that Christmas evokes. I’m trying to give myself a little bit of space to kind of move into that.
The Christmas Box is something that we bring out at Christmastime because it is full of things that are resources that are helpful, things that are meant to be given away and things that are meant to be kept. So that is available.
The Promised Land double DVD is in the Christmas Box this year, so all of the places that we just were are contained there as well as many, many others. It’s four hours of content, just immersing one’s self in the land of the Bible and in the places where the stories in the Bible happened. So that is in there.
And then Bible Stories About Jesus, the double CD project that we did this year, the entire reading of the book of Mark using age-appropriate translations for children is there. I’ve got a little baby. Well, he’s not a baby. He’s 4, but he’s my baby, Ezekiel. I just remember trying to read the book of Mark like I was reading it as a bedtime story and he helped me a little bit and my wife, my daughter helped me a little bit to create that project. So that is included.
Then the Family Christmas project which I listened to as I went to sleep nearly every night while over in Israel because it is contemplative, it’s soft, and it’s easy to just sit back and take in, I put that on at night to help me go to sleep because every day was like sensory overload where your mind wants to race, but your body is desperate for rest and it was helpful. That is included.
My wife Jill’s project that we released this year is included.
My latest book Reframe, From the God We’ve Made to God With Us is also included as well as the corresponding films that we created for small group study and just personal enrichment. That DVD is included. This is the last time that will be available so that is in the Christmas Box this year and that is the last time that will be available.
Then your choice of Windfarm coffee or our Windfarm tea, either our Windfarm house blend that we’ve created or the English Breakfast tea which we find to be very satisfying, that is included. Your choice.
A pack of 20 of the 2016 Daily Audio Bible Christmas cards with the corresponding envelopes and everything, that is included.
And then the Daily Audio Bible Christmas Bulb that is only ever available in the Daily Audio Bible Christmas Box and this year it has the word for the year – healthy – on it. Like I’ve been saying, every year we’ve done this, I’ve gotten one for each year on my tree and it reminds me of each journey through the scriptures. So it reminds me of that but it also reminds me of you, of this community. That is on my Christmas tree and it makes me think of what God has done among us and how his faithfulness has been so true all of these years, so that is in the Christmas Box as well. So check it out at www.DailyAudioBible.com in the Shop.
We always end up selling out of these, so I’m just encouraging you that if you are like, yep, I’m going to give that away. Or yep, there is some stuff in there I want and there is some stuff I’m going to give away, get it while you can at www.DailyAudioBible.com.
And then I mentioned, was it yesterday or was it 10 days ago? I don’t know. Everything is backwards right now. The More Gathering is coming up this April. (It’s so weird. I’m telling you. I can’t even imagine. I’m so turned around with jet lag, but all these things are coming.) We do this every year, a women’s conference. It’s called the More Gathering for Women. It’s epic. It’s an unbelievable experience. If you’ve known someone who has gone, they can tell you about it. If you haven’t, come. I mean, even if you’re going to come alone. The Daily Audio Bible is this interesting thing. Even when you think you’ve come alone, you are immediately not alone. It makes for a great gift. It makes for a great gift for the woman in your life or the sister or the best friend or whatever. It is just amazing. So we have advance pricing for the holidays at www.DailyAudioBible.com. You can find the More Gathering in the Events section or in the Initiatives section. You’ll find it if you’re looking for it. It’s pretty easy. All of the details, everything that you would want to know about it, that is at www.DailyAudioBible.com. So check that out here for the holiday season as well.
If you want to partner with the Daily Audio Bible as we move ourselves toward the end of the year, I run out of ways to say thank you and I run out of ways to say I’m humbled, because I think those are the words. Those are the words. The Daily Audio Bible rose up out of the dust of the Internet and became a community and it has only ever been this family affair that we’ve done together and we’ve only ever been able to do it because we’ve done it together, so thank you for your partnership in helping Daily Audio Bible exist at all and continue into the new year that is right out in front of us. Thank you humbly and profoundly. There is a link. It’s on the home page of www.DailyAudioBible.com. If you use the Daily Audio Bible App, you can push the More button in the lower right-hand corner. Or if you prefer, the mailing address is P.O. Box 1996, Spring Hill, TN 37174.
And, as always, if you have a prayer request or comment, (877) 942-4253, that is the number to dial.
And that’s it for today. Thank you for your prayers over everyone who took the journey to Israel because I’m sure I’m not alone, I’m sure everyone is kind of in the same boat to some degree. I mean, those who maybe came from the UK, they just had a couple hours of difference so not so much. But for those who traveled from the United States or South America or New Zealand or Australia, yeah, I’m sure there is some of what I’m going through going on. The melancholy of it all, the bittersweetness of it all, the fatigue of it all, the heart that is so full it is bursting and now can kind of begin to seep out and be involved in the changes in our lives, all of that. We thank you for your prayers.
And that is it for today. I’m Brian. I love you. I’ll be waiting for you here, maybe jet-lagged, but I’ll be waiting for you here tomorrow.
Community Prayer Requests and Praise Reports
Hi family. This is He Sings Over Me in South Carolina. You know, he sings over you, too. Anyway, just a thought there to revel in, I guess, that he is singing over you. But my call is to encourage the city of Pittsburgh. So if you are listening and you are in the city of Pittsburgh, I just wanted to let you know that I am praying for a revival in your city. I grew up in Southern California and I’m here in the south as an adult raising all my children here, but Pittsburgh, you have my heart. I don’t know why, I believe it’s the Lord’s heart. But that’s all. I just want to encourage you. Father God, I pray right now for a revival in Pittsburgh. I thank you, Jesus, that I don’t have to physically be there to pray that and I stand in the gap for those who might be feeling discouraged, might be having a dark day today. The Christians that know you, Lord, I just pray that you to light a fire under them that burns much brighter than the fires that we are dealing with here on the mountain, that it would be a spiritual fire, Jesus. So I pray this and I lift this up to you, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Hello, may name is Margaret. I have a prayer request. I moved from Utah to here in Arizona and I was planning on taking care of my parents, but things are not going the way I wanted and financially I am starting to hurt and it is getting scary. So I got me a grocery store place that I started working, but I’m 60 years old and I got this job where I don’t think I can handle it. It’s a lot of lifting. Things are like 50 pounds and I can’t pick them up and I’m not computer savvy, so finding a job is really hard. It’s on a reservation, Indian reservation, so I don’t have very much to go by. I really do need prayer. I wish that I could stay home and take care of my parents, but financially I cannot. So I really do need prayer. I try to have the faith but sometimes I go down and I get scared. I know that fear is not from the Lord, but it’s hard to hang in there. But I wanted to try to live here for a year. I don’t want to give up. So please pray for me that I’ll get a better job for myself. Thank you very much. Bye-bye.
Hi family. This is Salvation is Mine. I am calling because I’m on the DAB website and looking at a message from Paul F. from Barcelona, Spain who says he is leaving the group because he has felt that no one has been moved to pray with him for the poor children being butchered in Aleppo in regard to the racism and everything else that is going on there. Paul, I just want you to know that even though you may have not heard your prayer come through or heard someone specifically call out your name and for what you’re praying for, please know we are praying for all oppressed, all the people being butchered because of their race and being condemned with hatred all over this world. That includes the children of Aleppo. We have not forgotten them. Please know that our Lord Jesus Christ hears our cry just as God heard the cry of the Hebrew children in Israel when they were enslaved by Pharaoh. Please know that prayers are being sent up for all, for the Muslims, for the single mothers, for the gays and lesbians, for the Christian democrats, for, even though you said grim, the democrats, the immigrants, the complicated people, the autistic, the transgender people, the druggies, the adulterers. Lord Jesus, we just come before you. We lift all of these things that Paul has placed here on the DAB website up to you and we ask you to bless Paul in a mighty way with his continued fight for the children of Aleppo. We ask, Lord Jesus, that you just grant him peace and mercy in his heart, that he knows that there are people out here praying for them and praying with him. In Jesus’ name, I say thank you and amen. Paul, please don’t leave the group. Please post more on the DAB web page and I guarantee you, I will talk to you.
Good morning, guys. This is Jen in SoCal, aka Prayer Warrior Princess. Father, we are putting the beloved friends who are on the Israel trip at the foot of your throne. They are about to return home and we know that the enemy’s plans are to steal, kill and destroy, to assault their senses and their spirit as soon as they even start thinking it is time to go home let alone get on the planes and arrive back to their real lives and the things that are awaiting them. We know the enemy wants to bombard their thinking, to make them physically sick, to break up their finances and their relationships and to mar the experiences that they have had with you, to make them doubt what has happened and to forget it. Lord, so many other things. I don’t even want to mention them either, so disgusting. The enemy is so disgusting. You are so perfect and so wonderful. The things that you’ve done for these beloved people on this trip are so fantastic and full of splendor. We ask you to be with them, to help them persevere, to steadily plod through whatever you allow as they return home, Father. Strengthen them to face these things. And whatever you’ve given to them on this trip, make it the thing that helps them get through the tests and trials that happen as they return home. Bond them to you, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Hi family. It’s Lauren in Houston. I’m calling in to encourage those who are depressed right now. I’m someone who has struggled with depression historically most of my life and in the past two years the Lord has shown me some things that have really helped, especially about bringing all my thoughts to him. But here’s a prayer that I hope will encourage you that I wrote about one of those times. I’m at the cold floor of a deep well. Looking up, the water is so gray-blue, clean and clear. I can see your face above me and the sunrays rippling in the dear sky. I know you’re pulling me up with immovable arms, but I can’t help thinking through tears of joy and despair, will I make it? Panic is an option, but I know I don’t need to. I’m rising, rising through the weight of deep water. I’m going to make it. You told me that, didn’t you? In the name of Jesus, amen. Hope this encourages you and the Lord is with you all. Much love in Christ.
Hello family Dabbers. I’m Timothy P. from Edinburgh in Scotland. A long time listener but rarely a caller. I was struck today, the 2nd of December, by Tim from Tampa. Tim, you are at a crossroads with your business. Check. You’re seeking wisdom and favor. Check. You’re giving thanks for your wife and your marriage. Check. My wife and I run Love After Marriage workshops and have a passion for supporting Christians in their marriages so I pray for healing and comfort for all those in need. I pray for a renewed vigor for Brian and Jill and all the DAB, especially SarahJane and her packing team with the Christmas Boxes and I pray for my praying partner, Adam, for his elephant prayer list. Jesus, you have won the victory, the healing and the peace of mind and the mercy. Holy Spirit, you are the gift that lifts us and encourages us. I ask you to anoint us all. Father God, you are the King, the Creator. You are the reason that we exist. We praise and worship you. So this is Tim from Edinburgh praying for wisdom and favor on Tim from Tampa. Thanks.