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1 The Lord gave this message to Hosea son of Beeri during the years when Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah were kings of Judah, and Jeroboam son of Jehoash[a] was king of Israel.
2 When the Lord first began speaking to Israel through Hosea, he said to him, “Go and marry a prostitute,[b] so that some of her children will be conceived in prostitution. This will illustrate how Israel has acted like a prostitute by turning against the Lord and worshiping other gods.”
3 So Hosea married Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim, and she became pregnant and gave Hosea a son. 4 And the Lord said, “Name the child Jezreel, for I am about to punish King Jehu’s dynasty to avenge the murders he committed at Jezreel. In fact, I will bring an end to Israel’s independence. 5 I will break its military power in the Jezreel Valley.”
6 Soon Gomer became pregnant again and gave birth to a daughter. And the Lord said to Hosea, “Name your daughter Lo-ruhamah—‘Not loved’—for I will no longer show love to the people of Israel or forgive them. 7 But I will show love to the people of Judah. I will free them from their enemies—not with weapons and armies or horses and charioteers, but by my power as the Lord their God.”
8 After Gomer had weaned Lo-ruhamah, she again became pregnant and gave birth to a second son. 9 And the Lord said, “Name him Lo-ammi—‘Not my people’—for Israel is not my people, and I am not their God.
10 [c]“Yet the time will come when Israel’s people will be like the sands of the seashore—too many to count! Then, at the place where they were told, ‘You are not my people,’ it will be said, ‘You are children of the living God.’ 11 Then the people of Judah and Israel will unite together. They will choose one leader for themselves, and they will return from exile together. What a day that will be—the day of Jezreel[d]—when God will again plant his people in his land.
2 [e]“In that day you will call your brothers Ammi—‘My people.’ And you will call your sisters Ruhamah—‘The ones I love.’
2 “But now bring charges against Israel—your mother—
for she is no longer my wife,
and I am no longer her husband.
Tell her to remove the prostitute’s makeup from her face
and the clothing that exposes her breasts.
3 Otherwise, I will strip her as naked
as she was on the day she was born.
I will leave her to die of thirst,
as in a dry and barren wilderness.
4 And I will not love her children,
for they were conceived in prostitution.
5 Their mother is a shameless prostitute
and became pregnant in a shameful way.
She said, ‘I’ll run after other lovers
and sell myself to them for food and water,
for clothing of wool and linen,
and for olive oil and drinks.’
6 “For this reason I will fence her in with thornbushes.
I will block her path with a wall
to make her lose her way.
7 When she runs after her lovers,
she won’t be able to catch them.
She will search for them
but not find them.
Then she will think,
‘I might as well return to my husband,
for I was better off with him than I am now.’
8 She doesn’t realize it was I who gave her everything she has—
the grain, the new wine, the olive oil;
I even gave her silver and gold.
But she gave all my gifts to Baal.
9 “But now I will take back the ripened grain and new wine
I generously provided each harvest season.
I will take away the wool and linen clothing
I gave her to cover her nakedness.
10 I will strip her naked in public,
while all her lovers look on.
No one will be able
to rescue her from my hands.
11 I will put an end to her annual festivals,
her new moon celebrations, and her Sabbath days—
all her appointed festivals.
12 I will destroy her grapevines and fig trees,
things she claims her lovers gave her.
I will let them grow into tangled thickets,
where only wild animals will eat the fruit.
13 I will punish her for all those times
when she burned incense to her images of Baal,
when she put on her earrings and jewels
and went out to look for her lovers
but forgot all about me,”
says the Lord.
14 “But then I will win her back once again.
I will lead her into the desert
and speak tenderly to her there.
15 I will return her vineyards to her
and transform the Valley of Trouble[f] into a gateway of hope.
She will give herself to me there,
as she did long ago when she was young,
when I freed her from her captivity in Egypt.
16 When that day comes,” says the Lord,
“you will call me ‘my husband’
instead of ‘my master.’[g]
17 O Israel, I will wipe the many names of Baal from your lips,
and you will never mention them again.
18 On that day I will make a covenant
with all the wild animals and the birds of the sky
and the animals that scurry along the ground
so they will not harm you.
I will remove all weapons of war from the land,
all swords and bows,
so you can live unafraid
in peace and safety.
19 I will make you my wife forever,
showing you righteousness and justice,
unfailing love and compassion.
20 I will be faithful to you and make you mine,
and you will finally know me as the Lord.
21 “In that day, I will answer,”
says the Lord.
“I will answer the sky as it pleads for clouds.
And the sky will answer the earth with rain.
22 Then the earth will answer the thirsty cries
of the grain, the grapevines, and the olive trees.
And they in turn will answer,
23 At that time I will plant a crop of Israelites
and raise them for myself.
I will show love
to those I called ‘Not loved.’[h]
And to those I called ‘Not my people,’[i]
I will say, ‘Now you are my people.’
And they will reply, ‘You are our God!’”
3 Then the Lord said to me, “Go and love your wife again, even though she[j] commits adultery with another lover. This will illustrate that the Lord still loves Israel, even though the people have turned to other gods and love to worship them.[k]”
2 So I bought her back for fifteen pieces of silver[l] and five bushels of barley and a measure of wine.[m] 3 Then I said to her, “You must live in my house for many days and stop your prostitution. During this time, you will not have sexual relations with anyone, not even with me.[n]”
4 This shows that Israel will go a long time without a king or prince, and without sacrifices, sacred pillars, priests,[o] or even idols! 5 But afterward the people will return and devote themselves to the Lord their God and to David’s descendant, their king.[p] In the last days, they will tremble in awe of the Lord and of his goodness.
5 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ[a] has become a child of God. And everyone who loves the Father loves his children, too. 2 We know we love God’s children if we love God and obey his commandments. 3 Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome. 4 For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. 5 And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.
6 And Jesus Christ was revealed as God’s Son by his baptism in water and by shedding his blood on the cross[b]—not by water only, but by water and blood. And the Spirit, who is truth, confirms it with his testimony. 7 So we have these three witnesses[c]— 8 the Spirit, the water, and the blood—and all three agree. 9 Since we believe human testimony, surely we can believe the greater testimony that comes from God. And God has testified about his Son. 10 All who believe in the Son of God know in their hearts that this testimony is true. Those who don’t believe this are actually calling God a liar because they don’t believe what God has testified about his Son.
11 And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life.
13 I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life. 14 And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. 15 And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.
16 If you see a fellow believer[d] sinning in a way that does not lead to death, you should pray, and God will give that person life. But there is a sin that leads to death, and I am not saying you should pray for those who commit it. 17 All wicked actions are sin, but not every sin leads to death.
18 We know that God’s children do not make a practice of sinning, for God’s Son holds them securely, and the evil one cannot touch them. 19 We know that we are children of God and that the world around us is under the control of the evil one.
20 And we know that the Son of God has come, and he has given us understanding so that we can know the true God.[e] And now we live in fellowship with the true God because we live in fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ. He is the only true God, and he is eternal life.
21 Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts.[f]
1 What if the Lord had not been on our side?
Let all Israel repeat:
2 What if the Lord had not been on our side
when people attacked us?
3 They would have swallowed us alive
in their burning anger.
4 The waters would have engulfed us;
a torrent would have overwhelmed us.
5 Yes, the raging waters of their fury
would have overwhelmed our very lives.
6 Praise the Lord,
who did not let their teeth tear us apart!
7 We escaped like a bird from a hunter’s trap.
The trap is broken, and we are free!
8 Our help is from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
5 To flatter friends
is to lay a trap for their feet.
6 Evil people are trapped by sin,
but the righteous escape, shouting for joy.
7 The godly care about the rights of the poor;
the wicked don’t care at all.
8 Mockers can get a whole town agitated,
but the wise will calm anger.