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Hosea 10:1-14:9; Jude 1:1-25; Psalms 127:1-5; Proverbs 29:15-17 (New English Translation)

Hosea 10-14

Israel is Guilty of Fertility Cult Worship

10 Israel was a fertile vine
that yielded fruit.
As his fruit multiplied,
he multiplied altars to Baal.
As his land prospered,
they adorned the fertility pillars.
Their heart is slipping;
soon they will be punished for their guilt.
The Lord will break their altars;
he will completely destroy their fertility pillars.

The Lord Will Punish Israel by Removing Its Kings

Very soon they will say, “We have no king
since we did not fear the Lord.
But what can a king do for us anyway?”
They utter empty words,
taking false oaths and making empty agreements.
Therefore legal disputes sprout up
like poisonous weeds in the furrows of a plowed field.

The Calf Idol and Idolaters of Samaria Will Be Exiled

The inhabitants of Samaria will lament over the calf idol of Beth Aven.
Its people will mourn over it;
its idolatrous priests will wail over it,
because its splendor will be taken from them into exile.
Even the calf idol will be carried to Assyria,
as tribute for the great king.
Ephraim will be disgraced;
Israel will be put to shame because of its wooden idol.
Samaria and its king will be carried off
like a twig on the surface of the waters.
The high places of the “House of Wickedness” will be destroyed;
it is the place where Israel sins.
Thorns and thistles will grow up over its altars.
Then they will say to the mountains, “Cover us!”
and to the hills, “Fall on us!”

Failure to Learn from the Sin and Judgment of Gibeah

O Israel, you have sinned since the time of Gibeah,
and there you have remained.
Did not war overtake the evildoers in Gibeah?
10 When I please, I will discipline them;
I will gather nations together to attack them,
to bind them in chains for their two sins.

Fertility Imagery: Plowing, Sowing, and Reaping

11 Ephraim was a well-trained heifer who loved to thresh grain;
I myself put a fine yoke on her neck.
I will harness Ephraim.
Let Judah plow!
Let Jacob break up the unplowed ground for himself!
12 Sow righteousness for yourselves,
reap unfailing love.
Break up the unplowed ground for yourselves,
for it is time to seek the Lord,
until he comes and showers deliverance on you.
13 But you have plowed wickedness;
you have reaped injustice;
you have eaten the fruit of deception.
Because you have depended on your chariots;
you have relied on your many warriors.

Bethel Will Be Destroyed Like Beth Arbel

14 The roar of battle will rise against your people;
all your fortresses will be devastated,
just as Shalman devastated Beth Arbel on the day of battle,
when mothers were dashed to the ground with their children.
15 So will it happen to you, O Bethel,
because of your great wickedness!
When that day dawns,
the king of Israel will be destroyed.

Reversal of the Exodus: Return to Egypt and Exile in Assyria

11 When Israel was a young man, I loved him like a son,
and I summoned my son out of Egypt.
But the more I summoned them,
the farther they departed from me.
They sacrificed to the Baal idols
and burned incense to images.
Yet it was I who led Ephraim,
I took them by the arm;
but they did not acknowledge
that I had healed them.
I led them with leather cords,
with leather ropes;
I lifted the yoke from their neck,
and gently fed them.
They will return to Egypt!
Assyria will rule over them
because they refuse to repent!
A sword will flash in their cities,
it will destroy the bars of their city gates,
and will devour them in their fortresses.
My people are obsessed with turning away from me;
they call to Baal, but he will never exalt them!

The Divine Dilemma: Judgment or Mercy?

How can I give you up, O Ephraim?
How can I surrender you, O Israel?
How can I treat you like Admah?
How can I make you like Zeboiim?
I have had a change of heart!
All my tender compassions are aroused!
I cannot carry out my fierce anger!
I cannot totally destroy Ephraim!
Because I am God, and not man—the Holy One among you—
I will not come in wrath!

God Will Restore the Exiles to Israel

10 He will roar like a lion,
and they will follow the Lord;
when he roars,
his children will come trembling from the west.
11 They will return in fear and trembling
like birds from Egypt,
like doves from Assyria,
and I will settle them in their homes,” declares the Lord.

God’s Lawsuit against Israel: Breach of Covenant

12 (12:1) Ephraim has surrounded me with lies;
the house of Israel has surrounded me with deceit.
But Judah still roams about with God;
he remains faithful to the Holy One.
12 Ephraim continually feeds on the wind;
he chases the east wind all day;
he multiplies lies and violence.
They make treaties with Assyria,
and send olive oil as tribute to Egypt.
The Lord also has a covenant lawsuit against Judah;
he will punish Jacob according to his ways
and repay him according to his deeds.

Israel Must Return to the God of Jacob

In the womb he attacked his brother;
in his manly vigor he struggled with God.
He struggled with an angel and prevailed;
he wept and begged for his favor.
He found God at Bethel,
and there he spoke with him!
As for the Lord God Almighty,
the Lord is the name by which he is remembered!
But you must return to your God,
by maintaining love and justice,
and by waiting for your God to return to you.

The Lord Refutes Israel’s False Claim of Innocence

The businessmen love to cheat;
they use dishonest scales.
Ephraim boasts, “I am very rich!
I have become wealthy!
In all that I have done to gain my wealth,
no one can accuse me of any offense that is actually sinful.”
“I am the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt;
I will make you live in tents again as in the days of old.
10 I spoke to the prophets;
I myself revealed many visions;
I spoke in parables through the prophets.”
11 Is there idolatry in Gilead?
Certainly its inhabitants will come to nothing!
Do they sacrifice bulls in Gilgal?
Surely their altars will be like stones heaped up on a plowed field!

Jacob in Aram, Israel in Egypt, and Ephraim in Trouble

12 Jacob fled to the country of Aram,
then Israel worked to acquire a wife;
he tended sheep to pay for her.
13 The Lord brought Israel out of Egypt by a prophet,
and due to a prophet Israel was preserved alive.
14 But Ephraim bitterly provoked him to anger;
so he will hold him accountable for the blood he has shed,
his Lord will repay him for the contempt he has shown.

Baal Worshipers and Calf Worshipers to be Destroyed

13 When Ephraim spoke, there was terror;
he was exalted in Israel,
but he became guilty by worshiping Baal and died.
Even now they persist in sin!
They make metal images for themselves,
idols that they skillfully fashion from their own silver;
all of them are nothing but the work of craftsmen!
There is a saying about them:
“Those who sacrifice to the calf idol are calf kissers!”
Therefore they will disappear like the morning mist,
like early morning dew that evaporates,
like chaff that is blown away from a threshing floor,
like smoke that disappears through an open window.

Well-Fed Israel Will Be Fed to Wild Animals

But I am the Lord your God,
who brought you out of Egypt.
Therefore, you must not acknowledge any God but me;
except me there is no Savior.
I cared for you in the wilderness,
in the dry desert where no water was.
When they were fed, they became satisfied;
when they were satisfied, they became proud;
as a result, they forgot me!
So I will pounce on them like a lion;
like a leopard I will lurk by the path.
I will attack them like a bear robbed of her cubs—
I will rip open their chests.
I will devour them there like a lion—
like a wild animal would tear them apart.

Israel’s King Unable to Deliver the Nation

I will destroy you, O Israel!
Who is there to help you?
10 Where then is your king,
that he may save you in all your cities?
Where are your rulers for whom you asked, saying,
“Give me a king and princes”?
11 I granted you a king in my anger,
and I will take him away in my wrath!

Israel’s Punishment Will Not Be Withheld Much Longer

12 The punishment of Ephraim has been decreed;
his punishment is being stored up for the future.
13 The labor pains of a woman will overtake him,
but the baby will lack wisdom;
when the time arrives,
he will not come out of the womb!

The Lord Will Not Relent from the Threatened Judgment

14 Will I deliver them from the power of Sheol? No, I will not!
Will I redeem them from death? No, I will not!
O Death, bring on your plagues!
O Sheol, bring on your destruction!
My eyes will not show any compassion!

The Capital of the Northern Empire Will Be Destroyed

15 Even though he flourishes like a reed plant,
a scorching east wind will come,
a wind from the Lord rising up from the desert.
As a result, his spring will dry up;
his well will become dry.
That wind will spoil all his delightful foods
in the containers in his storehouse.
16 (14:1) Samaria will be held guilty,
because she rebelled against her God.
They will fall by the sword,
their infants will be dashed to the ground—
their pregnant women will be ripped open.

Prophetic Call to Genuine Repentance

14 Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God,
for your sin has been your downfall!
Return to the Lord and repent!
Say to him: “Completely forgive our iniquity;
accept our penitential prayer,
that we may offer the praise of our lips as sacrificial bulls.
Assyria cannot save us;
we will not ride warhorses.
We will never again say, ‘Our gods’
to what our own hands have made.
For only you will show compassion to Orphan Israel!”

Divine Promise to Relent from Judgment and to Restore Blessings

“I will heal their waywardness
and love them freely,
for my anger will turn away from them.
I will be like the dew to Israel;
he will blossom like a lily,
he will send down his roots like a cedar of Lebanon.
His young shoots will grow;
his splendor will be like an olive tree,
his fragrance like a cedar of Lebanon.
People will reside again in his shade;
they will plant and harvest grain in abundance.
They will blossom like a vine,
and his fame will be like the wine from Lebanon.
O Ephraim, I do not want to have anything to do with idols anymore!
I will answer him and care for him.
I am like a luxuriant cypress tree;
your fruitfulness comes from me!

Concluding Exhortation

Who is wise?
Let him discern these things!
Who is discerning?
Let him understand them!
For the ways of the Lord are right;
the godly walk in them,
but in them the rebellious stumble.

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Jude

Salutation

From Jude, a slave of Jesus Christ and brother of James, to those who are called, wrapped in the love of God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ. May mercy, peace, and love be lavished on you!

Condemnation of the False Teachers

Dear friends, although I have been eager to write to you about our common salvation, I now feel compelled instead to write to encourage you to contend earnestly for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. For certain men have secretly slipped in among you—men who long ago were marked out for the condemnation I am about to describe—ungodly men who have turned the grace of our God into a license for evil and who deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

Now I desire to remind you (even though you have been fully informed of these facts once for all) that Jesus, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, later destroyed those who did not believe. You also know that the angels who did not keep within their proper domain but abandoned their own place of residence, he has kept in eternal chains in utter darkness, locked up for the judgment of the great Day. So also Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighboring towns, since they indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire in a way similar to these angels, are now displayed as an example by suffering the punishment of eternal fire.

Yet these men, as a result of their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and insult the glorious ones. But even when Michael the archangel was arguing with the devil and debating with him concerning Moses’ body, he did not dare to bring a slanderous judgment, but said, “May the Lord rebuke you!” 10 But these men do not understand the things they slander, and they are being destroyed by the very things that, like irrational animals, they instinctively comprehend. 11 Woe to them! For they have traveled down Cain’s path, and because of greed have abandoned themselves to Balaam’s error; hence, they will certainly perish in Korah’s rebellion. 12 These men are dangerous reefs at your love feasts, feasting without reverence, feeding only themselves. They are waterless clouds, carried along by the winds; autumn trees without fruit—twice dead, uprooted; 13 wild sea waves, spewing out the foam of their shame; wayward stars for whom the utter depths of eternal darkness have been reserved.

14 Now Enoch, the seventh in descent beginning with Adam, even prophesied of them, saying, “Look! The Lord is coming with thousands and thousands of his holy ones, 15 to execute judgment on all, and to convict every person of all their thoroughly ungodly deeds that they have committed, and of all the harsh words that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” 16 These people are grumblers and fault-finders who go wherever their desires lead them, and they give bombastic speeches, enchanting folks for their own gain.

Exhortation to the Faithful

17 But you, dear friends—recall the predictions foretold by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. 18 For they said to you, “In the end time there will come scoffers, propelled by their own ungodly desires.” 19 These people are divisive, worldly, devoid of the Spirit. 20 But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith, by praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 maintain yourselves in the love of God, while anticipating the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that brings eternal life. 22 And have mercy on those who waver; 23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; have mercy on others, coupled with a fear of God, hating even the clothes stained by the flesh.

Final Blessing

24 Now to the one who is able to keep you from falling, and to cause you to stand, rejoicing, without blemish before his glorious presence, 25 to the only God our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority, before all time, and now, and for all eternity. Amen.

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Psalm 127

Psalm 127

A song of ascents, by Solomon.

If the Lord does not build a house,
then those who build it work in vain.
If the Lord does not guard a city,
then the watchman stands guard in vain.
It is vain for you to rise early, come home late,
and work so hard for your food.
Yes, he can provide for those whom he loves even when they sleep.
Yes, sons are a gift from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb is a reward.
Sons born during one’s youth
are like arrows in a warrior’s hand.
How blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!
They will not be put to shame when they confront enemies at the city gate.

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Proverbs 29:15-17

15 A rod and reproof impart wisdom,
but a child who is unrestrained brings shame to his mother.
16 When the wicked increase, transgression increases,
but the righteous will see their downfall.
17 Discipline your child, and he will give you rest;
he will bring you happiness.

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New English Translation (NET)

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