Our Father, I would sleep tonight in the knowledge that I will wake on some shore and whether I wake in the land of angels or earthlings, I am grateful you will be near me at the waking and I will offer praise to whatever dawn I see; to whatever world gives me the new light and a warm sun. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.
Daily Archives: July 17, 2021
Romans 1:16-17 (ESV)
The Righteous Shall Live by Faith
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
Hosea 14:2-9 (ESV)
2 Take with you words
and return to the Lord;
say to him,
“Take away all iniquity;
accept what is good,
and we will pay with bulls
the vows of our lips.
3 Assyria shall not save us;
we will not ride on horses;
and we will say no more, ‘Our God,’
to the work of our hands.
In you the orphan finds mercy.”
4 I will heal their apostasy;
I will love them freely,
for my anger has turned from them.
5 I will be like the dew to Israel;
he shall blossom like the lily;
he shall take root like the trees of Lebanon;
6 his shoots shall spread out;
his beauty shall be like the olive,
and his fragrance like Lebanon.
7 They shall return and dwell beneath my shadow;
they shall flourish like the grain;
they shall blossom like the vine;
their fame shall be like the wine of Lebanon.
8 O Ephraim, what have I to do with idols?
It is I who answer and look after you.
I am like an evergreen cypress;
from me comes your fruit.
9 Whoever is wise, let him understand these things;
whoever is discerning, let him know them;
for the ways of the Lord are right,
and the upright walk in them,
but transgressors stumble in them.
“Return…to the Lord” (Hosea 14:2)
In a speech in 1910 about courage and risk taking, U.S. president Theodore Roosevelt said, “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles…The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly…who spends himself in a worthy cause.”
The people of Israel were certainly marred, but not from wars and battles. For them, it was their struggle to stay faithful to the Lord in the midst of much temptation. Too often they had stumbled and given in to sin. But rather than sit on the sidelines and criticize them, God calls them to get back up and keep fighting: “You have collapsed through your guilt,” he says through Hosea. “Return…to the Lord, you God” (Hosea 14:2). He makes it clear that God is with them, ready to forgive and restore them.
As we walk through life, we, too, will struggle with sin and temptation. There will be moments when our faces will be marred. There will be times when we won’t feel like fighting the battle anymore. It’s so much easier to give in! But this is when we can remember the “worthy cause” we are fighting for: our relationship with the Lord and the building of his kingdom. There is nothing more precious and noble!
Listen to what God has promised to do for us every time we turn back to him: “I will heal their defection…love them freely…be like the dew for Israel” (Hosea 14:5-6). He is always ready to flood us with love at our weakest and messiest moments. No matter how often we do it, when we reach out to God, he will help us.
Remember too that God has also decided to spend himself on a worthy cause: you! Your heavenly Father, whose power is made perfect in weakness, has a reservoir of grace, compassion, and strength waiting for you. All you have to do is repent and ask.
Father, thank you for your mercy and love, which are new every day. Be with me today; help me stay true to you. Amen.