March 14, 2012

Today you should read: Hosea 9

Good morning JumpStarters! Thank you for being so faithful to God’s Word. Any reports of how JumpStart and your time in the Word are affecting you? I would love to hear about it – comment below and let us know.

If you’re like me, when you read today’s chapter – you walk away with some thoughts and asking some very relevant questions…

• God seems so harsh – that doesn’t seem like the Father I know…
• Will the people of Israel ever learn?
• The price of sin seems so high – are the consequences really this severe?
• How have I been unfaithful to God?

Let’s tackle these thoughts today – one at a time.

God seems so harsh – that doesn’t seem like the Father I know…

When we think about God, we are conditioned to think about His love. Some of this comes from the verses that stick out to us, some from the idea that this is what we like to think about when it comes to God. The reality is – God is love. If you cut His heart open, it would bleed love – in fact it did.

God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real loved—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. 1 John 4:9-10

God is also just. He’s as much justice as He is mercy – as much truth as He is grace.

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

He’s the perfect balance of both and knows EXACTLY what we need and when we need it. He’s the model dad.

Will the people of Israel ever learn?

Maybe a better question is – Will people ever learn? The answer: yes, some day. If you are a true follower of Jesus, you will be made complete when you stand before Him.

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Philippians 1:6

As for non-believers in Jesus…

…that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:10-11

The price of sin seems so high – are the consequences really this severe?

Yes – the price of sin was so high that it cost Jesus His life on the cross. Sin must be paid for, and God poured out His wrath on His Son on the cross. That’s why it was so cruel.

What about in our lives?

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. Galatians 6:7

This brings us to our last question…

How have I been unfaithful to God?

The key verse seems to be verse 1:

For you have been unfaithful to your God, — hiring yourselves out like prostitutes, — worshiping other gods…

How have we done this? James calls us adulteresses in chapter 4.

You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. James 4:4

When we choose our sin over our commitment to follow and obey God we are “cheating on Him”.

How is this true in your life? In what ways?

What needs to change?

The children of Israel have paid a huge price for their rebellion and disobedience.

My God will reject the people of Israel
because they will not listen or obey.
They will be wanderers,
homeless among the nations. (v.17)

Sin will ALWAYS take you further than you planned to go, cost you more than you planned to spend, and keep you longer than you planned to stay.

Posted by: Tim Parsons


March 13, 2012

Today you should read: Hosea 8

Here’s a basic summary of chapter 8:

1. The Israelites are unfaithful to God.
2. God is not happy with the Israelites.
3. God warns that He is going to discipline the Israelites.

I’ve found this book to be fairly repetitive and frustrating. It’s not frustrating because it’s repetitive, but because of the Israelite’s repetitive unfaithfulness. I find myself wanting to yell at them and rebuke them. Their rebellion causes me to ask, “Why, you crazy Israelites, do you keep rebelling against God? Don’t you understand how much better it is to live surrendered to God?”

As I ask these questions, I quickly realize that I am similar to the Israelites. I am often rebellious and unfaithful. But, why? What causes me to be unfaithful? Why are the Israelites unfaithful? I think verses 12 and 14 give a couple of huge reasons why.

Verse 12: Though I wrote for him ten thousand precepts of My law, They are regarded as a strange thing. (NASB)

In other words, the Law of the Lord had become a strange thing to them. It had been forgotten. The Israelites had not hidden the precepts of the Lord in their hearts. In fact, the law had been so ignored that it seemed strange for them to consider it. How were they to follow the Lord in obedience unless they followed the precepts of God given in His law? Their lack of desire for God’s law led to great unfaithfulness.

I find the same thing happens in my life when I forget or ignore the Word of God given to us through the Scripture. My life is noticeably different when I am not intentionally reading and meditating on His Word on a consistent basis. I become irritable, prideful, critical of others, and more vulnerable to give into other sin.

Verse 14a: For Israel has forgotten his Maker and built palaces; And Judah has multiplied fortified cities. (NASB)

The Israelites forgot about relying on the Lord as the power source of their lives, and instead, they relied upon their own strength. They built palaces and fortified cities and trusted in them for protection, when God was the real source of protection and power. Their reliance on themselves led to their destruction.

When I forget that the Lord is my source of strength and power, it’s as if I lose my mind. I become filled with worry. I become very performance oriented, as if I have to do good things to keep Him happy with me. I become self-focused and self-centered. Life becomes all about me when I forget my Maker.

This passage challenges me to consistently seek the Lord through His Word and to surrender control of every aspect of my life to Him.


1. Ask God to cause me to desire His Word.
2. Seek to read the Word every day this week.
3. Ask God to reveal areas of my life where I am being self-reliant.
4. Confess those things and surrender complete control to Him right now.

Posted by: Rich Duffield

March 12, 2012

Today you should read: Hosea 7

Have you ever boiled a frog alive? I would assume that you would answer no. Contrary to my country roots I have never done such a thing either. However, the general thought is that if you drop a frog into a pot of boiling water he will jump out immediately but if you put him into a pot with water at a normal temperature and gradually increase the heat he will stay in the pot and be boiled alive. I cannot prove that this anecdote is true but the principal is. Sin is very rarely a sudden explosion in our lives but for most of us it is a slow leak. It happens so suddenly that by the time we realize it has a foothold in our lives, it is doing some major damage.

In Hosea 7:8-13, Ephraim finds itself drawn away from the Lord by other nations. The reason why Israel was not to mix with other nations was not because of prejudice but because other nations worshipped other gods. Israel was to be devoted to Yahweh and Him alone. However, due to their lack of awareness and their utter pride they disobeyed God and found themselves drifting away. How does this happen? A slow drift. Solomon found himself in a similar predicament in 1 Kings 11. He was the wisest king of all time and loved the Lord. God even allowed him to build the temple. Even with all his wisdom Solomon was turned away from the Lord by all of his foreign wives. Why? Because of the slow leak of sin. His flesh caused him to disobey God and he found himself turned away from the Lord.

So what can we learn?

• First, we must be aware of sin. It is not acceptable to play the ignorance card. We have been given the word of God and many of us have more than one Bible. As we read the word of God we become keenly aware of the sin in our heart and the overwhelming love and mercy of God in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

• Second, we must repent. As we become aware of the sin in our lives we must repent. Repentance is seeking forgiveness and then taking the steps to change. Repentance should not be seen as drudgery but a blessing and a privilege. It is because of the gospel that we have the ability to repent.

Thought for the day:

“Sin is like sugar covered poison. It tastes delicious but it will kill you.” ~ Dr. Stuart Scott

Posted by: Chad Wiles

March 10, 2012

Today you should read: Hosea 6:1-11

Come, let us return…

This is exciting! I hope that this Old Testament book is as exciting for you as it is for me. I encourage you to read the background of this book. Read the purpose. Although, we are currently reading bad news…God shows His amazing faithfulness and loving-kindness in this chapter. How so?

Here’s what’s going on: Israel (God’s people) are in rebellion to their covenantal relationship with the Lord. Therefore, God is frustrated, like a parent with a fickle child. He will scatter them to the far reaches of the earth. Israel’s punishment will be severe; God is jealous for His people to seek Him. But, the severe punishment will serve one purpose; to bring His people back to being in love with Him. What an amazing truth! What an amazing God. God loves His people. Listen to this short intro found in the ESV Study Bible; “…but the punishment is not ultimately what the Lord wants for His people; He desires that they leave their fornication and return to the One who first loved them and can indeed provide for their best.” In another place it says, “Hosea depicts Israel’s unfaithfulness…Yet Israel’s unfaithfulness and obstinacy are not enough to exhaust God’s redeeming love that outstrips the human capacity to comprehend.”

Verses 1 – 3 give us the view. They show us that God’s people, although they will be scattered, are still within God’s love and reach.

Today’s “Walk-a-Way”

Here is what these verses say:

“Come, let us return to the LORD.
He has torn us to pieces;
now he will heal us.
He has injured us;
now he will bandage our wounds.
In just a short time he will restore us,
so that we may live in his presence.
Oh, that we might know the LORD!
Let us press on to know him.
He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn
or the coming of rains in early spring.”

In verse 2, other translations say that on the “third day” He will raise us up, after reviving us. This is meaning that He will literally raise us from the dead. God will raise His body (the church; His people) from the dead. He will gather them back from where He scattered them. He will make a way for them to return (v1) to the Lord.

Well, God has done it. He has gathered us back. He has raised His body (the church) from the dead by raising His body (physically) from the dead. That is an amazing idea. He has graciously allowed us to return to Him, and our rebellion was not too much for Him to overcome.

How does this relate to your life today?

Well, your rebellion is not too much for God to overcome. You were not beyond His reach and you are not beyond His reach. He loves you so much. His mercy, love, and power to draw you back to Himself far exceeds your sin. Come back to your Father. Come, let us return.

Shane and Shane sing a song about this exact chapter in Hosea. Listen and let your heart return to the Lord.

Posted by: Sam Cirrincione