July 31, 2016

Hosea 5-9 - 
All Israel is thoroughly polluted...bloated by arrogance....when they decide to get their lives together and go off looking for God once again.  They’ll find it’s too late....Israel’s rulers are crooks and thieves, cheating the people of their land...when they finally hit rock bottom, maybe they’ll come looking for me.        

Your declarations of love last no longer than morning mist and predawn dew.  That’s why I use prophets to shake you to attention... 

I’m after love that lasts, not more religion.  I want you to know God, not go to more prayer meetings.  

Every time I gave Israel a fresh start, wiped the slate clean and got them going again, Ephraim soon filled the slate with new sins, the treachery of Samaria written out in bold print.  Two faced and double-tongued...
Instead of crying out to me in heartfelt prayer, they whoop it up in bed with their whores.  Gash themselves bloody in their sex and religion orgies, but turn their backs on me.  

I’m the one who gave them good minds and healthy bodies, and how am I repaid?  With evil scheming!  Predictably, Israel cries out, ‘My God!  We know you!’ But they don’t act like it....I write out my revelation for them in detail and they pretend they can’t read it.  They offer sacrifices to me and then they feast on the meat.  God is not pleased!.... Time’s up.  Doom’s at the doorstep.  It’s payday!  

Did Israel bluster,  The prophet is crazy!  The man of the Spirit is nuts?  Think again.  Because of your great guilt, you’re in big trouble.  The prophet is looking out for Ephraim, working under God’s orders.  But everyone    is trying to trip him up.  He’s hated right in God’s house, of all places. 
Acts 21:40-22:29 -
Standing on the barracks steps,  Paul turned and held up his arms.  A hush fell over the crowd as Paul began to speak. He spoke in Hebrew...When they heard him speaking Hebrew, they grew even quieter.  No one wanted to miss a word of this...

“I am a good Jew...educated here in Jerusalem under the exacting eye of Rabbi Gamaliel And I have always been passionately on God’s side, just as you are right now. I went after anyone connected with this Way, went at them hammer and tongs, ready to kill for God...Then I went off to our brothers in Damascus becoming blinded by the light of Christ.....And that’s when I met Ananias, a man with a sterling reputation in observing our laws-- the Jewish community in Damascus is unanimous on that score....at first I objected...but he said, “Don’t argue.  Go.  I’m sending you on a long journey to outsider non-Jews.”

The people in the crowd had listened attentively up to to this point, but now they broke loose shouting out, Kill him!  He’s an insect!....That is when the captain intervened and ordered Paul taken into the barracks.

By now the captain was thoroughly exasperated.  He decided to interrogate Paul under torture in order to get to the bottom of this, to find out what he had done that provoked this outraged violence.  Paul responded by asking “Is this legal, torturing a Roman citizen without a fair trial?...That put a stop to the interrogation.  And it put the fear of God into the captain.  He had put a Roman citizen in chains and come within a whisker of putting him under torture.