Cover to Cover
Jesus had natural brothers and sisters, siblings from his parents, Joseph and Mary. One is James, the leader of the Jerusalem church. Another is Jude, whom we believe to have written this book of the New Testament. Jude, like many early Christian leaders and like many leaders today, have to spend some time debunking false doctrine and warning our followers of false teachers. These false teachers would infiltrate churches, spreading their beliefs to the church members, even though it went against the teaching of the pastors and church leaders. The same happens today.
Jude says in verse 8, “these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries.”
1. To defile the flesh means to indulge in sinful pleasures. God is holy, and He has called us to walk in His ways, to be consecrated to Him. In His ways are life, joy, and peace.
2. To reject authority was to come against the teaching or instruction of God, your pastor, or church leaders.
3. To speak evil of dignitaries (glorious ones), is to speak against angels.
In verse 10, Jude says, “these speak evil of whatever they do not know and whatever they know naturally. There have always been and there will always be people who lift themselves in pride and talk as if they know, but they don’t know. In an effort to keep a church in line with solid Bible doctrine, church leaders, like Jude, have to bring correction.
In verse 11, Jude uses the word error. In the Greek, this word means “to wander, to stray.” Often error starts off as having a small degree of difference, but if left unchecked, that small error could possible lead someone in a direction, that over time, takes them farther and farther away from truth.
These people are grumblers and complainers. In a local church, there are often people who like to look for fault. They may leave, and they may share their complaints to cause other people to leave. There are those who flatter people to gain advantage, especially those who lack confidence in their true value, hungry for validation, and will be drawn towards manipulation. They also go after people with a high mercy gift, those who will love them and receive them, overlooking their wrong behavior. When they attach to such ones, they are like a spider, pulling them into their web of deceit. They are often successful, especially when the spiritual leader is away from the church, thus, the need for a letter, as Jude.
Verse 18, Jude mentions mockers who cause division in a local church, scorning the pastors or church leaders, coming against those who know the truth.
BUT YOU, beloved… Jude is talking to those within the realm of his authority and care, this is what Jude encourages them to do:
1. Build yourself up in your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, or in tongues.
2. Keep yourselves in the love of God.
3. Use discernment for showing compassion. Some would feel sorry for the devil himself. If someone is in error, be careful not to feel pity for them. FYI, some people will look for pity or compassion as a way to manipulate and hold onto relationships. They focus on how hard they have it or how much they do that goes unrewarded.
4. Use discernment and save some, but with fear or with care, pulling them out of the fire of wrong thinking, wrong feeling, wrong behavior, or wrong teaching. When correcting someone, be careful to embrace truth and holiness, without compromise.
Jude ends with praise to God, acknowledging that HE is able to keep us from stumbling or getting off track. To God be the glory for keeping us pure from sin and free from untruths.
Hosea was a prophet the Lord called to deliver a message and convey the heart of God for the unfaithfulness of the Jewish people. God called Hosea to live out his message by marrying a woman who would be unfaithful to him. Her name is Gomer. One thing I notice about this book is how often the Lord shares His heart to be known (2:20; 4:6, 14; 5:4; 6:3,6; 14:9). God is love, and love has passion. God is passionate towards people, and He wants that love to be reciprocated in commitment. In 4:1, God says there was no knowledge of Him in the land, and in verse 6 He says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” We often take this verse out of context, to say in general, that if we do not gain revelation knowledge of what God has for us, then we are going to lack or be destroyed. While there is truth in that statement, in context, God is saying that people are destroyed for not knowing HIM. They’ve not known His truth; they’ve not known His mercy. Instead, they’ve turned away from the God and worshipped idols.
Hosea also had three children with this unfaithful wife, and these children were also part of living out God’s message. The children were named Jezreel (God will sow), Lo-Ruhamah (no mercy), and Lo-Ammi (Not my people).
Jezreel is mentioned in 2:22 where God talks about intentionally sowing, or scattering, His people, like a farmer intentionally tosses seed into the earth. This is actually prophetic of how God has moved the Jews into nations all over the earth, often through captivity or adversity.
Lo-Ruhamah, meaning “no mercy” and Lo-Ammi, meaning “not my people” are referred to in 2:1 when God says to Hosea to say his brothers, “my people” and to his sisters, “mercy is shown.” God’s message is that from His covenant union with Israel and Judah, what is produced is mercy and belonging. Their sin caused a separation, but God’s desire was to reconcile with the people with His great love. And in 2:23 God mentions mercy and becoming his people once again. This is prophetic of their scattering and regathering as well.
In 2:8, God says people have taken what He created and took it to worship Baal. Baal is a word that means “lord or master, possessor, owner, obtainer, and husband.” Baal was also a Canaanite god whose worship had drawn some of Israel into idolatry. In 2:16-17, God no longer wants to be called Baal, in association with a false deity that controls and dominates. Instead God wants to be called Ishi, meaning husband, but with more emphasis on a loving relationship.
As we begin to read Hosea, let’s see the heart of our Father coming through these pages. Let’s understand how He feels betrayed by those He loves. Imagine the hurt he feels when His people give their heart and worship to another, choosing to live opposite of His holy ways. Christians today are no different. Think of how our God doesn’t give up on us, continuing to be faithful to us, even though we have been unfaithful to him (2 Timothy 2:13). God’s love is unending. It’s a love we should accept, receive, and develop in. As we mature in His love, the more whole we become, and the more of God we come to know.