Sunday, April 21, 2024

Sunday Scripture


 Here's another in our ongoing series for Sunday Scripture!  As you may recall, back in 2018, I did a simple study from Rachel Wojo called Everything Beautiful.  You can read about it here: Everything Beautiful Bible reading plan. My answers and input on this series are a combination of what I learned back then, and what I found in looking over the Scriptures now, six years later.  I'm going to attempt to SOAP the passages too, though some of them are longer. [Quick reminder that S stands for Scripture; O stands for observation; A stands for application, and P stands for prayer.]  The passage for this week is Hosea 14:1-9.

S= "O Israel, return unto the LORD thy God, for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity.
"Take with you words, and turn to the LORD: say unto Him, Take away all iniquity and receive us graciously; so will we render the calves of our lips.
"Assyria shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses; neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, Ye are our gods; for in Thee the fatherless find mercy.
"I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely; for Mine anger is turned away from him.
"I will be as the dew unto Israel; he shall grow like the lily, and cast forth his roots like Lebanon.
"His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be like the olive tree, and his fragrance like Lebanon.
"They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive like the grain, and grow like the vine; the scent of it shall be like the wine of Lebanon.
"Ephraim shall say What have I to do any more with idols?  I have heard him, and observed him; I am like a green fir tree.  From Me is thy fruit found.
"Who is wise, and he shall understand these things?  Prudent, and he shall know them?  For the ways of the LORD are right, and the just shall walk in them; but the transgressors shall fall in them."  (Hosea 14:1-9)

O= This last chapter of the book of Hosea is titled by Scofield: "Israel's future blessing, when God's anger is turned away."

Hosea is entreating Israel to return to the Lord.  They have fallen by their own iniquity.  Hosea encourages them to turn to the Lord with words of repentance:

πŸƒ Take away all iniquity
πŸƒ Receive us graciously
πŸƒ We will offer the sacrifices of our lips
πŸƒ Assyria will not save us
πŸƒ We will not make idols and worship them;
πŸƒ In You, the fatherless find mercy.

If they would do this, God said he would:

πŸƒ heal their backsliding
πŸƒ love them freely
πŸƒ turn away His anger.

God would be like the dew to Israel:

πŸƒ Israel would grow like the lily
πŸƒ his roots would lengthen
πŸƒ his branches would spread
πŸƒ his beauty would resemble an olive tree
πŸƒ he would be fragrant like Lebanon
πŸƒ Those who dwelt in the shelter of this tree would return, be revived, and grow like a vine.

God would observe Ephraim and hear them say: "What have I to do anymore with idols?"  Their fruit would now be found in Him.

There's a conclusion in verse 9:

Who is wise, and shall understand these things?
Who is prudent, and shall know these things?
The ways of the LORD are right.
The just shall walk in the ways of the LORD,
but transgressors will fall therein.

Cross-references for "return" (v.1) -- "Therefore turn thou to thy God; keep mercy and justice; and wait on thy God continually."  (Hosea 12:6)

"Therefore also, now, saith the LORD, turn even to Me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning;
"And tear your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God; for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth Him of the evil."  (Joel 2:12-13)

"Calves of our lips" (v.2) means "praise of our lips."

Cross-references for this phrase: "I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify Him with thanksgiving.  This also shall please the LORD better than an ox or bullock that hath horns and hoofs."  (Psalm 69:30-31)

"By Him, therefore, let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually; that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name."  (Hebrews 13:15)

Warren Wiersbe explains, "God does not want our material sacrifices so much as the 'sacrifices of our lips'.  He wants to hear words from our hearts that are honest and sincere, and He wants to see faith that depends on His mercy alone."

Cross-references for "not save us" (v.3) -- "Ephraim is like a silly dove without heart; they call to Egypt, they go to Assyria."  (Hosea 7:11)

"Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity, ye have eaten the fruit of lies; because thou didst trust in thy way, in the multitude of thy mighty men."  (Hosea 10:13)

"Ephraim feedeth on wind, and followeth after the east wind; he daily increaseth lies and desolation; and they do make a covenant with the Assyrians; and oil is carried into Egypt."  (Hosea 12:1)

Cross-reference for "backsliding" (v.4): "O LORD, though our iniquities testify against us, do it for Thy name's sake, for our backslidings are many; we have sinned against Thee."  (Jeremiah 14:7)

Cross-reference for "love them freely" (v.4) -- "To the praise of the glory of His grace, through which He has made us accepted in the Beloved." (Ephesians 1:6)

Note from Scofield concerning verses 4-8 -- "Hosea closes his book with the heartening word of forgiveness.  When Israel responds to the LORD's loving plea to return to Him (v.1-3), then will follow the gracious healing of their backsliding, the free bestowal of His love, the turning away of His anger, the future blessing of His restoration, and their final repudiation of idolatry (v.4-8)."

Cross-references for "dew" (v.5) -- "My root was spread out by the waters, and the dew lay at night upon my branch."  (Job 29:19)

"The king's wrath is like the roaring of a lion, but his favor is like dew upon the grass."  (Proverbs 19:12)

Cross-reference for "beauty shall be like the olive tree" -- "But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; I trust in the mercy of God forever and ever."  (Psalm 52:8)

Cross-reference for "from Me is thy fruit found" (v.8) -- "Abide in Me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can ye, except ye abide in Me."  (John 15:4)

A = Warren Wiersbe comments in With the Word: "We can always heed God's loving call to repentance.  If we return to Him, He will receive us (14:2-3), restore us (14:4) and revive us (14:5-9).  The desert will become a beautiful garden where the roots go deep.  Instead of ugliness, there will be beauty; instead of a stench, there will be fragrance.  What a difference it makes when we obey Him!"

For this Scripture, there were a number of ways to apply it as prompted in the journal.  

"Abiding in the Lord is the way to live beautifully." -- Rachel Wojo

The question was asked: What season or circumstance in life challenges me to see God's gifts of beauty?

My response in 2018: I'm finding that physical pain, and issues with the everyday functions of physical life, really challenge me to see God's gifts of beauty.

Answering this same question in 2024

I added:  Mud season in New Hampshire is always a challenge for me.

This prompt was given, along with a list: Today I will keep my eyes open for God's beauty in one or more of these places.

These are the places I circled: The words I read; the places I go; the music I hear; the air I breathe; the weather I experience; the rest I receive.

In 2024 I can note that I've enjoyed reading some beautiful verses of poetry this week, all pointing to the beauty of God's creation.

For the places I go, I noted what a blessing it is to serve at The Wilds of New England.  Such a beautiful place!

This photo is from last spring at TWNE.

 For the music I hear,  and the people I see, I noted that I was listening to You Are God Alone by Mac Lynch.  A most encouraging recording.

For the weather I experience, I noted: We had two gorgeous sunny days this week!  One of them was in the 70s!!

That pink square closest to the bottom right of my temperature blanket in progress -- represents that one day it was 72ΒΊ.

And for the rest I receive, I noted that we always sleep so well at our little camp.  And we're so grateful.

A journaling prompt was this: List one or more ideas to remind myself to intentionally look for God's beauty throughout the day.

My response in 2018:  Look out the window.  A big snowstorm is expected today, which will beautifully showcase God's power in creation, as well as illustrating salvation.  Go out and walk on the porch if possible, breathing deeply.  Enjoy the color and form of fruits and vegetables.

My response in 2024: Appreciate the colors and texture of yarn in a project I'm crocheting (that would be the temperature blanket above).  Take time (as we did) to view the recent solar eclipse.

P= "Lord, I pray that You will help me today to see Your beauty all around me.  I know that it is here all the time.  I'm so easily distracted by physical pain (and, in 2024, by perceived failures of the past)!  I pray that You will help me to see beyond these things and to appreciate your beauty and goodness instead.

I thank and praise You that Your grace is more than sufficient for every difficulty I face, as well as for every moment of my life that I may perceive as a failure. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen."

And there is the Sunday Scripture for this week!  I'd love some input on this series so far.  I hope more of you will share your thoughts with me!  


  1. I love how you study the Word, Sarah, and there is so much meat to feast on in the OT prophets and their exhortations! Your temperature blanket is beautiful! We are enjoying lovely spring days here, it is an exciting time of year. Many blessings to you!

  2. Marilyn, thank you so much for this insightful comment. I truly appreciate your insights!

    And yes, the temperature blanket is such a fun project. I'm doing it as a sort of stitch-along with both of my daughters and one granddaughter. My daughters and I are using the same color values, while my granddaughter (age 8) is using brighter colors. The three of them are doing the more traditional striped style of temperature blanket. I chose the granny square variation as it is quicker and produces a smaller blanket.


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