Sow For Yourself

Sow For Yourself

Hosea 10:12-13

Sow for yourselves righteousness;
    reap steadfast love;
    break up your fallow ground,
for it is the time to seek the Lord,
    that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.

You have plowed iniquity;
    you have reaped injustice;
    you have eaten the fruit of lies.
Because you have trusted in your own way
    and in the multitude of your warriors,

 When Hosea became a prophet, the first thing he was instructed to do by God was to make a prostitute his wife.  He was then told to have children with his adulterous wife.  This was to signify how Israel had whored after false Gods, seeking pleasures of the flesh over the love of righteousness. These two verses are another example of self responsibility and the individual having to bear the consequences of their actions.

In verse twelve Hosea speaks of reaping what you sow.  You sow righteousness and you reap steadfast love, and if you plow iniquity, you reap what you perceive as injustice.  These consequences are the results of your actions.

Hosea says that after reaping injustice, we then eat the fruit of our own lies.  This is when we rationalize away our sin and deny that the consequences we suffer are from our own doings.  We trust our arrogance and pride.  We believe that the consequences are just random acts of the universe and have nothing to do with our actions and decisions.

We also believe and eat the lies of others.  We believe others who tell us that it’s not our fault and that our consequences are the result of the actions of others.  We love the victim, for it allows us to deceive ourselves and absolve ourselves of bad decisions, questionable actions, and sin.

It all comes down to the first line in verse 12:

Sow for yourselves righteousness;

Sow for yourself.  You, take care of your spiritual well-being.  You, are responsible for you, you and you alone.  When you take care of yourself and seek God and righteousness, then you reap love.  Then you find the love of God and the love of others.

© Otis P Smith and About the Groove, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Otis P Smith and About the Groove with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

If The Root Is Holy

If The Root Is Holy

Romans 11:16

If the dough offered as first fruits is holy, so is the whole lump, and if the root is holy, so are the branches.

I took some time to read commentaries by biblical scholars and theologians in regards to this verse.  All of them seemed to deal with civilizations, tribes, congregations, etc..  They were all saying this verse could refer to the church, meaning Christ was the first fruit, the root, thus making the early Christian church holy.  Some of them also referred to the Jews, going back to Abraham as being the first fruit.  And some referred to the Gentiles, who through their acceptance of Christ were the first fruit and were made holy.

I took this on a more personal level, which is how I tend to treat the whole Bible. Continue reading

Don’t Confuse Simple With Easy

Don’t Confuse Simple With Easy

In another post I wrote about Matthew 6:1-18 and how I was struck by the simplicity of Christ’s teachings,  how all the teachings in the Sermon on the Mount boil down to keeping it simple.  Life is simply your relationship with God.

It is a simple philosophy but don’t confuse simple with easy.

Realizing your relationship with God is an ever vigilant lifetime endeavor.  It’s tough and takes work and self discipline.  Not because God made it hard, but because we make it hard with all our worries, cares and sins.

Get it right and everything, the good, the bad and the ugly, which you will always have to deal with, will fall into place. Continue reading

No Bank Account For Good Deeds

No Bank Account For Good Deeds

Ezekiel 33:17-20

“Yet your people say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just,’ when it is their own way that is not just. When the righteous turns from his righteousness and does injustice, he shall die for it. And when the wicked turns from his wickedness and does what is just and right, he shall live by this. Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ O house of Israel, I will judge each of you according to his ways.”

These verses speak to me on a couple of levels.

First, the idea of justice.

Ezekiel talks about the Israelites complaining that God’s justice, or the balance of the universe, doesn’t fit their idea of justice.  I’ve written before about this and the fact that my idea of justice and someone else’s idea of justice are probably two different things.  And so the Israelites say in verse 17, what most of us say today when something happens to us, or others, that we don’t understand.  We say, “There is no justice” and then question God and even God’s existence.  We do this on the basis of things not going the way we thought they should go.  We look to blame something outside of us for what happened.

God answers these petty accusations very effectively:

…when it is their own way that is not just.

Ezekiel and God are talking about personal responsibility, and each of us owning up to and realizing that we are responsible for our actions.  We must face up to the fact that we are responsible for the consequences of our actions.  The perceived injustice of the world, is the injustice we have created and served upon ourselves.

God does not inflict grief upon man.  Man inflicts grief upon man.

In verses 18 and 19, Ezekiel speaks of God’s balance. When the righteous do evil they suffer their grief.  There are no mulligans, or a reserved bank account of good deeds to excuse the evil act and eliminate the consequences.  And vice versa.

Second, each act stands on its own.

This is the third time I have written about this.  This truth is conveyed a number of times in the writings of Ezekiel.

Each act, each decision has its own consequence based on the act.  Every act and decision stands on its own.  If a plane makes 1000 trips without incident, that will not eliminate a catastrophe if the pilot makes a bad decision.  The 1000 safe and non-eventful flights do not somehow make the laws of physics and aerodynamics over look this lapse in judgement.  The consequences of a bad decision will be experienced.

Every action stands on its own.  That is what God and Ezekiel are telling us in verse 20.

I will judge each of you according to his ways.

This is personal responsibility. They are telling us that each of us stands alone, every one of our actions stands alone.  If you do twenty wonderful and righteous things during the course of the day and then do one evil act, the twenty do not cancel out the one.  The consequences of the evil act will still be suffered.

God and Ezekiel are letting us know we are responsible for our actions.  Each and every action is judged by itself.

© Otis P Smith and About the Groove, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Otis P Smith and About the Groove with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Leave The Past Behind

Leave The Past Behind

(This is a previous post, but I thought its sentiments are a good start for 2019.)

The other evening I read 2 Samuel Chapters 11 and 12.  It’s the story of King David, Bathsheba and the price David paid for his sins.

If you’re not familiar with the story here is a recap.

One day King David is up on the roof of his house looking around.  He looks down and sees Bathsheba taking a bath.  She is described as “very beautiful”.  David wants to know who she is.  He asks and is told she is the wife of another man. This doesn’t stop David, he has her brought to him and then next thing you know Bathsheba is pregnant with David’s baby.

David knows that this isn’t going to look good.  The holy king knocking up another man’s wife. Continue reading

Stands On Its Own – Part II

Stands On Its Own – Part II

Ezekiel 33:10-12

“And you, son of man, say to the house of Israel, Thus have you said: ‘Surely our transgressions and our sins are upon us, and we rot away because of them. How then can we live?’ 11 Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?

“And you, son of man, say to your people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him when he transgresses, and as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall by it when he turns from his wickedness, and the righteous shall not be able to live by his righteousness when he sins.

These verses help solidify my belief that the Bible is a manual for the individual. In my previous post, Stand On Its Own, I wrote about these verses, but today I wanted to write some more as I feel strongly about the individual.   Verses like these speak of the individual and how the individual is responsible for their actions.  Although each day circumstances beyond our control are thrown at us, how we respond to those circumstances is what we can control.  Our response is what makes us who we are. Continue reading

The Bible Antiquated?

The Bible Antiquated?

People will tell you that the Bible is antiquated.

What does antiquated mean?

“Very old and no longer useful, popular or accepted: very old fashion, obsolete”

Or how about this definition:

“Outmoded or discredited by reason of age; being out of style of fashion”

Many people do consider the Bible to be very old, no longer popular or accepted.  Many consider it to be out of style and out of fashion.

But to say it is no longer useful or to discredit it by reason of age is foolish.

The Bible is not antiquated. Continue reading