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.

 

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

What’s Wrong With A Census?

What’s Wrong With A Census?

1 Chronicles 21:1-7

Then Satan stood against Israel and incited David to number Israel. So David said to Joab and the commanders of the army, “Go, number Israel, from Beersheba to Dan, and bring me a report, that I may know their number.” But Joab said, “May the Lord add to his people a hundred times as many as they are! Are they not, my lord the king, all of them my lord’s servants? Why then should my lord require this? Why should it be a cause of guilt for Israel?” But the king’s word prevailed against Joab. So Joab departed and went throughout all Israel and came back to Jerusalem. And Joab gave the sum of the numbering of the people to David. In all Israel there were 1,100,000 men who drew the sword, and in Judah 470,000 who drew the sword. But he did not include Levi and Benjamin in the numbering, for the king’s command was abhorrent to Joab.  But God was displeased with this thing, and he struck Israel.

When I first read these verses I didn’t understand why God would be displeased with King David taking a census.  I thought, what is wrong with knowing how many citizens you have to rule.  Countries, including our country, take a census every so many years to determine population growth, changes in demographics, etc.  Where is the sin it this?

Then, as I read it again, I realized David was getting the number of soldiers he had under his command.  Okay, again what’s wrong with that?  Eisenhower needed to know troop strength for both the Allies and the Axis.  What commander wouldn’t want to know this?  That is vital information for strategic and logistical planning.

I also wondered why David’s top commander bulked at this request.  What did he know that David didn’t know?  How did Joab know David was committing a sin? Continue reading

Stands On Its Own

Stands On Its Own

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?’ 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.

Every time I read through the Bible, the more I realize it comes down to personal responsibility.  Each of us is responsible for our lives.  Circumstances vary, forces outside of our control can act upon us, but how we react or how proactive we are is what makes us who we are. Continue reading

Bear The Yoke

Bear The Yoke

Lamentations 3:28-30

Let him sit alone in silence,
    for the Lord has laid it on him.
Let him bury his face in the dust—
    there may yet be hope.
Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him,

    and let him be filled with disgrace.

This post is a follow-up to my post, Waiting For You.  In that post I wrote about verses 25 through 27 which precede the above verses.  I wrote about the long, never-ending journey of seeking the Lord, and how you find the Lord bit by bit each day.  The Lord is always there waiting for us to find God.  The post also referenced, “bearing the yoke” of consequences of your decisions, particularly your bad decisions.  It is better to suffer and learn in your youth when you have time to recover.

In these next three verses, 28 through 30, Jeremiah talks about how bearing the consequences of our actions, we must look inward, take our share of blame and learn.

Let him sit alone in silence,
    for the Lord has laid it on him.

God has given us a conscience and we know what is right and what is wrong.  We have the inherent ability to distinguish between good and evil.  Some of us just choose to ignore it, or allow our hearts to be filled with worldly desires, and ignore the yoke of the consequences.  But those who bear the yoke realized they have wronged and sinned, hurting others and themselves.

To seek righteousness and improve as human beings we must sit alone and place the blame on our shoulders, just as a yoke is placed on an oxen.

Circumstances vary and are outside of our control, but how we react, what we do, is our responsibility.  We can share with others our mistake and seek solace, but the consequences are ours to sit alone in silence and ponder.

Let him bury his face in the dust—
    there may yet be hope.

When we take on this responsibility for our actions and sins, we feel hurt and sorrow that causes us to double over on the inside.  When we let the pain of our sins sink in that deep, we then realize we must correct ourselves and take control of our actions. We must seek God in our heart, find righteousness, and try not to sin again.

We will sin again, but as we learn from the suffering of the consequences there is hope.  We will recover and learn.  We will learn how to avoid sin.  The more you live your life, the more you seek God and righteousness, the better you become at finding God and righteousness.

Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him,
    and let him be filled with disgrace.

Again Jeremiah is lamenting to us to take responsibility for our sins.  Do not shift the blame.  You are responsible for your actions and must learn that the only person who can bring disgrace upon you is you.  No one else can force you to sin. You control you and are responsible for you.  This is the yoke that God has placed on each of us.  Your mistakes and sin are your burden, placed there by you and only you can lift them.

Sit alone in silence, bury your face in the dust, and realize the one who strikes your cheek in disgrace is you.  Then you will begin to learn.

© Otis P Smith and About the Groove, 2018. 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.

Eating The Sour Grapes

Eating The Sour Grapes

Jeremiah 31:29-30

In those days they shall no longer say:

“‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes,
    and the children’s teeth are set on edge.’

But everyone shall die for his own iniquity. Each man who eats sour grapes, his teeth shall be set on edge.

When I read these verses two words came into my head.  We’ll talk about that a little later in this piece.

In ancient times it was thought that the sins of the father, or the “eating of the sour grapes” as referred to in these verses, were paid for by their children and their succeeding generations.  When the Israelites we’re conquered and carried off to Babylon the children were paying for the sins of their fathers.  But many of those children were also eating the sour grapes.  Much like their fathers, the children continued the idolatry and worshiping of false gods.  They continued the abominations practiced by their parents. Continue reading