April 6



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Hosea 1-2

We are in the Exile Stream starting a new book – Hosea. We are reading from the World English Bible this week.

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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis

What we read of Hosea the Prophet is found almost solely in this book.  There is precious little written about Hosea elsewhere.  He came on the scene just before Isaiah and Micah, and was younger than Amos.  His work of living and prophesying to the north was right around 760 B.C. – 720 B.C.  For what it’s worth, the first stones of the city of Rome were being laid and the first columns and colonnades were being erected as Hosea was beginning his painful years of ministry.  When he began, the northern Kingdom had been split from the south for about 200 years and was at it’s height of power and wealth.  During Hosea’s lifetime it went from it’s height under King Jeroboam II to being decimated as the Assyrian Army ransacked the nation under Israel’s King Hoshea. God had sent Elijah, Elisha, Jonah, and Amos to the north. All four had come from the south. Now he was sending Hosea into ministry – he was from the north. So they may have referred to him as “a local”. Hosea is addressing the nations rampant problem of adultery. They had worshiped an idol of a calf for two centuries and that had long morphed into a horrendous mess. The population in the north was utterly degraded. Hardly a child, nor a home, nor a marriage was intact. Chastity was not valued or protected.  At the rate they were going, it would not be long before God would “vacuum up” THESE particular people and throw them it into the dustbin of history.

Hosea 1 – notice the kings listed here are the same kings listed in Isaiah 1.  From the start, Hosea is ordered to ‘do as the locals’: have children with a prostitute. SHE will be your wife. God had been true to these people all through their history, and yet they go about “whoring” – to use KJV term.  Imagine the pain that adultery causes God. We are called to one God and to live it out with one spouse.  But humans want a dark version of “freedom” from this…and from God. Hosea, under God’s orders, has three children with Gomer the prostitute. Jezreel, Lo-Ruhamah, and Lo-Ammi.
Jezreel is the first son’s name because the House of Israel would finally end here (722BC) The bloody mess that Jehu responded to would be avenged (see II Kings 10:1ff)  Son; Jezreel’s birth was a statement that retribution was on its way. The decapitations in
 II Kings 10 would be repeated by the Assyrians swarming in (II Kings 17:5 ca. a century later).  It would be a horror show sequel to put it lightly.  Only the death scale would rise “1000” times over.
Lo-Ruhamah, a daughter is born and her name means “not loved”. The love and mercy from God is soon overwith for Israel. They had smacked God in the face for two centuries. He had had enough of the Northern Kingdom.
Lo-Ammi another son is born and his name means “not my people”.  It’s sad symbolism, isn’t it?!  The death of a people was imminent
Still God’s goodness comes forth in the final two verses as God tells of his intention to grow his people and to unite them.
Hosea 2 – The 2nd and 3rd children are referenced in the first verse here.  Mr. “not my people” and Miss “not loved (no mercy)” are to be told, “you ARE my people, You ARE loved.”  Mother is to stop the prostitution.  All are to come home again to where she was truly cared for and not just offered gifts and luxuries at a pimp’s place – though soon to be deserted by this liar.  God wants to call them home like parents call children for supper.   But they won’t come. but He still loves them, still they won’t come. But He still loves…  So God’s love will be opened up (Hosea 1:10) to whosoever will (Romans 9:24-26). The Romans’ reference is worth checking before the day passes.  God is certainly good to us, regardless how we dismiss, ignore, or swat away his love.
Lord make us like you, please make us like you. Your goodness, even in the face of being treated treacherously by your own children, is nearly unfathomable. May we be infused with your relentless love. Amen

April 5



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Isaiah 50-54

We are in the Prophetic Stream today. We will be covering the famous chapter Isaiah 53 as we read from the World English Bible this week.

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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis

Lord, you serve and send The Savior.  It is truly you and your work for us that saves.  Keep us filled with faith and gratitude.  Bless you Lord,  Amen.

The theme of this section of scripture is that the LORD will serve His people; they will be redeemed and restored and The Servant of the LORD will aid and protect them in Zion. This idea has been seen scattered throughout Isaiah but the resumption of this thinking comes into full view here as this concept has been accumulating through Isaiah’s book.

50 – it begins with the nation in dismay, but God assures immediately they he can redeem from any situation. God has full control over nature, the LORD speaks, he gives us “ear to hear”, He helps, The Lord calls all to come to Him and trust Him – to stop trusting in their own plans; contrare~ plans that they think are going to be of any protection.
51 – These next two chapters are devoted to telling of Zion’s redemption and restoration. Judah would go into captivity in the future, but God’s plan for His own has never wavered. His commitment to Abraham and Sarah has not been down graded or altered in the least. God’s plan is endless – so listen to God, come to God, look to God, He will strengthen – but they needed to adorn themselves in Him. Remember ALL He has done!  He comforts and calms and liberates. The delirium that comes from disobedience is akin to drunkenness and need never be a problem to them again.
52 – This chapter is also pure wonderment.  It is the day of Zion’s triumph.  It’s so beautiful it is actually a song.  There’s no way to list all the great things God is up to and not simply recite the whole chapter –> again.  This is truly a song of happy days.  People who’ve sung “Our God Reigns” since for-ev-er may wonder where it comes from.  It’s from here! v. seven has the whole song within it.  The rest of the chapter is just as marvelous.
53 – The fascination of this chapter merely grows with time.  Isaiah told so many details about a Savior and he is describing Him 700 years before His arrival.  The details cannot be ignored or altered if one religions’ description of a Savior doesn’t match God’s. Some have tried to explain this chapter away as being some other person from some other era or to be someone who is coming yet in the future.  This chapter is Jesus and what He has done to heal, to forgive, and to save.
54 – The fascination here is that Zion is going to expand; expand in every way, the people, the land, the blessing, the dwellings, and the beauty; the adornment, the jewels, oh my!  It will all be the wonderful work of God.  The people of Zion have suffered, but God’s mercy and comfort and lovingkindness will prevail and ‘win the day’.  Zion will prevail in righteousness.

April 4



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Psalm 18-21

We are in the Wisdom Stream today reading from the book of Psalms. We are using the World English Bible this week.

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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis

God, we want to walk with you as David did; so completely caught up into your goodness and faithfulness and comprehensive care that the world all around us is a mere reminder of how good you are to us.  Thank you for your goodness, Lord.  Amen.

Into the Wisdom stream today we reach Psalm 18 – a highlight of the Bible!  If any student of the Psalms made a list of their favorite Psalms to count on one hand, Psalm 18 is one of them.  It’s David’s triumphant praise after “the battle is over”.  His enemies are neutralized. King Saul, who hated him, is gone now. David’s kingdom is realized and he is Ruler of Israel. Note the traits of the Psalm: God is all the things David needed all along, needs now, and what David is grateful for.  David calls and claims that God is his rock, his shield, his high tower.  The false religions of the world idolatrously claim “this rock is my god, this shield is my god, this tower is my god.” The pagan religions have things perfectly backward.  This is why David is a hallmark of our faith and devotion. This Psalm is so pivotal and landmark in David’s life that it is repeated in II Samuel 22.  We will reach that section in the “nation stream” next week.

19 – The wonder of nature as David is in awe of what God has done morphs straight into David’s wonderment over what God has said; His Word.  It is perfect, right, pure, …Gold. ‘Makes y’want to read the rest of the Bible doesn’t it?!  Praise God
20 – twenty has a nice variation – 18 was David rejoicing in all God had done for him.  This Psalm of prayer is asking God to grant all that is desired and sought for – for you!   It rings as a rally cry for battle.  It is a request for victory.  As in all of David’s life, he is not distracted by objects and trusting in them.  He trusts in God alone, for himself and for others – even as he is headed into the thick of battle.
21 – David is yet enraptured with his marvelous God.  In 20 he is asking for victory as he seems destined to head into battle.  In 21, David is thanking God for victory in this same conflict that seems imminent.  Notice that all that God is going to do is in the future tense.  God will find them (David’s enemies), He will burn them, He will destroy them. David is as certain of this as he was on his first battlefield in I Sam. 17.  He is basically teaching us a very clear prayer lesson.  Thank God in advance.