May 11



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Hosea 9:10-10:15

We are in the Exile Stream reading from the Easy-to-Read Version this week.

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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis

Lord, let this sorry tale of the northern Kingdom only remind us that you do not play games with the disobedient. Let it remind and urge us to follow you, follow you today, and to follow you fully. Amen.

9 – Israel’s love for God has rotted. It started out as affection that was pure but it has become like garbage gone bad “late in the day”.  Israel has loved rotten things … now they have gone totally rotten themselves.  God needs to discard them.           Their future needs to be cut off because a rotten present (that Israel is committed to) signifies a rotten future.

         Nothing signals that there’s a future like a baby arriving. Well God is going to end this and Israel is going to have no more babies.  What does survive, God will “take” those babies.  It’s too disturbing to describe what the Assyrian soldiers did to Israel’s helpless babies during the seige. And you don’t want to know.  Email my husband, if you really need to know as this era was his major in college. Believe me, it’s bad.  Well, Israel had killed its own faith and done so deliberately and it won’t be long now until Assyria kills every Israelite baby they can find. Too rough? Is God being too mean? Willful sin takes things in a far worse direction than the deliberate sinner ever dreamed he would be taken in his worst nightmare.  They would become a homeless nation.  And historically, these tribes of the north were scattered into the “compost heap” of history.

10 – Israel has erred greatly in that they used their wealth and fertile land and blessing to, do what?!, to make idols!  Their aimlessness is turned lunacy.  We’ve heard the phrase, “wherever, you go, there you are.” With Israel, wherever they go in their minds and hearts and sinfulness, “they aren’t there either. When someone isn’t thinking clearly, we declare, “they’re not all there.”  This is Israel completely.   They have a king, but they don’t – not really, they make promises that they don’t keep (so what were they promising?), their judges merely poison everything, they worship a calf – it gets stolen, they make pacts with other countries – with those that hate them and then invade, their altars of worship will turn into piles of weeds … so what are they worshiping? The nation is crazy.
Israel has been sinning and sinning so horribly, so constantly, and for so long.  All these centuries they could have been planting good things that grew into great things.  But Israel planted evil and lies and false hope (in their sinful commitments).   Btw, the man “Shalman” mentioned in Hosea 10:14 was an Assyrian King, His full name was Shall-man-EASE-err.  Whoever completes the conquest of Israel, Israel is going to be fully destroyed.  It’s basically over for them.

May 10



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Jeremiah 5-7

We are in the Prophetic Stream reading the judgments as written by the prophet Jeremiah. We are reading from the Easy-to-Read Version this week.

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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis

God, we ask that you would be a comfort to us; an ever present help in times of trouble. Guide us as we aim to live as Jeremiah did and speak up amid a culture that seems bent on disobedience. We trust you to guide us in our pilgrimage and ministry as we find ourselves living in similar times to what Jeremiah lived in.  Amen

5 – Jeremiah is appalled that there is not even one righteous/loving/God-fearing soul in Jerusalem.  The people talk of God but it is hollow. He then goes into a prayer for 15 verses straight.  Jeremiah vents to God about their wickedness, the punishment coming to them like a lion pouncing on its prey.  They’re about to be treated like animals -since they wander away from God. The children, the leaders, everyone is going to feel the punishment. They ignore His prophecy so the LORD must bring in a foreign nation.  They’ve brought foreign gods to worship from another land, so they are going to be taken to a foreign land (what do they THINK is going to happen?!)  They and everything they own is going to be devoured. These Babylonians may as well be six foot tall locusts – they will leave nothing. These people of Judah are not accidentally straying; their rebellion is deliberate. They are deaf and blind but think they are fine. They lie and are treacherous. It will require the Babylonian army to get their attention.

6 – The enemy of the people of God is coming, and they come to destroy. The people have stopped their ears long enough and God is going to use this foreign army to “cleanse” Judea. The chapter reads like God is even directing the Babylonians, telling them how to overtake the city. As believers we read this and may think, “God, what are you doing?!” Hey, what is God supposed to do? The Judeans have been up and down spiritually for almost 350 years. The north had fallen to Assyria (150 years before Judea did) and in the intermittent century and a half, Judea more or less has an ungodliness contest with itself to see how far they can press the matter in their disobedience. They had deluded themselves. Remember, later in Jer. 25:9 and 43:10 God refers to the Babylonian king as “His servant.” This king Nebuchadnezzar will be sent (by God!) to clean up Judea. If God is not allowed to, then a dark force will be put to work on them. Obedience to God would have been a much better plan. This is just like in Eden; When God’s people do not obey God or His plan, what is God to do?  When they (we) won’t obey, God just needs to clean house. We do the same with spiders and roaches in our houses, do we not? Judea refuses to repent. And they keep bringing offerings to God as if that would cover for their wickedness. The warnings for repentance are insistent, even pathetic. The awful punishment coming to them could be avoided through repentance. But Judah won’t.

7 –  Jeremiah is assigned to stand in the gateway to the city and prophesy to the people about the matter of obedience and repentance. Jeremiah is laying it all out here! The people have been treating the Temple like a kid playing “tag” or something like that. A kid will run all around a yard and then stop with a hand on a structure and declare, “Base!” meaning they can’t be caught or tagged because they are on a base.  Judah was breaking all the commandments all over the country in their ungodly behavior and then coming to the Temple and declaring to themselves that they would not be punished because they were in the Temple. It’s like they are yelling “base!” to God.  I mean God isn’t going to let His own Temple be smashed is He? Not with us in here with our offerings, right? Think again!  The reference in v. 18 “Queen of Heaven” was Ashtoreth. They were worshiping this female sex deity just like all the surrounding pagan nations were doing. All God wanted was their obedience. They are countering with, “we won’t obey, …but we will bring sacrifices! [durrr] The Judeans revered their ancestors (uh, they weren’t obedient either!).  And the more time passes, the worse people become. They have been as pagan as the pagan nations and worse. They’ve done infant sacrifice right in the city, the Temple is polluted by their deeds as they play both sides. They do this Satanic level wretchedness and then bring their offerings to the Temple (same people!) Well God is going to end all this and there will be so many dead that vultures will swarm in to clean up the bodies. Some Hebrews will be preserved in another land, but Jerusalem is going to fall silent.  A preview of this is in Lamentations 1 “…the city is deserted…”  This all- so- did- not- need to happen. But with Judah’s behavior – it did happen.

May 9



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Psalms 42-48

We are in the Wisdom Stream and beginning Book 2 of 5 in the Psalms. We are using the Easy-to-Read Version this week.

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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis

Lord, we thank you for these prayers that remind us of your goodness and our need for you in our lives every day, every step.  Amen.
Today we start in book Two.  Psalms is divided into five “books” and 1-41 is book One. Here we begin with the second.  We read today about the Sons of Korah.  Just so you know, these were a family of Levites, a musical group, a team or guild if you will, that David had assembled to bolster the atmosphere of worship for the Israelites.

42, 43 – These two actually form one poem.  It’s the longing cry/prayer of one who wants to get back into God’s presence; into the Temple again for worship. He’s away from Jerusalem, feeling in exile up north and east – east of the Jordan.  The locals are hostile toward him and he is caught up in a full effort to cheer himself again.  Vv. 42:5,6,11 and 43:5 are used in a familiar worship song, (from a different translation) it is sung, “why so downcast oh my soul? Put your hope in God…”  Throughout these two Psalms, The Sons of Korah are longing, quizzing and encouraging themselves so to cheer up, lamenting the cruelty of others, calling for God to come quickly, and reminding themselves of His goodness. It may sound like they are “all over the place”, but this is appropriate and applicable because so are our lives and so are we on a regular basis.

44 – The army has paused to call on God during a rough time amid a battle.  They pause to reflect and assert that it is God in Heaven who always gave the victory in Israel’s history. And they know this.  At current they are trying to see the light when it seeeems to be snuffing out. They are feeling at a loss, they are getting pushed back by enemies and they are calling on God to guide the way, to act quickly, to show and help them get moving forward in this battle again. They pray this way because they do not want to go into complete despair.
45 – is the wedding song of a king. It seems to be multifaceted in that the King before us while this is written is either David or Solomon. They talk of regality, beauty, handsomeness, victory but it does seem to go ethereal in that it sounds like Revelation 19:7 and the marriage of the Bride to the Lamb which is of God. This is an event that is going to be thousands of years away. The inspiration that transforms into ambiguity adds intrigue and an alluring passion that keeps the reading and the discussion of this Psalm very much alive … for 3000 years so far !
46 – When in trouble from enemies or natural disasters, it is God who protects and gives peace.  God indeed can conquer anything and therefore we will run to him for our covering.  It is noted that Martin Luther drew much comfort and reassurance from this Psalm during the Reformation of the 1500’s [A.D.]
47,48 –  like 42 and 43, these two Psalms read like a verses 1 and 2 segment of the same Psalm, though they’re also numbered as two separate Psalms.  The worship is breaking into rhapsody, come 47!  The Lord is King, He loves Jacob and descendants, this land of Zion,  (He rules the whole world too.)     The Lord is great; so great. He has drawn people the world over to His city.  God defends this city against any foe. God in Jerusalem is cause for elation.  It is greater than can be described. Just walk through and all around Zion and experience Him. This is the invitation here.