can be painful.

Hosea 6:7-7:3 (NIV)

"As at Adam, they have broken the covenant;
they were unfaithful to me there.
Gilead is a city of evildoers,
stained with footprints of blood.
As marauders lie in ambush for a victim,
so do bands of priests;
they murder on the road to Shechem,
carrying out their wicked schemes.
I have seen a horrible thing in Israel:
There Ephraim is given to prostitution,
Israel is defiled.

“Also for you, Judah,
a harvest is appointed.

“Whenever I would restore the fortunes of my people,
whenever I would heal Israel,
the sins of Ephraim are exposed
and the crimes of Samaria revealed.
They practice deceit,
thieves break into houses,
bandits rob in the streets;
but they do not realize
that I remember all their evil deeds.
Their sins engulf them;
they are always before me.
“They delight the king with their wickedness,
the princes with their lies.”

God really lays Israel out in this passage. He accuses them of some pretty nasty stuff.

But then He shifts gears and talks of restoration—with a curious twist. The restoration won’t be all fun and games. In a way, it’ll be the worst part.

whenever I would heal Israel,
the sins of Ephraim are exposed.

When they’re restored, Their sins engulf them; they are always before me.

They’re restored, but they’re hit with a boatload of shame.

This is an essential part of the gospel. Forgiveness is not acquittal. Jesus never said, “You are without sin.” He said, “Go now and leave your life of sin.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” — John 8:11b (NIV)

For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more. – Hebrews 8:12 (NIV)

God says He will remember our sins no more. That doesn’t mean we’re supposed to forget them.

Peter, Paul, and many other saints remembered well their past failings. But they weren’t hobbled by them; they were energized by them. Forgiveness made them fearless. They had nothing to hide or to hide from.

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. — 1 Timothy 1:15 (NIV)

All the weekly study guides, which include all five devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

The Job book is on Amazon and is eligible for Amazon Prime. The Kindle edition will be out soon.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.