The DEEP

Righteousness

is its own reward.

Hosea 10:11-15 (ESV)

Ephraim was a trained calf
   that loved to thresh,
   and I spared her fair neck;
but I will put Ephraim to the yoke;
   Judah must plow;
   Jacob must harrow for himself.
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,
therefore the tumult of war shall arise among your people,
   and all your fortresses shall be destroyed,
as Shalman destroyed Beth-arbel on the day of battle;
   mothers were dashed in pieces with their children.
Thus it shall be done to you, O Bethel,
   because of your great evil.
At dawn the king of Israel
   shall be utterly cut off.

This passage begins lovingly, but with a creepy twist. Ephraim was a trained calf that loved to thresh, and I spared her fair neck.

This doesn’t mean no one will die. It just means a remnant will survive. Everyone dies eventually anyway; that train left the station long ago. Israel will survive though, by God’s grace.

But Israel is about to dawn into repentance. The LORD uses a plowing metaphor to show their evil and their coming back to righteousness. First their plowing was wrong, but they got the right feedback.

You have plowed iniquity; you have reaped injustice;
   you have eaten the fruit of lies. …
At dawn the king of Israel shall be utterly cut off.

Eventually they’ll figure it out.

Sow for yourselves righteousness; …
for it is the time to seek the LORD,
   that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.


But notice what this doesn’t say. It doesn’t say, “seek the LORD, that he may come and rain blessings upon you.” If they really get it, they won’t do righteousness to get blessings; they’ll do righteousness for righteousness sake.

What they’ll get is a Messiah.


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

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/itemlist/category/91-deep-studies

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

https://www.amazon.com/Higher-Purposes-Lesson-God-Job/dp/1684719534

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.