Hosea 12:11-14 (NKJV)
Though Gilead has idols—
Surely they are vanity—
Though they sacrifice bulls in Gilgal,
Indeed their altars shall be heaps in the furrows of the field.
Jacob fled to the country of Syria;
Israel served for a spouse,
And for a wife he tended sheep.
By a prophet the LORD brought Israel out of Egypt,
And by a prophet he was preserved.
Ephraim provoked Him to anger most bitterly;
Therefore his Lord will leave the guilt of his bloodshed upon him,
And return his reproach upon him.
God is especially offended by the way Ephraim (Israel) doesn’t treasure its history. This passage recites some of Israel’s history to remind them of how personal it all is. Gilead is one of the special places in the life of Jacob, where God directly intervened to protect him.
And Laban was told on the third day that Jacob had fled. Then he took his brethren with him and pursued him for seven days’ journey, and he overtook him in the mountains of Gilead. But God had come to Laban the Syrian in a dream by night, and said to him, “Be careful that you speak to Jacob neither good nor bad.” – Genesis 31:22-24 (NKJV)
The idols in Gilead are a slap in the face.
Christian history is just as precious. We know about the apostles from the book of Acts, but after that our knowledge thins.
We have mountains of information from the next few centuries, yet few Christians even know the names of the great saints who came after the apostles.
Here’s a list of the great church fathers and their writings. They resolved the doctrines of our faith and defeated many misunderstandings and heresies. They also wrote the creeds we recite.
These writings are beyond precious. We read Shakespeare, but how many of you have read “City of God” by Saint Augustine of Hippo?
To get a taste of the treasures these saints produced, just start at the beginning of the writeups linked above—about Clement of Rome. It’s a great read.
Similarly, the works of the Reformation saints should be required reading. Then there are the Irish saints, who kept Christianity alive through the dark ages. We know even less about them than the other two groups.
We need the Lord to raise up people like them today.
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