is part of the plan.

Hosea 13:14-16 (NKJV)

“I will ransom them from the power of the grave;
I will redeem them from death.
O Death, I will be your plagues!
O Grave, I will be your destruction!
Pity is hidden from My eyes.”

Though he is fruitful among his brethren,
An east wind shall come;
The wind of the Lord shall come up from the wilderness.
Then his spring shall become dry,
And his fountain shall be dried up.
He shall plunder the treasury of every desirable prize.
Samaria is held guilty,
For she has rebelled against her God.
They shall fall by the sword,
Their infants shall be dashed in pieces,
And their women with child ripped open.

This is even more Christ oriented than yesterday’s passage. Hosea sounds like he’s quoting Matthew and 1 Corinthians.

“And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” — Matthew 20:27-28 (NKJV)

O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” — 1 Corinthians 15:55 (NKJV)

But then Hosea describes, in brutal detail, their slaughter. How does that fit with the gospel?

It fits perfectly. Being saved has nothing to do with avoiding pain. He warned His followers that they would be persecuted for following Him. Trials and tribulations are sure to come to their way.

They’ll be ransomed from the power of the grave, but that’s not the same as avoiding death.

This is how the plan of salvation works. People who sign up to follow Christ shouldn’t expect life to be a bowl of cherries. The Lord was perfectly clear on this.

Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. — Matthew 5:11–12 (NKJV)

Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” — Luke 9:23 (NKJV)

But some people have been sold Christianity as a panacea. That’s not right. In fact, it’s cruel.

When their life in Christ doesn’t match with what they’ve been taught, they’ll struggle to process the contradiction. Unless someone sets them straight, they’ll keep trying to fix what they “must have” done wrong. Since that’s not the solution, this will spiral endlessly.

That’s just about the nastiest thing that can happen to anyone’s faith.

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

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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.