May 9

Hosea 11-14, Psalm 124

When someone is vaccinated or inoculated they receive a small amount or a killed portion of the actual bacteria or virus which builds immunity to ward off the real disease.  Unfortunately, dead religion has the same effect on a real relationship with God.  Through rote prayers, rituals devoid of their original intent, passionless sermons so many are reluctant to read God’s Word or enter into a relationship with Him because they have been inoculated with dead religion.  These are among the warnings to the churches said by Jesus in Revelation.  In Revelation 3:1, Jesus says “…’I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead’ “.  So in Hosea 11:7, it says, “My people are bent on backsliding from Me.  Though they call to the Most High, None at all exalt Him.”  God never desires our lip service or our religious acts, He desires our heart and a real relationship. 

Despite the backsliding, despite the idolatry, despite the insincerity of worship, God reveals His heart.  In Hosea 11:8, we read, “…My heart churns within Me; My sympathy is stirred.’  We see a similar response by Jesus after he describes the woes to the Pharisees, in Matthew 23:37, He says, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her!  How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!”

Whatever it is that holds us back from following God wholeheartedly, God gives the example through Hosea in 12:4, through the example of Jacob of how we should seek Him.  We read, “Yes, he struggled with the Angel and prevailed; He wept, and sought favor from Him…”.  Jacob who always relied in his strength, his ingenuity, his cunning; when he was crippled by The Angel of the Lord, in his broken state, in his weakness and desperation, he was willing to submit and humble himself before God.  This is the repentant heart that God desires from all of us.  Paul states so clearly this realization in 2 Corinthians 12:10, “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Aaron Salvato