Tuesday, September 7, 2010

This and that....

It seems like I've had very little to say on this blog recently...it's been a busy time for me, I've had a lot going on, and it's been easier to just copy and paste some things I've been reading than write anything, or post many pictures. I have missed blogging though and do want to try to spend more time on it. Over the holiday weekend I chose to spend as much of my free time reading as I could, mainly from the book pictured at left. Though I don't necessarily agree with everything said in it, I think it has been a good, helpful thing to read and would recommend it to others...it's good to think about and examine why we do things the way we do, is it Biblical, or....? More people may be able to relate to this than we realize, and if not you, well it may help you to understand a friend's struggles better. It's definitely given me plenty to think about, and got me reading in this chapter of Hosea, then I went on to see what Matthew Henry had to say about it. Below is some of my reading, and I may share some more thoughts as time goes on. By the way, just so you know, I didn't spend my whole labor day alone reading! It ended very nicely with pizza, watermelon and friends, though not necessarily in that order:-) A highlight of the evening was watching my friends' video they made of family worship during their visit to Scotland this summer. It was so neat and encouraging to see other families across the ocean worshiping in the same way we do.

“ Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
Will bring her into the wilderness,
And speak comfort to her.
I will give her her vineyards from there,
And the Valley of Achor as a door of hope;
She shall sing there,
As in the days of her youth,
As in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt.
“ And it shall be, in that day,”
Says the LORD,

“ That you will call Me ‘My Husband,’
And no longer call Me ‘My Master,’ For I will take from her mouth the names of the Baals,
And they shall be remembered by their name no more.
In that day I will make a covenant for them
With the beasts of the field,
With the birds of the air,
And with the creeping things of the ground.
Bow and sword of battle I will shatter from the earth,
To make them lie down safely.
“ I will betroth you to Me forever;
Yes, I will betroth you to Me
In righteousness and justice,
In lovingkindness and mercy;
I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness,
And you shall know the LORD.
“ It shall come to pass in that day
That I will answer,” says the LORD; Then I will sow her for Myself in the earth,
And I will have mercy on her who had not obtained mercy;
Then I will say to those who were not My people,
‘ You are My people!’
And they shall say, ‘You are my God!’
~ Verses from Hosea 2

"I will allure her. It comes all to one; the design is plainly to magnify free grace to those on whom God will have mercy purely for mercy's sake... That though now they were disconsolate, and ready to despair, they should again be revived with comforts and hopes."

"God had said that he would make them as a wilderness the meaning may be that he would by his grace bring their minds to their condition: "They shall have humble hearts under humbling providences; being poor, they shall be poor in spirit, shall accept of the punishment of their iniquity, and then they are prepared to have comfort spoken to them." When God delivered Israel out of Egypt he led them into the wilderness, to humble them and prove them, that he might do them good (Deut. viii. 2, 3, 15, 16), and so he will do again. Note, Those whom God has mercy in store for he first brings into a wilderness—into solitude and retirement, that they may the more freely converse with him out of the noise of this world,—into distress of mind, through sense of guilt and dread of wrath, which brings a soul to be quite at a loss in itself and bewildered, and by those convictions he prepares for consolations,—and sometimes into outward distress and trouble, thereby to open the ear to discipline. He will then allure them and speak comfortably to them, will persuade them and speak to their hearts, that is, he will by his word and Spirit incline their hearts to return to him, and encourage them to do so. He will allure them with the promises of his favour, as before he had terrified them with the threatenings of his wrath, will speak friendly to them, both by his prophets and by his providences, as before he had spoken roughly."

"He will give her the valley of Achor for a door of hope. The valley of Achor was that in which Achan was stoned; it signifies the valley of trouble, because he troubled Israel, and there God troubled him. This was the beginning of the wars of Canaan; and their putting away the accursed thing in that place gave them ground to hope that God would continue his presence with them and complete their victories. So when God returns to his people in mercy, and they to him in duty, it will be to them as happy an omen as any thing. If they put away the accursed thing from among them, if by mortifying sin they stone the Achan that has troubled their camp, their subduing that enemy within themselves is an earnest to them of victory over all the kings of Canaan."

"The great rejoicing with which they shall receive God's gracious returns towards them: She shall sing there as in the days of her youth. When God repeats former mercies we must repeat former praises. This promise of Israel's singing has its accomplishment in the gospel of Christ, which furnishes us with abundant matter for joy and praise, and wherever it is received in its power enlarges the heart in joy and praise; and this is that land flowing with milk and honey which the valley of Achor opens a door of hope to. We rejoice in tribulation."

"I will betroth thee.
All that are sincerely devoted to God are betrothed to him; God gives them the most sacred and inviolable security imaginable that he will love them, protect them, and provide for them, that he will do the part of a husband to them, and that he will incline their hearts to join themselves to him and will graciously accept of them in so doing. Believing souls are espoused to Christ."

"God's mercy must not be despaired of any where on this side hell. The sum total of the happiness of believers is the mutual relation that is between them and God, that he is theirs and they are his; this is the crown of all the promises. This relation is founded in free grace. We have not chosen him, but he has chosen us. He first says, They are my people, and makes them willing to be so in the day of his power, and then they avouch him to be theirs. As we need desire no more to make us happy than to be the people of God, so we need desire no more to make us easy and cheerful than to have him to assure us that we are so, to say unto us, by his Spirit witnessing with ours, Thou art my people."
~ Matthew Henry

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"Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."
Isaiah 55:6,8-1