Week 32, Day 3

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The reading for today is Hosea 7-10; Matthew 18.

Hosea 7

when I would heal Israel,
and the corruption of Ephraim is revealed,
and the wicked deeds of Samaria;
because they deal in falsehood,
the thief breaks in,
and the bandit raids the outside.
But they did not consider
that I remember all their wickedness.
Now their deeds surround them;
they are before my face.
By their wickedness they make the king glad,
and the officials by their treacheries.
All of them commit adultery,
like a burning oven
whose baker has stopped from stirring the fire,
and from kneading the dough until it is leavened.
On the day of our king, the princes
became sick with the heat of wine;
he stretched out his hand with mockers.
Because they are kindled like an oven,
their heart burns within them;
all night their anger smolders,
in the morning it blazes like a flaming fire.
All of them are hot as an oven,
and they devour their rulers.
All their kings have fallen;
there is none who calls to me amongst them.
Ephraim mixes himself
with the nations;
Ephraim is a bread cake
not turned over.
Foreigners devour his strength,
and he does not know it;
mold is also sprinkled upon him,
and he does not know it.
The pride of Israel testifies against him
they do not return to Yahweh their God;
they do not seek him for all of this.
Ephraim was like a dove,
silly, without sense;
they call to Egypt,
they go to Assyria.
Just as they go, I will cast my net
over them;
I will bring them down
like the birds of the heavens;
I will discipline them
according to a report to their assembly.
Woe to them, because they have strayed from me!
Destruction to them, because they have rebelled against me!
I myself would redeem them,
but they speak lies against me.
They do not cry out to me from their heart,
but they wail on their beds;
because of grain and new wine they lacerate themselves;
they depart from me.
And I myself trained
and strengthened their arms;
but they plan evil against me.
They turn, not to the Most High,
like a slack bow;
their officials will fall by the sword
because of the anger of their tongue.
This is their scorn
in the land of Egypt.

Hosea 8

Put to your lips the trumpet
like a vulture over the house of Yahweh,
because they have broken my covenant
and rebelled against my law.
They cry out to me,
"My God! We, Israel, know you!"
Israel has spurned the good;
the enemy will pursue him.
They appointed kings, but not through me;
they made officials, but without my knowledge.
With their silver and gold
they made idols for themselves
for their own destruction.
Your calf is rejected, O Samaria;
my anger burns against them.
How long will they be incapable of innocence?
Because it is from Israel,
an artisan made it,
it is not a god;
for the calf of Samaria
will be broken to pieces.
Because they sow the wind,
they will reap the whirlwind.
The standing grain does not have heads;
it will not yield flour.
And if it would yield,
strangers would devour it.
Israel is swallowed up;
now they are among the nations,
like an object that no one desires.
For they have gone up to Assyria,
a wild donkey alone to itself;
Ephraim has sold itself for lovers.
Even though they have sold themselves to the nations,
now I will gather them.
They will soon writhe
from the burden of kings and princes.
When Ephraim multiplied altars
to expiate sins,
they became to him altars to sin on.
I write for him myriads of my instruction;
they are regarded as a strange thing.
They offer sacrifices of my choice
and they eat flesh;
Yahweh does not accept them.
Now he will remember their iniquity
and punish their sins;
they will return to Egypt.
Israel has forgotten his maker and built palaces,
and Judah has multiplied fortified cities;
but I will send fire on his cities
and it will devour her strongholds.

Hosea 9

Do not rejoice, O Israel,
do not exult like the nations!
For you played the whore, departing from your God;
you loved a harlot’s wage
on all the threshing floors of grain.
Threshing floor and wine vat will not feed them,
and new wine will fail her.
They will not remain
in the land of Yahweh.
But Ephraim will return to Egypt,
and in Assyria they will eat unclean food.
They will not pour drink offerings of wine to Yahweh,
and their sacrifices will not please him.
They are like mourners’ bread for them;
all those who eat it will be defiled.
For their bread will be for their hunger;
it will not come to the house of Yahweh.
What will you do on the day of the appointed time,
and on the day of the festival of Yahweh?
For look! If they flee from the destruction,
Egypt will gather them;
Memphis will bury them.
Nettles will possess
their precious things of silver;
thorns will be in their tents.
The days of punishment have come;
the days of retribution have come;
Israel knows!
The prophet is a fool,
the man of the spirit is acting like a madman.
Because of the greatness of your sin,
your hostility is great.
The prophet keeps watch over Ephraim for my God;
the snare of a fowler is on all his ways,
and hostility in the house of his God.
They deeply corrupted themselves
as in the days of Gibeah;
he will remember their sin,
he will punish their sins.
Like the grapes in the wilderness,
I found Israel.
Like early ripened fruit on the fig tree in the first season,
I saw your ancestors.
They themselves came to Baal Peor,
and they consecrated themselves to shame.
And they became detestable things,
like the thing they love.
Ephraim’s glory is like a bird;
it will fly away—
no birth, no pregnancy, and no conception.
Even though they bring up their children,
I will bereave them before maturity.
Woe to them indeed,
when I depart from them!
Ephraim, as I see it,
is like a palm in a meadow;
but Ephraim must bring out
his children to the slayer.
Give them, O Yahweh—
what will you give them?
Give them a miscarrying womb
and dry breasts.
Every evil of theirs began at Gilgal,
so I began to hate them there;
because of the evil of their deeds
I will drive them out from my house.
I will love them no more;
all their officials are rebels.
Ephraim is stricken,
their root is dried up,
they shall not bear fruit.
Even if they give birth,
I will kill the cherished offspring of their womb.
My God will reject them
because they did not listen to him,
and they will be wanderers among the nations.

Hosea 10

Israel is a luxuriant vine;
he yields fruit for himself.
The more his fruit increased,
the more he made numerous altars.
The more his land prospered,
the more he improved his stone pillars.
Their heart is false;
now they must bear their guilt.
He himself will break down their altars;
he will destroy their stone pillars.
For now they will say,
"We have no king;
indeed, we did not fear Yahweh,
and what can a king do for us?"
They utter words of vain oaths
when making covenants,
and judgment blossoms like a poisonous plant
on the furrows of the field.
The inhabitants of Samaria tremble
for the calf of Beth-aven.
Indeed, his people will mourn for it,
and his idolatrous priests will wail over it—
over its glory because it has departed from it.
It will also be brought to Assyria,
as tribute to the great king.
Ephraim will obtain disgrace
and Israel will be ashamed from his advice.
Samaria will be destroyed;
her king is like a chip on the surface of the water.
The high places of Aven,
the sin of Israel, will be destroyed.
Thorn and thistle will grow
on their altars.
They will say to the mountains, "Cover us,"
and to the hills, "Fall on us."
From the days of Gibeah you have sinned, O Israel;
there they have remained.
Will not war in Gibeah overtake them
against the children of evil?
In my desire I will punish them;
nations will be gathered against them
when they are punished for their double iniquities.
Ephraim was a trained heifer,
that loved to thresh grain,
and I myself spared
the fairness of her neck;
I will make Ephraim break the ground,
Judah will plow,
Jacob must till for himself.
Sow for yourselves righteousness;
reap loyal love.
Break up for yourself fallow ground;
it is time to seek Yahweh
so he will come and rain
righteousness upon you.
You have plowed wickedness,
you have reaped injustice,
you have eaten the fruit of lies,
because you have trusted in your strength,
in the multitude of your warriors.
The tumult of war will rise up against your people,
and all your fortresses will be destroyed,
as Shalman destroyed Beth-arbel;
on the day of war
mothers were dashed to pieces with their children.
So it will be done to you, O Bethel,
because of the evil of your wickedness;
at dawn, the king of Israel
will be utterly destroyed.

Matthew 18

At that time the disciples came up to Jesus, saying, "Who then is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" And calling a child to himself, he had him stand in their midst and said, "Truly I say to you, unless you turn around and become like young children, you will never enter into the kingdom of heaven! Therefore whoever humbles himself like this child, this person is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, and whoever welcomes one child such as this in my name welcomes me. But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him that a large millstone be hung on his neck and he be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of causes for stumbling, for it is a necessity that causes for stumbling come; nevertheless, woe to the person through whom the cause for stumbling comes. And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it from you! It is better for you to enter into life crippled or lame than, having two hands or two feet, to be thrown into the eternal fire! And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it from you! It is better for you to enter into life one-eyed than, having two eyes, to be thrown into fiery hell!

"See to it that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I tell you that their angels in heaven constantly see the face of my Father who is in heaven. What do you think? If a certain man has a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go and look for the one that wandered away? And if he happens to find it, truly I say to you that he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that did not wander away. In the same way it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish.

"Now if your brother sins against you, go correct him between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take with you in addition one or two others, so that by the testimony of two or three witnesses every matter may be established. And if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses to listen to the church also, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

"Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you release on earth will be released in heaven. Again, truly I say to you that if two of you agree on earth about any matter that they ask, it will be done for them from my Father who is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there in the midst of them."

Then Peter came up to him and said, "Lord, how many times will my brother sin against me and I will forgive him? Up to seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven!

"For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man—a king—who wanted to settle accounts with his slaves. And when he began to settle them, someone was brought to him who owed ten thousand talents. And because he did not have enough to repay it, the master ordered him to be sold, and his wife and his children and everything that he had, and to be repaid. Then the slave threw himself to the ground and began to do obeisance to him, saying, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay back everything to you!’ So the master of that slave, because he had compassion, released him and forgave him the loan. But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii, and taking hold of him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay back everything that you owe!’ Then his fellow slave threw himself to the ground and began to implore him, saying, ‘Be patient with me and I will repay you!’ But he did not want to, but rather he went and threw him into prison until he would repay what was owed. So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were extremely distressed, and went and reported to their master everything that had happened. Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘Wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you implored me! Should you not also have shown mercy to your fellow slave as I also showed mercy to you?’ And because he was angry, his master handed him over to the merciless jailers until he would repay everything that was owed. So also my heavenly Father will do to you, unless each of you forgives his brother from your hearts!"

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