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Daniel's Terrifying Vision of a Man
1 In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a word was revealed to Daniel, who was named Belteshazzar. And the word was true, and it was a great conflict.[a] And he understood the word and had understanding of the vision.
2 In those days I, Daniel, was mourning for three weeks. 3 I ate no delicacies, no meat or wine entered my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, for the full three weeks. 4 On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was standing on the bank of the great river (that is, the Tigris) 5 I lifted up my eyes and looked, and behold, a man clothed in linen, with a belt of fine gold from Uphaz around his waist. 6 His body was like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a multitude. 7 And I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, for the men who were with me did not see the vision, but a great trembling fell upon them, and they fled to hide themselves. 8 So I was left alone and saw this great vision, and no strength was left in me. My radiant appearance was fearfully changed,[b] and I retained no strength. 9 Then I heard the sound of his words, and as I heard the sound of his words, I fell on my face in deep sleep with my face to the ground.
10 And behold, a hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. 11 And he said to me, “O Daniel, man greatly loved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for now I have been sent to you.” And when he had spoken this word to me, I stood up trembling. 12 Then he said to me, “Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words. 13 The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia, 14 and came to make you understand what is to happen to your people in the latter days. For the vision is for days yet to come.”
15 When he had spoken to me according to these words, I turned my face toward the ground and was mute. 16 And behold, one in the likeness of the children of man touched my lips. Then I opened my mouth and spoke. I said to him who stood before me, “O my lord, by reason of the vision pains have come upon me, and I retain no strength. 17 How can my lord's servant talk with my lord? For now no strength remains in me, and no breath is left in me.”
18 Again one having the appearance of a man touched me and strengthened me. 19 And he said, “O man greatly loved, fear not, peace be with you; be strong and of good courage.” And as he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, “Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.” 20 Then he said, “Do you know why I have come to you? But now I will return to fight against the prince of Persia; and when I go out, behold, the prince of Greece will come. 21 But I will tell you what is inscribed in the book of truth: there is none who contends by my side against these except Michael, your prince.
Your Word Is a Lamp to My Feet
1 [a] Blessed are those whose way is blameless,
who walk in the law of the Lord!
2 Blessed are those who keep his testimonies,
who seek him with their whole heart,
3 who also do no wrong,
but walk in his ways!
4 You have commanded your precepts
to be kept diligently.
5 Oh that my ways may be steadfast
in keeping your statutes!
6 Then I shall not be put to shame,
having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.
7 I will praise you with an upright heart,
when I learn your righteous rules.[b]
8 I will keep your statutes;
do not utterly forsake me!
9 How can a young man keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to your word.
10 With my whole heart I seek you;
let me not wander from your commandments!
11 I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.
12 Blessed are you, O Lord;
teach me your statutes!
13 With my lips I declare
all the rules[c] of your mouth.
14 In the way of your testimonies I delight
as much as in all riches.
15 I will meditate on your precepts
and fix my eyes on your ways.
16 I will delight in your statutes;
I will not forget your word.
17 Deal bountifully with your servant,
that I may live and keep your word.
18 Open my eyes, that I may behold
wondrous things out of your law.
19 I am a sojourner on the earth;
hide not your commandments from me!
20 My soul is consumed with longing
for your rules[d] at all times.
21 You rebuke the insolent, accursed ones,
who wander from your commandments.
22 Take away from me scorn and contempt,
for I have kept your testimonies.
23 Even though princes sit plotting against me,
your servant will meditate on your statutes.
24 Your testimonies are my delight;
they are my counselors.
THE LAST THREE CHAPTERS OF Daniel are largely given over to the final vision, a vision of a heavenly messenger and his revelation (Dan. 10:1—12:13). This chapter (Dan. 10) establishes the setting. The date is 537 B.C. The first group of exiles have returned to Jerusalem. The reminder that Daniel’s assigned name is Belteshazzar, and the mention of Cyrus, tie this chapter to 1:7, 21. The setting includes several remarkable features:
(1) The heavenly messenger is more radiant than Gabriel and mightier than Michael (the only named angels in all of Scripture), and has power to strengthen Daniel.
(2) Far from being exhilarated by the experience, Daniel is so drained of energy and even speech and consciousness that three times he must be revived by the visitor from God. Cf. Deuteronomy 5:26; Acts 9:8; 22:11. All this, Joyce Baldwin writes, “is a salutary reminder of the majesty of our God and of the amazing condescension of the incarnation.”
(3) Daniel is a man highly esteemed by God (10:11, 19). The thought is stunning. What serious Christian would not give everything for a similar encomium? Does not Jesus teach, in effect, that we ought to pursue the “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matt. 25:21)?
(4) The three-week delay (10:12-14) unveils conflict in the heavenlies. The prince of the Persian kingdom is apparently some angelic being connected with Persia; similarly for the prince of Greece (10:20). Michael, “one of the chief princes” (10:13), is “your [Israel’s] prince” (10:21). The hierarchy of angelic beings is not governed by the relationships of their earthly counterparts. As there is war between good and evil on earth, so is there war in heaven. In the same way that observing earthly people and powers might lead the unwary to conclude that God is not really in control, so also this delay in the movements of angels has caused the unwary to conclude that God is not really in control in heaven either— since clearly there are many contingencies of which we are not normally aware. But that is to draw a conclusion that Scripture rules out of order. Nebuchadnezzar learned the lesson well: God “does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and with the peoples of the earth” (Dan. 4.35, italics added). There is a terrible war going on, but this takes place under God’s sovereignty; in its affirmation of God’s utter dominion the text insists, “All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. . . . No one can hold back his hand” (4:35). So there is space for conflict, resolve, perseverance—and for faith and utter confidence.
The Kings of the South and the North
1 “And as for me, in the first year of Darius the Mede, I stood up to confirm and strengthen him.
2 “And now I will show you the truth. Behold, three more kings shall arise in Persia, and a fourth shall be far richer than all of them. And when he has become strong through his riches, he shall stir up all against the kingdom of Greece. 3 Then a mighty king shall arise, who shall rule with great dominion and do as he wills. 4 And as soon as he has arisen, his kingdom shall be broken and divided toward the four winds of heaven, but not to his posterity, nor according to the authority with which he ruled, for his kingdom shall be plucked up and go to others besides these.
5 “Then the king of the south shall be strong, but one of his princes shall be stronger than he and shall rule, and his authority shall be a great authority. 6 After some years they shall make an alliance, and the daughter of the king of the south shall come to the king of the north to make an agreement. But she shall not retain the strength of her arm, and he and his arm shall not endure, but she shall be given up, and her attendants, he who fathered her, and he who supported[a] her in those times.
7 “And from a branch from her roots one shall arise in his place. He shall come against the army and enter the fortress of the king of the north, and he shall deal with them and shall prevail. 8 He shall also carry off to Egypt their gods with their metal images and their precious vessels of silver and gold, and for some years he shall refrain from attacking the king of the north. 9 Then the latter shall come into the realm of the king of the south but shall return to his own land.
10 “His sons shall wage war and assemble a multitude of great forces, which shall keep coming and overflow and pass through, and again shall carry the war as far as his fortress. 11 Then the king of the south, moved with rage, shall come out and fight against the king of the north. And he shall raise a great multitude, but it shall be given into his hand. 12 And when the multitude is taken away, his heart shall be exalted, and he shall cast down tens of thousands, but he shall not prevail. 13 For the king of the north shall again raise a multitude, greater than the first. And after some years[b] he shall come on with a great army and abundant supplies.
14 “In those times many shall rise against the king of the south, and the violent among your own people shall lift themselves up in order to fulfill the vision, but they shall fail. 15 Then the king of the north shall come and throw up siegeworks and take a well-fortified city. And the forces of the south shall not stand, or even his best troops, for there shall be no strength to stand. 16 But he who comes against him shall do as he wills, and none shall stand before him. And he shall stand in the glorious land, with destruction in his hand. 17 He shall set his face to come with the strength of his whole kingdom, and he shall bring terms of an agreement and perform them. He shall give him the daughter of women to destroy the kingdom,[c] but it shall not stand or be to his advantage. 18 Afterward he shall turn his face to the coastlands and shall capture many of them, but a commander shall put an end to his insolence. Indeed,[d] he shall turn his insolence back upon him. 19 Then he shall turn his face back toward the fortresses of his own land, but he shall stumble and fall, and shall not be found.
20 “Then shall arise in his place one who shall send an exactor of tribute for the glory of the kingdom. But within a few days he shall be broken, neither in anger nor in battle. 21 In his place shall arise a contemptible person to whom royal majesty has not been given. He shall come in without warning and obtain the kingdom by flatteries. 22 Armies shall be utterly swept away before him and broken, even the prince of the covenant. 23 And from the time that an alliance is made with him he shall act deceitfully, and he shall become strong with a small people. 24 Without warning he shall come into the richest parts[e] of the province, and he shall do what neither his fathers nor his fathers' fathers have done, scattering among them plunder, spoil, and goods. He shall devise plans against strongholds, but only for a time. 25 And he shall stir up his power and his heart against the king of the south with a great army. And the king of the south shall wage war with an exceedingly great and mighty army, but he shall not stand, for plots shall be devised against him. 26 Even those who eat his food shall break him. His army shall be swept away, and many shall fall down slain. 27 And as for the two kings, their hearts shall be bent on doing evil. They shall speak lies at the same table, but to no avail, for the end is yet to be at the time appointed. 28 And he shall return to his land with great wealth, but his heart shall be set against the holy covenant. And he shall work his will and return to his own land.
29 “At the time appointed he shall return and come into the south, but it shall not be this time as it was before. 30 For ships of Kittim shall come against him, and he shall be afraid and withdraw, and shall turn back and be enraged and take action against the holy covenant. He shall turn back and pay attention to those who forsake the holy covenant. 31 Forces from him shall appear and profane the temple and fortress, and shall take away the regular burnt offering. And they shall set up the abomination that makes desolate. 32 He shall seduce with flattery those who violate the covenant, but the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action. 33 And the wise among the people shall make many understand, though for some days they shall stumble by sword and flame, by captivity and plunder. 34 When they stumble, they shall receive a little help. And many shall join themselves to them with flattery, 35 and some of the wise shall stumble, so that they may be refined, purified, and made white, until the time of the end, for it still awaits the appointed time.
36 “And the king shall do as he wills. He shall exalt himself and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak astonishing things against the God of gods. He shall prosper till the indignation is accomplished; for what is decreed shall be done. 37 He shall pay no attention to the gods of his fathers, or to the one beloved by women. He shall not pay attention to any other god, for he shall magnify himself above all. 38 He shall honor the god of fortresses instead of these. A god whom his fathers did not know he shall honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and costly gifts. 39 He shall deal with the strongest fortresses with the help of a foreign god. Those who acknowledge him he shall load with honor. He shall make them rulers over many and shall divide the land for a price.[f]
40 “At the time of the end, the king of the south shall attack[g] him, but the king of the north shall rush upon him like a whirlwind, with chariots and horsemen, and with many ships. And he shall come into countries and shall overflow and pass through. 41 He shall come into the glorious land. And tens of thousands shall fall, but these shall be delivered out of his hand: Edom and Moab and the main part of the Ammonites. 42 He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape. 43 He shall become ruler of the treasures of gold and of silver, and all the precious things of Egypt, and the Libyans and the Cushites shall follow in his train. 44 But news from the east and the north shall alarm him, and he shall go out with great fury to destroy and devote many to destruction. 45 And he shall pitch his palatial tents between the sea and the glorious holy mountain. Yet he shall come to his end, with none to help him.
25 My soul clings to the dust;
give me life according to your word!
26 When I told of my ways, you answered me;
teach me your statutes!
27 Make me understand the way of your precepts,
and I will meditate on your wondrous works.
28 My soul melts away for sorrow;
strengthen me according to your word!
29 Put false ways far from me
and graciously teach me your law!
30 I have chosen the way of faithfulness;
I set your rules before me.
31 I cling to your testimonies, O Lord;
let me not be put to shame!
32 I will run in the way of your commandments
when you enlarge my heart![a]
33 Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes;
and I will keep it to the end.[b]
34 Give me understanding, that I may keep your law
and observe it with my whole heart.
35 Lead me in the path of your commandments,
for I delight in it.
36 Incline my heart to your testimonies,
and not to selfish gain!
37 Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things;
and give me life in your ways.
38 Confirm to your servant your promise,
that you may be feared.
39 Turn away the reproach that I dread,
for your rules are good.
40 Behold, I long for your precepts;
in your righteousness give me life!
41 Let your steadfast love come to me, O Lord,
your salvation according to your promise;
42 then shall I have an answer for him who taunts me,
for I trust in your word.
43 And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth,
for my hope is in your rules.
44 I will keep your law continually,
forever and ever,
45 and I shall walk in a wide place,
for I have sought your precepts.
46 I will also speak of your testimonies before kings
and shall not be put to shame,
47 for I find my delight in your commandments,
which I love.
48 I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love,
and I will meditate on your statutes.
THE ACTUAL CONTENT OF THE VISION disclosed by the heavenly messenger to Daniel occupies Daniel 11 and the first part of Daniel 12. Although the meaning of many of the details is not easy to sort out, the main lines of thought are reasonably clear.
The Persian Empire is in view in 11:2. The standpoint of the vision, according to 10:1, is the reign of Cyrus. Who are the other four kings? The Persian Empire lasted two more centuries and produced nine kings (not counting usurpers between Cambyses and Darius I). Are the four the most prominent? The ones mentioned in Scripture (Cyrus, Darius, Xerxes [=Ahasuerus], Artaxerxes)? We do not know.
The Greek conqueror (11:3-4) is Alexander the Great, and the four kingdoms into which his empire was broken up have already been mentioned (Daniel 8; see meditation for October 23). The running struggles between the king of the south (the Ptolemies) and the king of the north (the Seleucids) found Jews squeezed between the two. Eventually the north prevailed (11:5-20). The one who sent out the tax collector (11:20) is almost universally recognized to be Seleucus IV, who died in 175 B.C. The “contemptible person” (11:21-39 [or possibly 21-45]) is undoubtedly Antiochus IV Epiphanes, a Seleucid monarch we have met before (October 23).
Readers of this book who love history should read Josephus, I Maccabees and II Maccabees, and contemporary reconstructions of the dramatic events of that period. There is no space here to survey that turbulent history. Yet we must ask why Scripture devotes so much space to it. From certain perspectives, Antiochus IV Epiphanes was not very significant. So why all this attention?
There are at least two reasons. First, at one level Antiochus attempted something new and profoundly evil. The oppression the Jews had suffered up to this point was diverse, but it was not like this. The ancient Egyptians had enslaved them, but did not try to impose their own religion on them. During the period of the judges, the Israelites were constantly running after pagan deities; when the pagans prevailed they imposed taxes and cruel subjugation, but not ideology. With the exception of one brief experiment by Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 3), Assyria and Babylon did not forcibly impose polytheism. But here is Antiochus IV Epiphanes outlawing Israelite faith, killing those found with any part of Torah in their possession, militarily imposing and coercing a pagan worldview. The people suffer, and God eventually saves them. Second, canonically this brutal period of history becomes a model, a type, of ideological oppression, suffering, and martyrdom against the church. What New Testament passages reflect this?
The Time of the End
1 “At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book. 2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. 3 And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above;[a] and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. 4 But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.”
5 Then I, Daniel, looked, and behold, two others stood, one on this bank of the stream and one on that bank of the stream. 6 And someone said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the stream,[b] “How long shall it be till the end of these wonders?” 7 And I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the stream; he raised his right hand and his left hand toward heaven and swore by him who lives forever that it would be for a time, times, and half a time, and that when the shattering of the power of the holy people comes to an end all these things would be finished. 8 I heard, but I did not understand. Then I said, “O my lord, what shall be the outcome of these things?” 9 He said, “Go your way, Daniel, for the words are shut up and sealed until the time of the end. 10 Many shall purify themselves and make themselves white and be refined, but the wicked shall act wickedly. And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand. 11 And from the time that the regular burnt offering is taken away and the abomination that makes desolate is set up, there shall be 1,290 days. 12 Blessed is he who waits and arrives at the 1,335 days. 13 But go your way till the end. And you shall rest and shall stand in your allotted place at the end of the days.”
49 Remember your word to your servant,
in which you have made me hope.
50 This is my comfort in my affliction,
that your promise gives me life.
51 The insolent utterly deride me,
but I do not turn away from your law.
52 When I think of your rules from of old,
I take comfort, O Lord.
53 Hot indignation seizes me because of the wicked,
who forsake your law.
54 Your statutes have been my songs
in the house of my sojourning.
55 I remember your name in the night, O Lord,
and keep your law.
56 This blessing has fallen to me,
that I have kept your precepts.
57 The Lord is my portion;
I promise to keep your words.
58 I entreat your favor with all my heart;
be gracious to me according to your promise.
59 When I think on my ways,
I turn my feet to your testimonies;
60 I hasten and do not delay
to keep your commandments.
61 Though the cords of the wicked ensnare me,
I do not forget your law.
62 At midnight I rise to praise you,
because of your righteous rules.
63 I am a companion of all who fear you,
of those who keep your precepts.
64 The earth, O Lord, is full of your steadfast love;
teach me your statutes!
65 You have dealt well with your servant,
O Lord, according to your word.
66 Teach me good judgment and knowledge,
for I believe in your commandments.
67 Before I was afflicted I went astray,
but now I keep your word.
68 You are good and do good;
teach me your statutes.
69 The insolent smear me with lies,
but with my whole heart I keep your precepts;
70 their heart is unfeeling like fat,
but I delight in your law.
71 It is good for me that I was afflicted,
that I might learn your statutes.
72 The law of your mouth is better to me
than thousands of gold and silver pieces.
REGARDING THE LAST CHAPTER OF Daniel (Dan. 12):
(1) The chapter division (which was not part of the original text) obscures the flow of the passage. Daniel 11:40-45 should be read with 12:1-4. As is pretty common in Hebrew prophecy, a vision of future history (11:2-39) suddenly slips over into a longer perspective. The expression “At the time of the end” (11:40) is ambiguous: it could refer to the end of the oppression of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, but several elements in the paragraph stretch way beyond his brief years—and 12:1-4 announces resurrection at the end of history, before which a period of terrible distress must take place. This confirms the canonical importance of the preceding chapter (see yesterday’s meditation): in Daniel, the people of God learn to suffer for no other reason than their allegiance to the Word of God. In the closing verses of the chapter (12:5-13), there again seems to be anticipation of another like Antiochus IV Epiphanes. The reference to “time, times, and half a time” (12:7) probably means “a year, [two] years, a half a year”—i.e., three-and-a-half years, just as in 8:14 with respect to the cruel rage of Antiochus. It has thus become a conventional way of speaking of a shortened period of extreme suffering through which the people of God must go before God relieves them—and this is in anticipation of the final suffering at the end (12:1).
(2) The closing up and sealing of the scroll until the time of the end (12:4, 9) does not signal esoteric knowledge. Partly it has to do with preserving the scroll intact. It also suggests that the full sweep of its anticipatory and prophetic truth will not be grasped until the events to which it refers arrive on the scene. Even when the events break out, some will not see—just as some did not “see” what Jesus was saying in his parables (Matt. 13:14-15), and some do not “see” what the Gospel is all about (1 Cor. 2:14).
(3) In verse 7 the man swears “by him who lives forever.” There are two elements in what this “man clothed in linen” says. First, the tone (attested by the oath) combined with the assertion that “all these things will be completed” shows that in the last analysis there are no contingencies with God: he knows the end from the beginning, and can guarantee outcomes. Second, the final relief will come when “the power of the holy people has been finally broken” (12:7). It was not broken under Antiochus IV Epiphanes. This must be referring to something at the end, making the reign of Antiochus a ghastly advance shadow of what was to come.
(4) Meditate on 12:1-3.
1 The word of the Lord that came to Hosea, the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel.
Hosea's Wife and Children
2 When the Lord first spoke through Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea, “Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the Lord.” 3 So he went and took Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.
4 And the Lord said to him, “Call his name Jezreel, for in just a little while I will punish the house of Jehu for the blood of Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel. 5 And on that day I will break the bow of Israel in the Valley of Jezreel.”
6 She conceived again and bore a daughter. And the Lord said to him, “Call her name No Mercy,[a] for I will no more have mercy on the house of Israel, to forgive them at all. 7 But I will have mercy on the house of Judah, and I will save them by the Lord their God. I will not save them by bow or by sword or by war or by horses or by horsemen.”
73 Your hands have made and fashioned me;
give me understanding that I may learn your commandments.
74 Those who fear you shall see me and rejoice,
because I have hoped in your word.
75 I know, O Lord, that your rules are righteous,
and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.
76 Let your steadfast love comfort me
according to your promise to your servant.
77 Let your mercy come to me, that I may live;
for your law is my delight.
78 Let the insolent be put to shame,
because they have wronged me with falsehood;
as for me, I will meditate on your precepts.
79 Let those who fear you turn to me,
that they may know your testimonies.
80 May my heart be blameless in your statutes,
that I may not be put to shame!
81 My soul longs for your salvation;
I hope in your word.
82 My eyes long for your promise;
I ask, “When will you comfort me?”
83 For I have become like a wineskin in the smoke,
yet I have not forgotten your statutes.
84 How long must your servant endure?[a]
When will you judge those who persecute me?
85 The insolent have dug pitfalls for me;
they do not live according to your law.
86 All your commandments are sure;
they persecute me with falsehood; help me!
87 They have almost made an end of me on earth,
but I have not forsaken your precepts.
88 In your steadfast love give me life,
that I may keep the testimonies of your mouth.
89 Forever, O Lord, your word
is firmly fixed in the heavens.
90 Your faithfulness endures to all generations;
you have established the earth, and it stands fast.
91 By your appointment they stand this day,
for all things are your servants.
92 If your law had not been my delight,
I would have perished in my affliction.
93 I will never forget your precepts,
for by them you have given me life.
94 I am yours; save me,
for I have sought your precepts.
95 The wicked lie in wait to destroy me,
but I consider your testimonies.
96 I have seen a limit to all perfection,
but your commandment is exceedingly broad.
10 [d] Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. And in the place where it was said to them, “You are not my people,” it shall be said to them, “Children[e] of the living God.” 11 And the children of Judah and the children of Israel shall be gathered together, and they shall appoint for themselves one head. And they shall go up from the land, for great shall be the day of Jezreel.
THE FIRST VERSE OF HOSEA 1 establishes that this prophecy came during the eighth century, which also witnessed the prophets Jonah and Amos (mainly, like Hosea, in the northern kingdom of Israel), and Micah and Isaiah (in Judah in the south). Early in the century both kingdoms, materially speaking, were doing pretty well, but both sank into decadence and moral and religious indifference. While Hosea appears in the canon immediately after Daniel, it thus deals with a period centuries earlier. Nevertheless the canonical association is helpful. If Daniel’s prophecy constantly discloses a God who is in sovereign control, Hosea discloses a God who is passionately moved by his fickle people. We need to nurture both portraits of God—God the transcendent sovereign, God the passionate person—if we are to be faithful to what the Bible says about him.
When the Lord first speaks to Hosea, his language is blistering. The NIV is too tame; the Jerusalem Bible is closer to the Hebrew: “Go, marry a whore, and get children with a whore, for the country itself has become nothing but a whore by abandoning Yahweh” (1:2, JB). So Hosea marries Gomer. On the face of it, she was a prostitute when he married her, and soon returned to her wanton ways. Alternatively, it is possible that the Lord’s command leaps forward to what she becomes, and Gomer was not a prostitute when Hosea married her.
Regardless of her background, the next chapters make clear what she became. Her children capture the attention in this chapter. Jezreel is a name that can be associated with a particular meaning (cf. 2:23), but above all it was the name of a town where the house of Jehu formerly massacred so many people. It would be like naming a child Chernobyl or Hiroshima or Soweto: everyone knows the connections. The Jehu massacre occurred about a century earlier, but the nation was still responsible, for it never repudiated the violence. At least Gomer bore this son to Hosea (she “bore him a son,” 1:3, italics added). That is not said of the next two: likely Hosea was not the father. The first is called “Not Loved” or “Not Pitied”; the second is called “Not My People.” The lessons are explicit: God will no longer love or pity Israel, and he will declare, “[Y]ou are not my people, and I am not your God” (1:9). God will break Israel’s bow (i.e., break her armed might) in the Valley of Jezreel (1:5). Historically, that took place in 733, just over a decade before Israel was finally destroyed; Assyria marched in and removed the defenses (2 Kings 15:29).
Astonishingly, despite these three shattering oracles, the chapter ends with stunning hope (1:10-11). That tells where this book is going—both this book of Hosea and this Bible.
Israel's Unfaithfulness Punished
2 “Plead with your mother, plead—
for she is not my wife,
and I am not her husband—
that she put away her whoring from her face,
and her adultery from between her breasts;
3 lest I strip her naked
and make her as in the day she was born,
and make her like a wilderness,
and make her like a parched land,
and kill her with thirst.
4 Upon her children also I will have no mercy,
because they are children of whoredom.
5 For their mother has played the whore;
she who conceived them has acted shamefully.
For she said, ‘I will go after my lovers,
who give me my bread and my water,
my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.’
6 Therefore I will hedge up her[d] way with thorns,
and I will build a wall against her,
so that she cannot find her paths.
7 She shall pursue her lovers
but not overtake them,
and she shall seek them
but shall not find them.
Then she shall say,
‘I will go and return to my first husband,
for it was better for me then than now.’
8 And she did not know
that it was I who gave her
the grain, the wine, and the oil,
and who lavished on her silver and gold,
which they used for Baal.
9 Therefore I will take back
my grain in its time,
and my wine in its season,
and I will take away my wool and my flax,
which were to cover her nakedness.
10 Now I will uncover her lewdness
in the sight of her lovers,
and no one shall rescue her out of my hand.
11 And I will put an end to all her mirth,
her feasts, her new moons, her Sabbaths,
and all her appointed feasts.
12 And I will lay waste her vines and her fig trees,
of which she said,
‘These are my wages,
which my lovers have given me.’
I will make them a forest,
and the beasts of the field shall devour them.
13 And I will punish her for the feast days of the Baals
when she burned offerings to them
and adorned herself with her ring and jewelry,
and went after her lovers
and forgot me, declares the Lord.
The Lord's Mercy on Israel
14 “Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
and bring her into the wilderness,
and speak tenderly to her.
15 And there I will give her her vineyards
and make the Valley of Achor[e] a door of hope.
And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth,
as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt.
16 “And in that day, declares the Lord, you will call me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer will you call me ‘My Baal.’ 17 For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be remembered by name no more. 18 And I will make for them a covenant on that day with the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the creeping things of the ground. And I will abolish[f] the bow, the sword, and war from the land, and I will make you lie down in safety. 19 And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. 20 I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the Lord.
21 “And in that day I will answer, declares the Lord,
I will answer the heavens,
and they shall answer the earth,
22 and the earth shall answer the grain, the wine, and the oil,
and they shall answer Jezreel,[g]
23 and I will sow her for myself in the land.
And I will have mercy on No Mercy,[h]
and I will say to Not My People,[i] ‘You are my people’;
and he shall say, ‘You are my God.’”
97 Oh how I love your law!
It is my meditation all the day.
98 Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies,
for it is ever with me.
99 I have more understanding than all my teachers,
for your testimonies are my meditation.
100 I understand more than the aged,[a]
for I keep your precepts.
101 I hold back my feet from every evil way,
in order to keep your word.
102 I do not turn aside from your rules,
for you have taught me.
103 How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104 Through your precepts I get understanding;
therefore I hate every false way.
105 Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.
106 I have sworn an oath and confirmed it,
to keep your righteous rules.
107 I am severely afflicted;
give me life, O Lord, according to your word!
108 Accept my freewill offerings of praise, O Lord,
and teach me your rules.
109 I hold my life in my hand continually,
but I do not forget your law.
110 The wicked have laid a snare for me,
but I do not stray from your precepts.
111 Your testimonies are my heritage forever,
for they are the joy of my heart.
112 I incline my heart to perform your statutes
forever, to the end.[b]
113 I hate the double-minded,
but I love your law.
114 You are my hiding place and my shield;
I hope in your word.
115 Depart from me, you evildoers,
that I may keep the commandments of my God.
116 Uphold me according to your promise, that I may live,
and let me not be put to shame in my hope!
117 Hold me up, that I may be safe
and have regard for your statutes continually!
118 You spurn all who go astray from your statutes,
for their cunning is in vain.
119 All the wicked of the earth you discard like dross,
therefore I love your testimonies.
120 My flesh trembles for fear of you,
and I am afraid of your judgments.
IN HOSEA 1, APOSTATE ISRAEL IS likened to a brood of children characterized by violence and mayhem (Jezreel, 1:4) or born out of wedlock (1:6-9). Although the “children” briefly reappear at the beginning and end of Hosea 2, here the focus is on apostate Israel as a fickle wife.
The verb translated “rebuke” in the NIV (2:2) is better rendered “plead,” as in a legal setting: “Plead my cause” (NEB), God begs of the children. The next two lines are better taken as a question: “Is she not my wife and I her husband?” (NEB). The entire book insists that God will not finally go back on his marriage vows, but that he will pursue her. If the words are taken as a statement (NIV), then they must mean that the heart of the marriage has gone out of it, not that God himself is finally ending it.
The next verses (2:3-4) demand radical repentance, not a merely formulaic “I’m sorry.” The alternative is that God will force Israel to face the consequences of her sin (2:5-13). The picture is perhaps worse than we think: the false gods after whom Israel lusted were often fertility gods, and she was constantly tempted to think that they provided her wealth (2:5), the way sex provides a prostitute’s resources. A culture with fertility religions glamorizes sex—as does our culture, if for different reasons. God sometimes seemed so remote or confined that Israel did not recognize that he alone provides all good things (2:8), just as Hosea provided for all of Gomer’s needs. Sooner or later, at all costs, the sheer horror of the apostasy must be exposed, the apparent glamour stripped of its false aura, the deceit and perfidy recognized, and the consequences experienced (2:10-13). There is both heartbreak and anger in God’s words: Israel “decked herself with rings and jewelry, and went after her lovers, but me she forgot” (2:13).
But if God threatens judgment, he will also woo the Israel he loves and allure her with his charms. He calls to mind the “courting” days in the desert: he will court her all over again, this whore who has betrayed him (2:14). The marriage will be preserved and strengthened (2:16), and God will guarantee that all the blessings of material prosperity will be provided (2:17-22). Violence will be swallowed up by prosperity; the valley of Jezreel will no longer be associated with Jehu, but with planting (the allusion depends on Hebrew etymology). The new covenant bride (2:18), dressed in wedding clothes, promises righteousness, justice, love, compassion, and faithfulness (2:19-20). And alienated, illegitimate children will belong to God (2:23)—which Paul sees as a foretaste of the grandest proportions (Rom. 9:25-26).
Hosea Redeems His Wife
1 And the Lord said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress, even as the Lord loves the children of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love cakes of raisins.” 2 So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a lethech[a] of barley. 3 And I said to her, “You must dwell as mine for many days. You shall not play the whore, or belong to another man; so will I also be to you.” 4 For the children of Israel shall dwell many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or pillar, without ephod or household gods. 5 Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the Lord their God, and David their king, and they shall come in fear to the Lord and to his goodness in the latter days.
The Lord Accuses Israel
1 Hear the word of the Lord, O children of Israel,
for the Lord has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land.
There is no faithfulness or steadfast love,
and no knowledge of God in the land;
2 there is swearing, lying, murder, stealing, and committing adultery;
they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed.
3 Therefore the land mourns,
and all who dwell in it languish,
and also the beasts of the field
and the birds of the heavens,
and even the fish of the sea are taken away.
4 Yet let no one contend,
and let none accuse,
for with you is my contention, O priest.[b]
5 You shall stumble by day;
the prophet also shall stumble with you by night;
and I will destroy your mother.
6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge;
because you have rejected knowledge,
I reject you from being a priest to me.
And since you have forgotten the law of your God,
I also will forget your children.
7 The more they increased,
the more they sinned against me;
I will change their glory into shame.
8 They feed on the sin[c] of my people;
they are greedy for their iniquity.
9 And it shall be like people, like priest;
I will punish them for their ways
and repay them for their deeds.
10 They shall eat, but not be satisfied;
they shall play the whore, but not multiply,
because they have forsaken the Lord
to cherish 11 whoredom, wine, and new wine,
which take away the understanding.
12 My people inquire of a piece of wood,
and their walking staff gives them oracles.
For a spirit of whoredom has led them astray,
and they have left their God to play the whore.
13 They sacrifice on the tops of the mountains
and burn offerings on the hills,
under oak, poplar, and terebinth,
because their shade is good.
Therefore your daughters play the whore,
and your brides commit adultery.
14 I will not punish your daughters when they play the whore,
nor your brides when they commit adultery;
for the men themselves go aside with prostitutes
and sacrifice with cult prostitutes,
and a people without understanding shall come to ruin.
15 Though you play the whore, O Israel,
let not Judah become guilty.
Enter not into Gilgal,
nor go up to Beth-aven,
and swear not, “As the Lord lives.”
16 Like a stubborn heifer,
Israel is stubborn;
can the Lord now feed them
like a lamb in a broad pasture?
17 Ephraim is joined to idols;
leave him alone.
18 When their drink is gone, they give themselves to whoring;
their rulers[d] dearly love shame.
19 A wind has wrapped them[e] in its wings,
and they shall be ashamed because of their sacrifices.
121 I have done what is just and right;
do not leave me to my oppressors.
122 Give your servant a pledge of good;
let not the insolent oppress me.
123 My eyes long for your salvation
and for the fulfillment of your righteous promise.
124 Deal with your servant according to your steadfast love,
and teach me your statutes.
125 I am your servant; give me understanding,
that I may know your testimonies!
126 It is time for the Lord to act,
for your law has been broken.
127 Therefore I love your commandments
above gold, above fine gold.
128 Therefore I consider all your precepts to be right;
I hate every false way.
129 Your testimonies are wonderful;
therefore my soul keeps them.
130 The unfolding of your words gives light;
it imparts understanding to the simple.
131 I open my mouth and pant,
because I long for your commandments.
132 Turn to me and be gracious to me,
as is your way with those who love your name.
133 Keep steady my steps according to your promise,
and let no iniquity get dominion over me.
134 Redeem me from man's oppression,
that I may keep your precepts.
135 Make your face shine upon your servant,
and teach me your statutes.
136 My eyes shed streams of tears,
because people do not keep your law.
137 Righteous are you, O Lord,
and right are your rules.
138 You have appointed your testimonies in righteousness
and in all faithfulness.
139 My zeal consumes me,
because my foes forget your words.
140 Your promise is well tried,
and your servant loves it.
141 I am small and despised,
yet I do not forget your precepts.
142 Your righteousness is righteous forever,
and your law is true.
143 Trouble and anguish have found me out,
but your commandments are my delight.
144 Your testimonies are righteous forever;
give me understanding that I may live.
HOSEA 1 IS TO HOSEA 2 WHAT Hosea 3 is to Hosea 4. The first member of each pair of chapters is written in prose and focuses on Hosea and Gomer; the second is written in poetry and focuses on the parallel relationship between Yahweh and Israel.
In the pair of chapters before us (Hosea 3—4), Hosea begins with a restrained, first-person account of what happened next in his marriage. This chapter brings the account of his marriage to an end. Hosea is charged with loving his wife, who has apparently returned to her harlotry and now “belongs” to some other man (presumably a pimp). Hosea discloses none of his feelings as he buys Gomer back; actions are more important anyway (something our generation has all but forgotten). Yet at the same time he charges Gomer, now returned to him, to be faithful to him.
This exactly mirrors God’s situation. In theory he could righteously dismiss his “bride” and forget about her. Instead, he is committed to getting her back, to paying whatever is necessary to do so—but he also expects his bride, newly returned, to be faithful to him. God still loves his elect. He will pursue them, even after the most horrible rebellion and chastening, and he will buy them back. Indeed, the last verses of chapter 3 envisage an exile which on the long haul will do good: it will establish a time when the remnant will truly “seek the LORD their God and David their king” (3:5).
In Hosea 4 God addresses apostate Israel. “There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land” (4:1). The long list of sins is profoundly depressing. The people “are destroyed from lack of knowledge” of God’s Word (4:6). Otherwise put, “A spirit of prostitution leads them astray; they are unfaithful to their God” (4:12). The corruption is now endemic. Sarcasm boils to the surface: why should God punish daughters and daughters-in-law for prostitution, when the men love to consort with harlots (4:14)?
God is deepening his people’s sense of shame and guilt. The scorn is palpable: “Do not go to Gilgal; do not go up to Beth Aven” (4:15). Gilgal and Bethel were two of the most important shrines for the covenant people of God. The second, Bethel, means “house of God,” but the prophet recasts it as “Beth Aven,” i.e., “house of wickedness,” for that is all that goes on there. “Ephraim is joined to idols; leave him alone!” (4:17). Go to church with this lot, and all you are doing is participating in disgusting idolatry and self-seeking, with no attention devoted to learning God’s Word. Better to stay home; this sort of “church” will merely corrupt you.
Punishment Coming for Israel and Judah
1 Hear this, O priests!
Pay attention, O house of Israel!
Give ear, O house of the king!
For the judgment is for you;
for you have been a snare at Mizpah
and a net spread upon Tabor.
2 And the revolters have gone deep into slaughter,
but I will discipline all of them.
3 I know Ephraim,
and Israel is not hidden from me;
for now, O Ephraim, you have played the whore;
Israel is defiled.
4 Their deeds do not permit them
to return to their God.
For the spirit of whoredom is within them,
and they know not the Lord.
5 The pride of Israel testifies to his face;[a]
Israel and Ephraim shall stumble in his guilt;
Judah also shall stumble with them.
6 With their flocks and herds they shall go
to seek the Lord,
but they will not find him;
he has withdrawn from them.
7 They have dealt faithlessly with the Lord;
for they have borne alien children.
Now the new moon shall devour them with their fields.
8 Blow the horn in Gibeah,
the trumpet in Ramah.
Sound the alarm at Beth-aven;
we follow you,[b] O Benjamin!
9 Ephraim shall become a desolation
in the day of punishment;
among the tribes of Israel
I make known what is sure.
10 The princes of Judah have become
like those who move the landmark;
upon them I will pour out
my wrath like water.
11 Ephraim is oppressed, crushed in judgment,
because he was determined to go after filth.[c]
12 But I am like a moth to Ephraim,
and like dry rot to the house of Judah.
13 When Ephraim saw his sickness,
and Judah his wound,
then Ephraim went to Assyria,
and sent to the great king.[d]
But he is not able to cure you
or heal your wound.
14 For I will be like a lion to Ephraim,
and like a young lion to the house of Judah.
I, even I, will tear and go away;
I will carry off, and no one shall rescue.
15 I will return again to my place,
until they acknowledge their guilt and seek my face,
and in their distress earnestly seek me.
Israel and Judah Are Unrepentant
1 “Come, let us return to the Lord;
for he has torn us, that he may heal us;
he has struck us down, and he will bind us up.
2 After two days he will revive us;
on the third day he will raise us up,
that we may live before him.
3 Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord;
his going out is sure as the dawn;
he will come to us as the showers,
as the spring rains that water the earth.”
4 What shall I do with you, O Ephraim?
What shall I do with you, O Judah?
Your love is like a morning cloud,
like the dew that goes early away.
5 Therefore I have hewn them by the prophets;
I have slain them by the words of my mouth,
and my judgment goes forth as the light.
6 For I desire steadfast love[e] and not sacrifice,
the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.
7 But like Adam they transgressed the covenant;
there they dealt faithlessly with me.
8 Gilead is a city of evildoers,
tracked with blood.
9 As robbers lie in wait for a man,
so the priests band together;
they murder on the way to Shechem;
they commit villainy.
10 In the house of Israel I have seen a horrible thing;
Ephraim's whoredom is there; Israel is defiled.
11 For you also, O Judah, a harvest is appointed,
when I restore the fortunes of my people.
145 With my whole heart I cry; answer me, O Lord!
I will keep your statutes.
146 I call to you; save me,
that I may observe your testimonies.
147 I rise before dawn and cry for help;
I hope in your words.
148 My eyes are awake before the watches of the night,
that I may meditate on your promise.
149 Hear my voice according to your steadfast love;
O Lord, according to your justice give me life.
150 They draw near who persecute me with evil purpose;
they are far from your law.
151 But you are near, O Lord,
and all your commandments are true.
152 Long have I known from your testimonies
that you have founded them forever.
153 Look on my affliction and deliver me,
for I do not forget your law.
154 Plead my cause and redeem me;
give me life according to your promise!
155 Salvation is far from the wicked,
for they do not seek your statutes.
156 Great is your mercy, O Lord;
give me life according to your rules.
157 Many are my persecutors and my adversaries,
but I do not swerve from your testimonies.
158 I look at the faithless with disgust,
because they do not keep your commands.
159 Consider how I love your precepts!
Give me life according to your steadfast love.
160 The sum of your word is truth,
and every one of your righteous rules endures forever.
Sin and Shin
161 Princes persecute me without cause,
but my heart stands in awe of your words.
162 I rejoice at your word
like one who finds great spoil.
163 I hate and abhor falsehood,
but I love your law.
164 Seven times a day I praise you
for your righteous rules.
165 Great peace have those who love your law;
nothing can make them stumble.
166 I hope for your salvation, O Lord,
and I do your commandments.
167 My soul keeps your testimonies;
I love them exceedingly.
168 I keep your precepts and testimonies,
for all my ways are before you.
169 Let my cry come before you, O Lord;
give me understanding according to your word!
170 Let my plea come before you;
deliver me according to your word.
171 My lips will pour forth praise,
for you teach me your statutes.
172 My tongue will sing of your word,
for all your commandments are right.
173 Let your hand be ready to help me,
for I have chosen your precepts.
174 I long for your salvation, O Lord,
and your law is my delight.
175 Let my soul live and praise you,
and let your rules help me.
176 I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant,
for I do not forget your commandments.
SOMEONE HAS SAID THAT THE entire book of Hosea can be understood as a study of what it means to turn back to God. Here there are no glib nostrums; merely verbal apologies are not acceptable. And yet hope is held out for people who display the kind of return that the Lord does accept. Nowhere is that tension clearer than in Hosea 5—6.
Hosea 5 opens with an indictment of Israel, especially the leaders. Nothing about them is unknown to God (5:3; cf. 7:2; Heb. 4:13). Their problem is not merely an intellectual one, but is profoundly moral: “Their deeds do not permit them to return to their God. A spirit of prostitution is in their heart; they do not acknowledge the LORD” (5:4; cf. John 3:19). Worse, when they do formally “seek” the Lord, their pursuit is so false that he withdraws from them, for God is not the prisoner of his own sacrificial system (5:5-6). In bringing judgment upon them, God’s purpose is not only retribution but inducement to repentance: “Then I will go back to my place until they admit their guilt. And they will seek my face; in their misery they will earnestly seek me” (5:15).
The opening verses of chapter 6 (vv. 1-3) can be understood in two ways. (1) They may be a moving plea from Hosea to his own people to repent and turn to the Lord. He wants them to move away from religion as sacrificial observance to religion as genuine acknowledgment of the Lord. The same God who has chastened the people will then gladly bind up their wounds. “As surely as the sun rises, he will appear” (6:3). (2) They may be the words of the people themselves—and in that case the context in which they are embedded suggests that, although they sound very good, in reality they mean little (cf. Ps. 78:34, 36-37). Such repentance is mere presumption, and God sees through it and dismisses it, for their “love is like the morning mist, like the early dew that disappears” (6:4)—like Gomer’s love. Either of these two ways of taking 6:1-3 makes sense; in both instances the fickleness in God’s covenant people is deeply repugnant. If I have to choose between the two, I tilt toward the first. Hosea 6:1-3 sounds rather more like genuine repentance that is urged but not followed, than like the empty words of insincere hypocrites.
Whatever the interpretation, clearly God is not impressed with mere words and religious observance: “For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings” (6:6; cf. Matt. 9:13; 12:7). A generation that lustily sings God’s praises while lustily sleeping around had better expect the blistering judgment of God.
Praise God for His everlasting nature and for His enduring rule as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Ask for God to deliver us from the temptation to the seeming riches and power this world has to offer. Pray for God to grow our love for and service to others and to help us willingly sacrifice our own self-interests. Ask the Spirit to convict us of any Scripture we have misconstrued or ignored for our own means and to lead us to repentance and restoration. Pray we will all grow in our adoration of God and obedience to His will in our lives. Praise God for His loving faithfulness and for kindly shepherding us through our pride.
Marks Village Bible Club and Fall Festival
This week we are praying for the Marks Village Bible Club and their Fall Festival event taking place next Sunday afternoon. The Fall Festival is a time for the Body of Christ to come together with the children and families of Marks Village for food, fun, and fellowship. This event serves as an avenue for connecting kids to the weekly Bible Club and introducing families to the love of Christ. If you are able to come serve with us next Sunday, November 1
at Ambassador for Christ Church in Gate City from 2:30-5:30pm, email Dimity at email@example.com. We are also praying for New Community Baptist Church and Ronnie Chapman, Pastor.
Day 1: Pray for God to awaken the hearts and minds of men, women, teens, and children in the Marks Village community to the saving knowledge of God’s grace and love through Jesus Christ. Pray for those who serve to exemplify compassion and boldness in presenting the God of all hope.
Day 2: Praise God for the amazing growth in the Marks Village Bible Club from 20 children to close to 120 children. Praise Him for the adults who are now attending with their children and being ministered to in adult Bible study groups.
Day 3: Pray for more of God’s people to respond in obedience to go to the mission field of Marks Village and serve locally in one of the many opportunities.
Day 4: Pray for the volunteers currently serving at the Bible Club. Pray especially for God to sustain them and allow them to faithfully remain committed to serve, pray, teach, love, and make disciples among the families of Marks Village.
Day 5: Pray for the Fall Festival “Rock the Village” event to be an amazing time of evangelism and outreach to the Marks Village community. Pray for all 500 units of residents to be touched in some way by the Good News of Jesus Christ, and for more children to be connected to the weekly Bible Club.
Day 6: Pray for those who are volunteering during the festival to be encouraged through godly fellowship and blessed as they honor God through their service.
Brook Hills Mid-Termer, Michelle M.
This week we are praying for Brook Hills Mid-Termer Michelle M. serving in South Asia. Michelle serves with field partners to promote sustainable business among women. Michelle specifically manages a project and helps with the marketing of Blessed Hope, a business empowering women so they can work and care for their families. Through this project, Michelle has the opportunity to build deep friendships with women and share the gospel. Join us this week as we pray for Michelle and her team. This week we are also praying for our teams in South Asia and in Southeast Asia.
Day 1: Praise God for the way He has provided so many opportunities for Michelle and her team to build relationships and share the gospel. Pray for those relationships to continue to be strengthened and for their friends to believe in Christ.
Day 2: Pray for Michelle as she leads the women at Blessed Hope. Pray for God to give her wisdom to discern how best to serve the women with whom she works.
Day 3: Michelle’s city is facing a crisis right now because there is a shortage of Petrol. Tensions are high and fuel is sparse. Pray for the Lord to provide for Michelle’s needs and for Michelle to be resourceful during this time.
Day 4: Michelle just returned from a trip to an isolated village where they were able to help with relief work and share the gospel. Pray for Chhiring, a woman with whom Michelle shared the gospel. Pray for her salvation.
Day 5: Michelle has become good friends with a family. She often visits with them and shares the gospel. Pray for Majick to know Jesus. Pray for God to soften Majick’s heart to hear the good news and receive it.
Day 6: Life in Southeast Asia is not easy and can be exhausting. Pray for God to give Michelle the strength she needs to do what He has called her to do. Pray for Michelle to find opportunities to rest.
O Lord my God
When I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds
Thy hands have made
I see the stars
I hear the rolling thunder
Thy pow'r thru'out
The universe displayed
Then sings my soul
My Savior God to Thee
How great Thou art
How great Thou art
Then sings my soul
My Savior God to Thee
How great Thou art
How great Thou art
When through the woods
And forest glades I wander
And hear the birds
Sing sweetly in the trees
When I look down
From lofty mountain grandeur
And hear the brook
And feel the gentle breeze
And when I think
That God His Son not sparing
Sent Him to die
I scarce can take it in
That on the cross
My burden gladly bearing
He bled and died
To take away my sin
When Christ shall come
With shout of acclamation
And take me home
What joy shall fill my heart
Then I shall bow
In humble adoration
And there proclaim
My God how great Thou art
Crown Him with many crowns
The Lamb upon His throne
Hark how the heav'nly anthem drowns
All music but its own
Awake my soul and sing
Of Him who died for me
And hail Him as thy matchless King
Through all eternity
Majesty Lord of all
Let ev'ry throne before Him fall
The King of kings
O come adore
Our God who reigns forevermore (forevermore)
Crown Him the Lord of life
Who triumphed o'er the grave
And rose victorious in the strife
For those He came to save
His glories now we sing
Who died and rose on high
Who died eternal life to bring
And lives that death may die
All hail Redeemer hail
For He has died for me
His praise and glory shall not fail
Praise to the Lord
The Almighty the King of creation
O my soul praise Him
For He is thy health and salvation
All ye who hear
Now to His temple draw near
Praise Him in glad adoration
Praise to the Lord
Who o'er all things so wondrously reigneth
Shelters thee under His wings
Yea so gently sustaineth
Hast thou not seen
How thy desires e'er have been
Granted in what He ordaineth
Praise to the Lord
Who doth prosper thy work and defend thee
Surely His goodness and mercy
Here daily attend thee
What the Almighty can do
If with His love He befriend thee
Praise to the Lord
O let all that is in me adore Him
All that hath life and breath
Come now with praises before Him
Let the Amen sound from His people again
Gladly fore'er we adore Him