Sunday Morning Coffee: November!

It’s Thanksgiving month, and one thing for which I’m thankful is that Halloween is over! OVER! For another year, at least.

I find the big blow up figures of witches, ghosts, skeletons and other signs of death just–well, ugly. As far as that goes, I don’t like the Christmas ones, either. One of the worst decorating ideas ever. I’m sorry if you are offended. I just don’t like them.

Did you know that Halloween is second only to Christmas for being a cash cow?


When did we start spending so much money decorating in honor of demons, witches, ghosts and ghouls, and death? NOBODY did that when I was growing up.

The people that profit the most from the tons of money spent on Halloween these days must be laughing up their sleeves. They have succeeded in suckering us into buying elaborate costumes, when we used to make them ourselves. They offer us shelves and shelves of decoration, candy for Trick or Treat, masks of all imaginable horror, and we’re snapping it up as if it had some value.

Halloween was just fun when I was a kid. We went with all the other kids in the neighborhood, dressed in all sorts of outlandish get-ups, collecting treats that would last us for weeks–at least until Christmas if we were careful. No one was afraid. Our parents didn’t have to shepherd us, carting us from place to place. Nowadays, parents take their kids to the crowded neighborhoods where they’ll get more loot, and I guess I understand that. It’s the whole point, right? Loot?

If there were horror movies, we didn’t see them. If there were ordinary TV programs that glorified Halloween, I don’t remember seeing them, either.

It’s kind of sad, really. We’ve lived in our house for over 27 years, and for a long time I would buy a bag of candy for Trick or Treaters. They never came. One year some parents brought their kids to our house, but then realized they were in the wrong driveway. I gave them candy anyway, poor kids. I don’t bother buying candy now. If it’s in the house, it’s going to end up in my mouth. That would be enough to scare anyone!

Well, I’m glad it’s over. I just wish the stores would quit putting out Christmas merchandise in early October. Three months is too long to be thinking about Christmas shopping.

And that’s my rant for the day. I hope you spend some time this week thinking about Thanksgiving. Recipes, history, all that God has blessed us with. That’s a much happier theme than ghosts and skeletons.

Worst Offense Against God

Hosea 8:3-4.

Israel hath cast off the thing that is good: the enemy shall pursue him.

They have set up kings, but not by Me: they have made princes, and I knew it not: of their silver and their gold have they made them idols, that they may be cut off.

God Hates Your Idols on Twitter: "Ye have seen their abominations, and their  idols, wood and stone, silver and gold... (Deuteronomy 29:17)… "

By turning to idolatry and immorality, Israel had brought down on themselves destruction and captivity. Our choices, our behaviors, always have consequences, and those consequences are inescapable unless there is sincere repentance and confession of sin. Even then, we cannot escape the results of our sin entirely, but God will withhold His hand of extreme judgment when repentance is real.

Israel, however, had gone too far. So far over the line had they crossed that there was no hope of repentance for them. They had turned from all that was sacred and holy, and their doom was sealed.

What had they done?

They had chosen kings, but not with God’s guidance.

They had accepted princes and other rulers without God’s approval.

They gave their gold and silver over to creating idols, the worst offense of all against the God Who had said,

Thou shalt have no other gods before Me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth” (Exodus 20:3-4).


As An Eagle

Hoses 8: 1-2.

Set the trumpet to thy mouth. He shall come as an eagle against the house of the LORD, because they have transgressed My covenant, and trespassed against My law.

Israel shall cry unto Me, My God, we know Thee.


The trumpet was used to call the people to gather, or to call fighting men to war. In this context, it is actually a call to Assyria to prepare for battle against Israel. They will come swiftly, like a mighty eagle, against God’s chosen people because they have sinned against God in their idolatry and licentious behaviors.

Gen Z, help sound the alarm: #BringBirdsBack | The Seattle Times

Take a good look at the eagle in my picture. I would not want to be targeted by that fellow! Now consider an entire army with that look of determination, strength, and power. The Assyrians were known for the speed of their marches, and for surrounding the city or area they were going to attack so that there was no escape, nowhere to turn. They were also known for their merciless treatment of captives. It was a terrifying thing to know that they were coming.

In verse 2, we read that Israel will cry out, “My God, we know Thee!” But it is an insincere attempt to escape the wrath of Assyria, similar to Matthew 7:22-23, in which Jesus said,   “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'” 

It is too little, too late. They make a cry to God not because they have repented, but because they want to avoid what is coming to them like a speeding eagle descending on his prey.

A Deceitful Bow

Hosea 7:14-16.

And they have not cried unto Me with their heart, when they howled upon their beds: they assemble themselves for corn and wine, and they rebel against Me.

Though I have bound and strengthened their arms, yet do they imagine mischief against Me.

They return, but not to the most High: they are like a deceitful bow: their princes shall fall by the sword for the rage of their tongue: this shall be their derision in the land of Egypt.

In v. 14, the word cried would be better translated howled, as the cry of a wounded beast. The people of Israel saw their doom coming, yet even as they howled on their beds, they did NOT plead with God to forgive and restore them. When they gathered together it was not to seek repentance and forgiveness, but to look for the comforts of food and wine. The corn spoken of in the Bible most often referred to wheat, from which they could make bread. Corn and wine spoke of plentiful harvests, not starvation. But still, even as they saw terrible times ahead, they did not turn to God.

Under both kings Joash and Jeroboam II, God had chastised and strengthened their arms. The arms are symbolic of weapons of warfare, that which protects and conquers. God had bound (disciplined) the fighting men of Israel, and still they used that strength in turning away from God. They turned away from Him, and were like “a deceitful bow.”

Since my husband was involved in archery as a teen, I asked him about that phrase. He thought it may be describing a bow that was incorrectly made, or that wasn’t strong enough to get the arrow to its mark. According to the. commentaries I then consulted, he was exactly right. A bow that is poorly sighted will shoot off to one side or the other of the target, and the arrow will fall uselessly to the ground. A bow that is poorly made, perhaps of damaged wood, will not get the arrow far enough to hit the target. It is deceitful because it appears to be suited to the task, but it really is not.

Their princes, or leaders, would fall because of their words of rage against God. It is supposed that some of the people escaped to Egypt, hoping for protection from Assyria, but their behavior was so blasphemous and ungodly that the Egyptians held them in derision.

What an awful thing, that even as they were fleeing from Assyria, they were still turning the rage against God and refusing to see that the calamity befalling them had been brought on by their own idolatry and hatred against the God of Israel.

As I read over this passage, I thought of some clients I worked with in my counseling office. They were in terrible trouble of one sort or another, and they were angry and rebellious—-against God! They never considered that their own behavior had brought them to a place of being mandated by a court to seek counseling. It was never their fault.

So it was with Israel and Judah at this point in their history. They were angry and rebellious against Jehovah. It wasn’t their fault, in their misguided thinking that had been twisted by idolatry and other sins against God. Never their fault.

Woe unto Them!

Hosea 7: 12-13.

When they shall go, I will spread my net upon them; I will bring them down as the fowls of the heaven; I will chastise them, as their congregation hath heard.

Woe unto them! for they have fled from Me: destruction unto them! because they have transgressed against Me: though I have redeemed them, yet they have spoken lies against Me.

hunt, birds, fowling with nets and slings, after copper engraving by Adrian  Collaert, 16th century, people, men, man, hunter, hunters, hunting, net,  nets, slings, sling, hunt, hunts, birds, bird, wet, wetting, historic,

This drawing is not from biblical times, but it shows a clear picture of using nets to snare birds, similar to what is described in v. 12. God is continuing from v. 11 here, where Israel is described as “silly doves,” fluttering to and fro to find help from the very nations that would destroy them.

God says He will bring them down and chastise them, as “their congregation hath heard.” They were warned, over and over again, that if they didn’t turn from their idolatry and return to God, they would suffer. But they loved what they were doing, and even went so far as to turn to Assyria for help–the nation that would persecute them horribly. I am reminded of England’s prime minister, Chamberlain, waving the paper he had signed with Hitler, saying “Peace for our time!” How foolish we are!

Chamberlain Declares “Peace for Our Time” - HISTORY

Whenever God declares Woe! to His people, He is deadly serious. In spite of many warnings, many opportunities to repent, they have refused. They fled from God; they sinned against Him; they even lied against Him. And all that after He had redeemed them, showed them grace and mercy time after time, and promised them healing and restoration if only they would forsake their sin and return to Him. Their woe would be their destruction at the hands of the Assyrians, who were infamous for their horrendous mistreatment of their captives.

God Speaks

Just Writing!

Writing Prompts: Religion and Spirituality

(God speaks directly to you – what does He say?)

I believe that God spoke to people like Moses, Abraham, and others in the Bible. He even spoke to Saul on the Damascus Road. I believe He spoke to the prophets. But today, we have the complete, total, inspired Word of God–the Bible. So, if I did hear God speak to me, audibly, unmistakably, I’d think I was hallucinating. I believe that He has already given the answers we seek through His Word. I also believe that sometimes we need a little help to find those answers, which is one reason I became a counselor in a Christian counseling office. So that’s the direction I’m going to take for this story.


One of the things I enjoyed about being a counselor for 18 years was that there was never one day just…

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The Pride of Israel

Hosea 7: 10-11.

And the pride of Israel testifieth to his face: and they do not return to the LORD their God, nor seek Him for all this.

Ephraim also is like a silly dove without heart: they call to Egypt, they go to Assyria.

Israel has gone so far away from God that, in their pride, they don’t even see their own folly, or the danger looming over them. They are silly, like doves, with no courage or determination. They fly off to other nations, seeking refuge or protection. So silly are they, indeed, that they even appealed to Assyria for help– perhaps a treaty of some sort to deliver them from the catastrophe that loomed over them.

It either does not occur to them to seek God, or they simply do not care to seek Him because of everything they would have had to give up.

There have been many who have resisted coming to God because they were afraid they’d have to give up the lifestyle they loved. What they finally come to understand, often, is that God changes the desires of the heart, and places a new heart within them–a heart that seeks Him, and delights in Him, and no longer desires the things of the world that they thought they couldn’t do without.

Many years ago, my dad, who had become a Christian when he was about 14 but had never really been discipled, felt the pull of God’s call on his life. He had been through WWII, had a wife and two little girls, and a good job. But he was a weekend beer drunk, and he smoked a lot–both of those skills he learned in the Navy. He struggled against giving up things he enjoyed.

One day, as he was driving out in the countryside, waging a mental battle with the Lord, he was about to pull another cigarette from the pack in his pocket. He realized he was sick of the battle, hated smoking, and he pulled the pack out of his pocket, crumpled it up and tossed it out the window. That was it. He never smoked again, and never craved it. Yes, he was guilty of littering. Doing so was not typical of him. He was a very neat man who liked everything in its place. Tossing that pack of cigarettes was significant of the battle he was waging against giving in to God’s call on his life. He gave up drinking, too, and went to Bible college to become a pastor. In doing so, he also gave up his desire to be a college-level history teacher, but he never gave up his love and interest in history, and passed it along to his children.

Why do I share this story with you? Because, in a way, Dad was like Israel in his resistance against God, wanting to go his own way and not really having a clear idea of what that way would be. He was stubbornly resisting God’s call, just as Israel resisted God’s pleading for them to repent and turn to Him.

Like an Unturned Cake

Hosea 7:8-9.

Ephraim, he hath mixed himself among the people; Ephraim is a cake not turned.

Strangers have devoured his strength, and he knoweth it not: yea, gray hairs are here and there upon him, yet he knoweth not.

The Cultural Faith Crises of Burnt/Raw pancakes

In turning to the worship if idols, Ephraim (Israel) was like a “cake not turned.” Often, bread was prepared like a pancake; it was cooked on both sides. If you, as I, have ever become distracted while making pancakes, you know how quickly they can burn on one side but are still runny on the other. Not appetizing at all. So was Ephraim in the eyes of God. Like an unturned pancake, it wasn’t pleasant to Him.

Ephraim had given all her strength to idol worship, and had become weak and open to destruction. The sad thing is, the people didn’t even know how far they had fallen. They had begun to show grey hair, but were not aware of this sign of aging and its accompanying weakness.

They were truly ripe and ready for the Assyrian harvest.

Sick with Wine

Hosea 7:5-7.

In the day of our king the princes have made him sick with bottles of wine; he stretched out his hand with scorners.

For they have made ready their heart like an oven, whiles they lie in wait: their baker sleepeth all the night; in the morning it burneth as a flaming fire.

They are all hot as an oven, and have devoured their judges; all their kings are fallen: there is none among them that calleth unto me.

New Wineskins | wellsofshiloh

The kings of both Israel and Judah had become weak, just as involved in idolatry as everyone else. Their own sons, as well as other courtiers, knew their weaknesses and catered to them, keeping them drunk and unable to rule. During this period of time prior to being taken captive by Assyria, there were kings who were slain by their own sons as they vied with each other over ascension to the throne. Power, wealth, lust–these were the operative motivations for their behavior.

While they were consumed with idolatry and the lustful activities that idolatry entailed, they could not and did not even think about calling on God. It was a time of complete forsaking of the holiness and purity of the worship of Jehovah. The hearts of the people were stirred not by awe of God, but by lustful desires and their own selfish appetites for power.

What a sad comedown for a nation whose history was filled with the miracles of the God of heaven!

A Raging Fire

Hosea 7:3-4.

They make the king glad with their wickedness, and the princes with their lies.

They are all adulterers, as an oven heated by the baker, who ceaseth from raising after he hath kneaded the dough, until it be leavened.

Like a Burning Hot Oven | TIME in the Word Ministries

Continuing on the theme of the wickedness of Israel and Judah, God, speaking through Hosea, tells the people that they are pleasing the kings and princes of their nation with their wicked lies, their ungodly behavior. It is indeed a very sad thing when the leaders of any nation are pleased with the sinful behaviors of the people.

I was a bit confused with v. 4. I’ve baked bread for most of our 52 years of marriage, and I’m very familiar with the process–at least, when I’m using an electric or gas oven. Once the bread has been thoroughly kneaded, it is set to rise until it doubles in size. When it neared that point, I would preheat the oven so that the bread did not go into a cold oven and rise too much. It takes a little practice to get this right, but after a while it is second nature. You just develop a “feel” for when the dough is ready to bake.

Verse 4 describes a baker who used a wood- or coal-heated oven. It would burn very hot at first, so the baker could set his bread to rise and then not bother to get up again until the yeast had worked its way all through the dough. Keep in mind that most bread-baking was done very early in the morning, and was done on a daily basis.

The hearts of the people are compared to this raging hot oven, hungry for the wickedness and idolatry of the world. Only they didn’t wait for the fire to burn down; they jumped into the inferno of sin and rebellion without giving a thought to what would happen to them as a result.