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Solve the Puzzle

Hosea 14:9

“If my students don’t get it, if they flunk the standardized test, it’s my fault. The school administrators pressure me to make it easier, but math problems aren’t always simple and easy.” 

I could feel the tense frustration of this experienced math teacher who was thinking about quitting because all the responsibility for learning is being placed on her, and the students are not held accountable. When it comes to getting it, does the Lord put responsibility on the student? 

As the prophet Hosea begins to close his book, God moves him to ask some potent questions and talks about two groups of students. 

“Who is wise? Let him figure out these things.

Who is discerning? Let him know them. 

Indeed, the ways of the Lord are straight; the righteous will walk in them. 

But rebels will stumble in them.”   Hosea 14:9

Proverbs emphasizes that the person who lives their life following the Lord’s straight path will reverence him, but the crooked person will despise his ways (Prov. 14:2). At the beginning of Israel’s hymnbook, we are faced with the same two groups: the righteous who enjoy intimacy with the Lord, and the wicked who mock God’s instructions and end up blown away like dry grass in the gale of God’s judgment (Ps. 1:1). 

Hosea connects his writing with both the Psalms and Proverbs. He makes it clear. Those who rebel will not understand that his marriage to Gomer and their children picture a far more important relationship, Israel’s marriage to the Lord (chapters 1-3). They won’t see that their idolatry and sexual promiscuity is not freedom and an ultimate expression of sensuality and pleasure. It’s treachery against the holy covenant with the God, the source of life, and the children this idolatry generates will not be protected. 

As Hosea lays out God’s lawsuit, these rebels will never see that their lying, violent politics and materialistic, immoral religion are the cause of their destruction, not protection from it (4-11). Since they won’t face their sin, they will never turn towards the Lord and experience his forgiveness and the joy of salvation. They miss the grace that flows out of the promises God made to Abraham (1:10-2:1) and to David (3:5). But Hosea also knows that a few in his audience will get it. They will be wise. They will open their hearts and they will receive his greatest gift—intimacy with himself. 

We, too, must decide whether we will be the wise, discerning ones who get the message or the foolish, rebellious ones who continue to stumble into death. 

LORD, help my teacher friend not to quit and to remember that even in math there will be a few students who do discipline themselves to listen and learn. In a far more important subject—understanding your Word—help many to take the time to solve Hosea’s words puzzles and join the wise, discerning ones who believe.  

For more from Dave Wyrtzen please visit TruthEncounter.com!