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Heart work is hard work

Heart Work is Hard Work

What is the condition of your heart? Is it hard, cold, proud, deceitful, rebellious or divided? An invitation stands before God’s people today as it did back in the time of Hosea. God is inviting His people to return to Him but their hearts have led them astray. The condition of our hearts leads us astray or draws us near. Our hearts can become hard and jaded in this world. We can also have proud hearts that don’t rely on God or go through the motions and be led astray by our cold, divided hearts, but God desires sincerity. Heart work is hard work but when we have a sincere heart that daily goes before God in self-examination through His word, nothing stands in the way of our relationship with God. Sins are confessed and people are restored.

Bible Reading of the Day: Hosea 8-14

Hosea 8 starts out with God revealing the sins of His people. Hosea 8:2-4, “Israel cries out to me, “My God, we know you!” 3 Israel has rejected what is good; an enemy will pursue him. 4 They have installed kings, but not through me. They have appointed leaders, but without my approval. And they make their silver and gold into idols for themselves for their own destruction.”

Heart Work is Hard Work—Have a Sincere Heart

God’s people rejected God yet while still giving him lip service. It is not enough to say we love God if we don’t also obey Him. As it says in John 14:15, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” God’s people did not rely on God. They relied on themselves and their own futile thinking. God’s people made idols that they worshiped instead of God. Real worship flows from sincere hearts, not divided hearts.

Heart Work is Hard Work—God Heals Our Deceitful Hearts

In Hosea 10:1-2, We see God’s blessing and yet His people turn away: “Israel is a lush vine; it yields fruit for itself. The more his fruit increased, the more he increased the altars. The better his land produced, the better they made the sacred pillars. 2 Their hearts are devious; now they must bear their guilt. The Lord will break down their altars and demolish their sacred pillars.”

Their hearts are devious. Jeremiah warned us about this in Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” God can heal our deceitful, wayward hearts, but we have to acknowledge it before the LORD. We deceive ourselves when we speak mere words as it says in Hosea 10:4.

Heart Work is Hard Work—God Can Turn Our Stubborn Hearts to Him

Hosea 11:7-8, My people are bent on turning from me. Though they call to him on high, he will not exalt them at all. 8 How can I give you up, Ephraim? And How can I surrender you, Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I treat you like Zeboiim? I have had a change of heart; my compassion is stirred!”

Look at this! The people bent on turning from God have rebellious hearts and yet God is compassionate toward us and changes His heart to be full of compassion when we deserve judgment.

Hosea 11:12, “Ephraim surrounds me with lies, the house of Israel, with deceit. Judah still wanders with God and is faithful to the holy ones.”

Heart Work is Hard Work—God is Looking for Faithful Hearts

God is looking for sincere hearts. Faithfulness. If we are sincere, we will not wander away from God but will wander with God.

Hosea 12:5-6, “The Lord is the God of Armies; the Lord is his name. 6 But you must return to your God. Maintain love and justice, and always put your hope in God.”

Heart Work is Hard Work—Maintain Your Heart with the Word of God

What is the condition of our hearts today? It’s ok – don’t be afraid to admit if your heart has become cold, hard, proud, divided, or insincere. God is in the business of healing broken, wounded hearts and hearts struggling with sin. It is hard to maintain these hearts of ours.

Hosea 13:4-6, “I have been the Lord your God ever since the land of Egypt; you know no God but me, and no Savior exists besides me. 5 I knew you in the wilderness, in the land of drought. 6 When they had pasture, they became satisfied; they were satisfied, and their hearts became proud. Therefore they forgot me.”

Heart Work is Hard Work—God Can Melt Our Proud Heart

When our hearts are wayward or aloof, we need to ask God to remove the veil and help us to see. And when our hearts are proud and we forget that all we have is from God, God can heal us still. If we seek Him. If we are honest about the condition of our hearts, God restores us. Don’t let shame keep you from confessing waywardness in your heart.

Hosea 14:1-3, “Israel, return to the Lord your God, for you have stumbled in your iniquity. 2 Take words of repentance with you and return to the Lord. Say to him, “Forgive all our iniquity and accept what is good, so that we may repay you with praise from our lips. 3 Assyria will not save us, we will not ride on horses, and we will no longer proclaim, ‘Our gods!’ to the work of our hands. For the fatherless receives compassion in you. 4 I will heal their apostasy; I will freely love them, for my anger will have turned from him.”

Heart Work is Hard Work—Scripture of the day: Hosea 14:9

“Let whoever is wise understand these things, and whoever is insightful recognize them. For the ways of the Lord are right, and the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them.”

Application

  • Heart work is hard work.
  • Real worship flows from sincere hearts, not divided hearts.
  • God can heal our stubborn hearts that can be led astray.
  • Repent and be restored.

7-Fold One-Year Bible Reading Plan

Day #227: Hosea 8-14

Scripture of the Day: Hosea 14:9

Listen: https://www.biblegateway.com/audio/mclean/niv/Hos.8

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