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First, let’s read the section of scripture;

11Ephraim is a trained heifer that loves to thresh,
But I will come over her fair neck with a yoke;
I will harness Ephraim,
Judah will plow, Jacob will harrow for himself.

12Sow with a view to righteousness,
Reap in accordance with kindness;
Break up your fallow ground,
For it is time to seek the LORD
Until He comes to rain righteousness on you.

13You have plowed wickedness, you have reaped injustice,
You have eaten the fruit of lies.
Because you have trusted in your way, in your numerous warriors,

14Therefore a tumult will arise among your people,
And all your fortresses will be destroyed,
As Shalman destroyed Beth-arbel on the day of battle,
When mothers were dashed in pieces with their children.

15Thus it will be done to you at Bethel because of your great wickedness.
At dawn the king of Israel will be completely cut off.”

Now, let’s just look at verse 12 all by itself.

12Sow with a view to righteousness,
Reap in accordance with kindness;
Break up your fallow ground,
For it is time to seek the LORD
Until He comes to rain righteousness on you.”

If someone had put this verse up all by its lonesome on social media with an eye catching little picture, most people would be inspired by it. They wouldn’t have any idea that it was really part of a larger narrative about God’s punishment of Israel for their sins. There are many folks today who would have no trouble pulling this verse out of context and applying it to themselves today. As you can see, that would be a mistake. I would be very leery of a Pastor who did such sloppy work in a sermon. I’m sure many of you have sat through a sermon wondering, “How on Earth did he get that out of this verse?” Israel was not trusting in God. They were trusting in military might, worldly resources, idols, lies, and deceit. God was about to lay down some serious punishment on them. Remember what Hosea’s kids were named? Lo-ruhamah meaning, “not pitied” and Lo-ammi meaning, “not my people.” They were born to him and his wife. Remember her? She was a whore. He was told by God to marry her. God used his wife and children to illustrate to Israel at the time, and future believers how adulterous they were and we are in our relationship with God.  

Taking a verse out of context with complete disregard for the intent of the author is a horrible practice.  We wouldn’t want people to do this with our last will and testament, but we are fine with doing it to God’s word?  I never like it in a Bible study when the person who is supposed to be leading asks, “What does that verse say to you personally?”  I don’t care what it says to every individual in the room.  They should be taught what God’s intent was.  What was God saying, not what you think He was saying.  People shouldn’t be coming up with multiple and contradicting meanings for scripture. 

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