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Scripture for July 21
Hosea 3:1-5:15, Romans 6:15-7:6, Psalm 88:1-9a

Read along:

Hosea 3-5:15

Hosea 3

 1 The LORD said to me, "Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the LORD loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes."

 2 So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and about a homer and a lethek of barley. 3 Then I told her, "You are to live with me many days; you must not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man, and I will live with you."

 4 For the Israelites will live many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without ephod or idol. 5 Afterward the Israelites will return and seek the LORD their God and David their king. They will come trembling to the LORD and to his blessings in the last days.

Hosea 4

 1 Hear the word of the LORD, you Israelites,
   because the LORD has a charge to bring
   against you who live in the land:
"There is no faithfulness, no love,
   no acknowledgment of God in the land.
2 There is only cursing, lying and murder,
   stealing and adultery;
they break all bounds,
   and bloodshed follows bloodshed.
3 Because of this the land mourns,
   and all who live in it waste away;
the beasts of the field and the birds of the air
   and the fish of the sea are dying.

 4 "But let no man bring a charge,
   let no man accuse another,
for your people are like those
   who bring charges against a priest.
5 You stumble day and night,
   and the prophets stumble with you.
So I will destroy your mother—
 6 my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.

   "Because you have rejected knowledge,
   I also reject you as my priests;
because you have ignored the law of your God,
   I also will ignore your children.
7 The more the priests increased,
   the more they sinned against me;
   they exchanged their Glory for something disgraceful.
8 They feed on the sins of my people
   and relish their wickedness.
9 And it will be: Like people, like priests.
   I will punish both of them for their ways
   and repay them for their deeds.

 10 "They will eat but not have enough;
   they will engage in prostitution but not increase,
because they have deserted the LORD
   to give themselves 11 to prostitution,
to old wine and new,
   which take away the understanding 12 of my people.
They consult a wooden idol
   and are answered by a stick of wood.
A spirit of prostitution leads them astray;
   they are unfaithful to their God.
13 They sacrifice on the mountaintops
   and burn offerings on the hills,
under oak, poplar and terebinth,
   where the shade is pleasant.
Therefore your daughters turn to prostitution
   and your daughters-in-law to adultery.

 14 "I will not punish your daughters
   when they turn to prostitution,
nor your daughters-in-law
   when they commit adultery,
because the men themselves consort with harlots
   and sacrifice with shrine prostitutes—
   a people without understanding will come to ruin!

 15 "Though you commit adultery, O Israel,
   let not Judah become guilty.

   "Do not go to Gilgal;
   do not go up to Beth Aven.
   And do not swear, "˜As surely as the LORD lives!'
16 The Israelites are stubborn,
   like a stubborn heifer.
How then can the LORD pasture them
   like lambs in a meadow?
17 Ephraim is joined to idols;
   leave him alone!
18 Even when their drinks are gone,
   they continue their prostitution;
   their rulers dearly love shameful ways.
19 A whirlwind will sweep them away,
   and their sacrifices will bring them shame.

Hosea 5

 1 "Hear this, you priests!
   Pay attention, you Israelites!
Listen, O royal house!
   This judgment is against you:
You have been a snare at Mizpah,
   a net spread out on Tabor.
2 The rebels are deep in slaughter.
   I will discipline all of them.
3 I know all about Ephraim;
   Israel is not hidden from me.
Ephraim, you have now turned to prostitution;
   Israel is corrupt.

 4 "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 Israel's arrogance testifies against them;
   the Israelites, even Ephraim, stumble in their sin;
   Judah also stumbles with them.
6 When they go with their flocks and herds
   to seek the LORD,
they will not find him;
   he has withdrawn himself from them.
7 They are unfaithful to the LORD;
   they give birth to illegitimate children.
Now their New Moon festivals
   will devour them and their fields.

 8 "Sound the trumpet in Gibeah,
   the horn in Ramah.
Raise the battle cry in Beth Aven;
   lead on, O Benjamin.
9 Ephraim will be laid waste
   on the day of reckoning.
Among the tribes of Israel
   I proclaim what is certain.
10 Judah's leaders are like those
   who move boundary stones.
I will pour out my wrath on them
   like a flood of water.
11 Ephraim is oppressed,
   trampled in judgment,
   intent on pursuing idols.
12 I am like a moth to Ephraim,
   like rot to the people of Judah.

 13 "When Ephraim saw his sickness,
   and Judah his sores,
then Ephraim turned to Assyria,
   and sent to the great king for help.
But he is not able to cure you,
   not able to heal your sores.
14 For I will be like a lion to Ephraim,
   like a great lion to Judah.
I will tear them to pieces and go away;
   I will carry them off, with no one to rescue them.
15 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."

Romans 6:15-7:6

 15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.

 19 I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness. 20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21 What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 7

 1 Do you not know, brothers—for I am speaking to men who know the law—that the law has authority over a man only as long as he lives? 2 For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage. 3 So then, if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress, even though she marries another man.

 4 So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God. 5 For when we were controlled by the sinful nature, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death. 6 But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.

Psalm 88:1-9

Psalm 88


 1 O LORD, the God who saves me,
   day and night I cry out before you.
2 May my prayer come before you;
   turn your ear to my cry.

 3 For my soul is full of trouble
   and my life draws near the grave.
4 I am counted among those who go down to the pit;
   I am like a man without strength.
5 I am set apart with the dead,
   like the slain who lie in the grave,
whom you remember no more,
   who are cut off from your care.

 6 You have put me in the lowest pit,
   in the darkest depths.
7 Your wrath lies heavily upon me;
   you have overwhelmed me with all your waves.

8 You have taken from me my closest friends
   and have made me repulsive to them.
I am confined and cannot escape;
 9 my eyes are dim with grief.

   I call to you, O LORD, every day;
   I spread out my hands to you.