“You are doing better than most of my widowed clients who are going through the grieving process.” This is from a conversation I had recently with one of my medical teams. He continued to give a couple reasons of how he came to that conclusion.
1. “You are spiritual,” he stated, “and not only that but you are also very active in your church.”
2. Next he stated that he felt I had a wonderful support system of family, relatives, and friends.
Many of his clients aren’t that fortunate, he told me. I thank the Lord daily for my support system. Being part of a loving family or social network helps boost self-esteem and reduce stress, which will make one happier. A famous study from Harvard—which lasted for 80 years—showed that close relationships with family and friends helped people to be happy throughout their lives.
People who have a relationship with Jesus know that whatever happens in their lives, they can count on the Lord to be with them though the good times and the bad days. “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” Matt. 112:23. What a wonderful promise!
enjoys living in Gresham, Oregon. After she retired from full-time work for the Oregon Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, she worked part-time as an event coordinator and developed an Elder Care Ministry program for the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists. She loves people and traveling. She is fortunate to have two children that were part of the package when she married Wes.
A Call to Repentance
1 Come, and let us return to the Lord;
For He has torn, but He will heal us;
He has stricken, but He will bind us up.
2 After two days He will revive us;
On the third day He will raise us up,
That we may live in His sight.
3 Let us know,
Let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord.
His going forth is established as the morning;
He will come to us like the rain,
Like the latter and former rain to the earth.
Impenitence of Israel and Judah
4 “O Ephraim, what shall I do to you?
O Judah, what shall I do to you?
For your faithfulness is like a morning cloud,
And like the early dew it goes away.
5 Therefore I have hewn them by the prophets,
I have slain them by the words of My mouth;
And your judgments are like light that goes forth.
6 For I desire mercy and not sacrifice,
And the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.
7 “But like men they transgressed the covenant;
There they dealt treacherously with Me.
8 Gilead is a city of evildoers
And defiled with blood.
9 As bands of robbers lie in wait for a man,
So the company of priests murder on the way to Shechem;
Surely they commit lewdness.
10 I have seen a horrible thing in the house of Israel:
There is the harlotry of Ephraim;
Israel is defiled.
11 Also, O Judah, a harvest is appointed for you,
When I return the captives of My people.
Israel Has Rebelled Against God
1 “When I would have healed Israel,
Then the iniquity of Ephraim was uncovered,
And the wickedness of Samaria.
For they have committed fraud;
A thief comes in;
A band of robbers takes spoil outside.
2 They do not consider in their hearts
That I remember all their wickedness;
Now their own deeds have surrounded them;
They are before My face.
3 They make a king glad with their wickedness,
And princes with their lies.
4 “They are all adulterers.
Like an oven heated by a baker—
He ceases stirring the fire after kneading the dough,
Until it is leavened.
5 In the day of our king
Princes have made him sick, inflamed with wine;
He stretched out his hand with scoffers.
6 They prepare their heart like an oven,
While they lie in wait;
Their baker sleeps all night;
In the morning it burns like a flaming fire.
7 They are all hot, like an oven,
And have devoured their judges;
All their kings have fallen.
None among them calls upon Me.
8 “Ephraim has mixed himself among the peoples;
Ephraim is a cake unturned.
9 Aliens have devoured his strength,
But he does not know it;
Yes, gray hairs are here and there on him,
Yet he does not know it.
10 And the pride of Israel testifies to his face,
But they do not return to the Lord their God,
Nor seek Him for all this.
Futile Reliance on the Nations
11 “Ephraim also is like a silly dove, without sense—
They call to Egypt,
They go to Assyria.
12 Wherever they go, I will spread My net on them;
I will bring them down like birds of the air;
I will chastise them
According to what their congregation has heard.
13 “Woe to them, for they have fled from Me!
Destruction to them,
Because they have transgressed against Me!
Though I redeemed them,
Yet they have spoken lies against Me.
14 They did not cry out to Me with their heart
When they wailed upon their beds.
“They assemble together for grain and new wine,
They rebel against Me;
15 Though I disciplined and strengthened their arms,
Yet they devise evil against Me;
16 They return, but not to the Most High;
They are like a treacherous bow.
Their princes shall fall by the sword
For the cursings of their tongue.
This shall be their derision in the land of Egypt.
The Apostasy of Israel
1 “Set the trumpet to your mouth!
He shall come like an eagle against the house of the Lord,
Because they have transgressed My covenant
And rebelled against My law.
2 Israel will cry to Me,
‘My God, we know You!’
3 Israel has rejected the good;
The enemy will pursue him.
4 “They set up kings, but not by Me;
They made princes, but I did not acknowledge them.
From their silver and gold
They made idols for themselves—
That they might be cut off.
5 Your calf is rejected, O Samaria!
My anger is aroused against them—
How long until they attain to innocence?
6 For from Israel is even this:
A workman made it, and it is not God;
But the calf of Samaria shall be broken to pieces.
7 “They sow the wind,
And reap the whirlwind.
The stalk has no bud;
It shall never produce meal.
If it should produce,
Aliens would swallow it up.
8 Israel is swallowed up;
Now they are among the Gentiles
Like a vessel in which is no pleasure.
9 For they have gone up to Assyria,
Like a wild donkey alone by itself;
Ephraim has hired lovers.
10 Yes, though they have hired among the nations,
Now I will gather them;
And they shall sorrow a little,
Because of the burden of the king of princes.
11 “Because Ephraim has made many altars for sin,
They have become for him altars for sinning.
12 I have written for him the great things of My law,
But they were considered a strange thing.
13 For the sacrifices of My offerings they sacrifice flesh and eat it,
But the Lord does not accept them.
Now He will remember their iniquity and punish their sins.
They shall return to Egypt.
14 “For Israel has forgotten his Maker,
And has built temples;
Judah also has multiplied fortified cities;
But I will send fire upon his cities,
And it shall devour his palaces.”
Judgment of Israel’s Sin
1 Do not rejoice, O Israel, with joy like other peoples,
For you have played the harlot against your God.
You have made love for hire on every threshing floor.
2 The threshing floor and the winepress
Shall not feed them,
And the new wine shall fail in her.
3 They shall not dwell in the Lord’s land,
But Ephraim shall return to Egypt,
And shall eat unclean things in Assyria.
4 They shall not offer wine offerings to the Lord,
Nor shall their sacrifices be pleasing to Him.
It shall be like bread of mourners to them;
All who eat it shall be defiled.
For their bread shall be for their own life;
It shall not come into the house of the Lord.
5 What will you do in the appointed day,
And in the day of the feast of the Lord?
6 For indeed they are gone because of destruction.
Egypt shall gather them up;
Memphis shall bury them.
Nettles shall possess their valuables of silver;
Thorns shall be in their tents.
7 The days of punishment have come;
The days of recompense have come.
The prophet is a fool,
The spiritual man is insane,
Because of the greatness of your iniquity and great enmity.
8 The watchman of Ephraim is with my God;
But the prophet is a fowler’s snare in all his ways—
Enmity in the house of his God.
9 They are deeply corrupted,
As in the days of Gibeah.
He will remember their iniquity;
He will punish their sins.
10 “I found Israel
Like grapes in the wilderness;
I saw your fathers
As the firstfruits on the fig tree in its first season.
But they went to Baal Peor,
And separated themselves to that shame;
They became an abomination like the thing they loved.
11 As for Ephraim, their glory shall fly away like a bird—
No birth, no pregnancy, and no conception!
12 Though they bring up their children,
Yet I will bereave them to the last man.
Yes, woe to them when I depart from them!
13 Just as I saw Ephraim like Tyre, planted in a pleasant place,
So Ephraim will bring out his children to the murderer.”
14 Give them, O Lord—
What will You give?
Give them a miscarrying womb
And dry breasts!
15 “All their wickedness is in Gilgal,
For there I hated them.
Because of the evil of their deeds
I will drive them from My house;
I will love them no more.
All their princes are rebellious.
16 Ephraim is stricken,
Their root is dried up;
They shall bear no fruit.
Yes, were they to bear children,
I would kill the darlings of their womb.”
17 My God will cast them away,
Because they did not obey Him;
And they shall be wanderers among the nations.
Israel’s Sin and Captivity
1 Israel empties his vine;
He brings forth fruit for himself.
According to the multitude of his fruit
He has increased the altars;
According to the bounty of his land
They have embellished his sacred pillars.
2 Their heart is divided;
Now they are held guilty.
He will break down their altars;
He will ruin their sacred pillars.
3 For now they say,
“We have no king,
Because we did not fear the Lord.
And as for a king, what would he do for us?”
4 They have spoken words,
Swearing falsely in making a covenant.
Thus judgment springs up like hemlock in the furrows of the field.
5 The inhabitants of Samaria fear
Because of the calf of Beth Aven.
For its people mourn for it,
And its priests shriek for it—
Because its glory has departed from it.
6 The idol also shall be carried to Assyria
As a present for King Jareb.
Ephraim shall receive shame,
And Israel shall be ashamed of his own counsel.
7 As for Samaria, her king is cut off
Like a twig on the water.
8 Also the high places of Aven, the sin of Israel,
Shall be destroyed.
The thorn and thistle shall grow on their altars;
They shall say to the mountains, “Cover us!”
And to the hills, “Fall on us!”
9 “O Israel, you have sinned from the days of Gibeah;
There they stood.
The battle in Gibeah against the children of iniquity
Did not overtake them.
10 When it is My desire, I will chasten them.
Peoples shall be gathered against them
When I bind them for their two transgressions.
11 Ephraim is a trained heifer
That loves to thresh grain;
But I harnessed her fair neck,
I will make Ephraim pull a plow.
Judah shall plow;
Jacob shall break his clods.”
12 Sow for yourselves righteousness;
Reap in mercy;
Break up your fallow ground,
For it is time to seek the Lord,
Till He comes and rains righteousness on you.
13 You have plowed wickedness;
You have reaped iniquity.
You have eaten the fruit of lies,
Because you trusted in your own way,
In the multitude of your mighty men.
14 Therefore tumult shall arise among your people,
And all your fortresses shall be plundered
As Shalman plundered Beth Arbel in the day of battle—
A mother dashed in pieces upon her children.
15 Thus it shall be done to you, O Bethel,
Because of your great wickedness.
At dawn the king of Israel
Shall be cut off utterly.
Prayer for Relief from Contempt
A Song of Ascents.
1 Unto You I lift up my eyes,
O You who dwell in the heavens.
2 Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters,
As the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress,
So our eyes look to the Lord our God,
Until He has mercy on us.
3 Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us!
For we are exceedingly filled with contempt.
4 Our soul is exceedingly filled
With the scorn of those who are at ease,
With the contempt of the proud.