Hosea 12; Hosea 13; Hosea 14; Revelation 4

1 Everything that the people of Israel do from morning to night is useless and destructive. Treachery and acts of violence increase among them. They make treaties with Assyria and do business with Egypt." 2 The Lord has an accusation to bring against the people of Judah; he is also going to punish Israel for the way her people act. He will pay them back for what they have done. 3 Their ancestor Jacob struggled with his twin brother Esau while the two of them were still in their mother's womb; when Jacob grew up, he fought against God - 4 he fought against an angel and won. He wept and asked for a blessing. And at Bethel God came to our ancestor Jacob and spoke with him. 5 This was the Lord God Almighty - the Lord is the name by which he is to be worshiped. 6 So now, descendants of Jacob, trust in your God and return to him. Be loyal and just, and wait patiently for your God to act. 7 The Lord says, "The people of Israel are as dishonest as the Canaanites; they love to cheat their customers with false scales. 8 "We are rich,' they say. "We've made a fortune. And no one can accuse us of getting rich dishonestly.' 9 But I, the Lord your God who led you out of Egypt, I will make you live in tents again, as you did when I came to you in the desert. 10 "I spoke to the prophets and gave them many visions, and through the prophets I gave my people warnings. 11 Yet idols are worshiped in Gilead, and those who worship them will die. Bulls are sacrificed in Gilgal, and the altars there will become piles of stone in the open fields." 12 Our ancestor Jacob had to flee to Mesopotamia, where, in order to get a wife, he worked for another man and took care of his sheep. 13 The Lord sent a prophet to rescue the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt and to take care of them. 14 The people of Israel have made the Lord bitterly angry; they deserve death for their crimes. Their Lord will punish them for the disgrace they have brought on him.
1 In the past, when the tribe of Ephraim spoke, the other tribes of Israel were afraid; they looked up to Ephraim. But the people sinned by worshiping Baal, and for this they will die. 2 They still keep on sinning by making metal images to worship - idols of silver, designed by human minds, made by human hands. And then they say, "Offer sacrifices to them!" How can anyone kiss those idols - idols in the shape of bulls! 3 And so these people will disappear like morning mist, like the dew that vanishes early in the day. They will be like chaff which the wind blows from the threshing place, like smoke from a chimney. 4 The Lord says, "I am the Lord your God, who led you out of Egypt. You have no God but me. I alone am your savior. 5 I took care of you in a dry, desert land. 6 But when you entered the good land, you became full and satisfied, and then you grew proud and forgot me. 7 So I will attack you like a lion. Like a leopard I will lie in wait along your path. 8 I will attack you like a bear that has lost her cubs, and I will tear you open. Like a lion I will devour you on the spot, and will tear you to pieces like a wild animal. 9 "I will destroy you, people of Israel! Then who can help you? 10 You asked for a king and for leaders, but how can they save the nation? 11 In my anger I have given you kings, and in my fury I have taken them away. 12 "Israel's sin and guilt are on record, and the records are safely stored away. 13 Israel has a chance to live, but is too foolish to take it - like a child about to be born, who refuses to come out of the womb. 14 I will not save this people from the world of the dead or rescue them from the power of death. Bring on your plagues, death! Bring on your destruction, world of the dead! I will no longer have pity for this people. 15 Even though Israel flourishes like weeds, I will send a hot east wind from the desert, and it will dry up their springs and wells. It will take away everything of value. 16 Samaria must be punished for rebelling against me. Her people will die in war; babies will be dashed to the ground, and pregnant women will be ripped open."
1 Return to the Lord your God, people of Israel. Your sin has made you stumble and fall. 2 Return to the Lord, and let this prayer be your offering to him: "Forgive all our sins and accept our prayer, and we will praise you as we have promised. 3 Assyria can never save us, and war horses cannot protect us. We will never again say to our idols that they are our God. O Lord, you show mercy to those who have no one else to turn to." 4 The Lord says, "I will bring my people back to me. I will love them with all my heart; no longer am I angry with them. 5 I will be to the people of Israel like rain in a dry land. They will blossom like flowers; they will be firmly rooted like the trees of Lebanon. 6 They will be alive with new growth, and beautiful like olive trees. They will be fragrant like the cedars of Lebanon. 7 Once again they will live under my protection. They will grow crops of grain and be fruitful like a vineyard. They will be as famous as the wine of Lebanon. 8 The people of Israel will have nothing more to do with idols; I will answer their prayers and take care of them. Like an evergreen tree I will shelter them; I am the source of all their blessings." 9 May those who are wise understand what is written here, and may they take it to heart. The Lord's ways are right, and righteous people live by following them, but sinners stumble and fall because they ignore them.
1 At this point I had another vision and saw an open door in heaven. And the voice that sounded like a trumpet, which I had heard speaking to me before, said, "Come up here, and I will show you what must happen after this." 2 At once the Spirit took control of me. There in heaven was a throne with someone sitting on it. 3 His face gleamed like such precious stones as jasper and carnelian, and all around the throne there was a rainbow the color of an emerald. 4 In a circle around the throne were twenty-four other thrones, on which were seated twenty-four elders dressed in white and wearing crowns of gold. 5 From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings, and peals of thunder. In front of the throne seven lighted torches were burning, which are the seven spirits of God. 6 Also in front of the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal. Surrounding the throne on each of its sides, were four living creatures covered with eyes in front and behind. 7 The first one looked like a lion; the second looked like a bull; the third had a face like a human face; and the fourth looked like an eagle in flight. 8 Each one of the four living creatures had six wings, and they were covered with eyes, inside and out. Day and night they never stop singing: "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was, who is, and who is to come." 9 The four living creatures sing songs of glory and honor and thanks to the one who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever. When they do so, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before the one who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives forever and ever. They throw their crowns down in front of the throne and say, 11 "Our Lord and God! You are worthy to receive glory, honor, and power. For you created all things, and by your will they were given existence and life."
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