Hosea 12; Hosea 13; Hosea 14; Revelation 4

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Hosea 12

1 The people of Ephraim try to catch the wind and try to chase the east wind all day. They are very violent and destructive. They make treaties with Assyria and take olive oil to Egypt.
2 The LORD brings charges against Judah and punishes Jacob because of the way their people act. He will pay them back for what they have done.
3 Their ancestor Jacob held on to his brother's heel while the two of them were in their mother's womb. When Jacob became a man, he struggled with God.
4 He struggled with the Messenger and won. Jacob cried and pleaded with him. Jacob found him at Bethel, and he talked with him there.
5 The LORD is the God of Armies. The LORD is the name by which he is remembered.
6 Return to your God. Be loyal and fair, and always wait with hope for your God.
7 [The LORD says,] "The merchants use dishonest scales. They love to cheat people.
8 The people of Ephraim say, 'We're rich. We've made a fortune. With all this wealth, no one will find us guilty of any sin.'
9 I am the LORD your God. I brought you out of Egypt. I will make you live in tents again as you did during your appointed festivals.
10 I spoke to the prophets and gave them many visions. I taught lessons through the prophets."
11 The people of Gilead are evil. They are worthless. They sacrifice bulls in Gilgal. But their altars will become like piles of rubble beside a plowed field.
12 Jacob fled to the country of Syria. Israel worked to get a wife; he took care of sheep to pay for her.
13 The LORD used a prophet to bring the people of Israel out of Egypt. He used a prophet to take care of them.
14 The people of Ephraim made the LORD bitter. He will hold them guilty of murder. The Lord will pay them back for their insults.

Hosea 13

1 When the tribe of Ephraim spoke, people trembled. The people of Ephraim were important in Israel. Then they became guilty of worshiping Baal, so they must die.
2 They keep on sinning more and more. They make idols from silver for themselves. These idols are skillfully made. All of them are the work of craftsmen. People say this about the Israelites: "They offer human sacrifices and kiss calf-shaped idols."
3 That is why they will be like fog in the morning and like morning dew that disappears quickly. They will be like straw blown away from threshing floors. They will be like smoke rising from chimneys.
4 "I am the LORD your God. I brought you out of Egypt. You have known no god besides me. There is no savior except me.
5 I took care of you in the desert, in a dry land.
6 When I fed you, you were full. When you were full, you became arrogant. That is why you forgot me.
7 So I will be like a lion. Like a leopard I will wait by the road to ambush you.
8 Like a bear that has lost her cubs, I will attack you. I will rip you open. Like a lion I will devour you. Like a wild animal I will tear you apart.
9 You are destroying yourself, Israel. You are against me, your helper.
10 "Where, now, is your king, the one who is supposed to save you? Where in all your cities are your judges? You said, 'Give us kings and officials!'
11 I gave you a king when I was angry, and I took him away when I was furious.
12 "Ephraim's wickedness is on record. The record of the people's sins is safely stored away.
13 They have the opportunity to live again, but they are not smart enough to take it. They are like a baby who is about to be born but won't come out of its mother's womb.
14 "I want to free them from the power of the grave. I want to reclaim them from death. Death, I want to be a plague to you. Grave, I want to destroy you. I won't even think of changing my plans."
15 The people of Ephraim have become important among their relatives. However, the LORD's scorching wind will come from the east. It will blow out of the desert. Then their springs will run dry, and their wells will dry up. The wind will destroy every precious thing in their storehouses.
16 The people of Samaria are guilty as charged because they rebelled against their God. They will be killed in war, their children will be smashed to death, and their pregnant women will be ripped open.

Hosea 14

1 Israel, return to the LORD your God. You have stumbled because of your sins.
2 Return to the LORD, and say these things to him: "Forgive all our sins, and kindly receive us. Then we'll praise you with our lips.
3 Assyria cannot save us. We won't ride on horses anymore. We will never again say that the things our hands have made are our gods. You love orphans."
4 [The LORD says,] "I will cure them of their unfaithfulness. I will love them freely. I will no longer be angry with them.
5 I will be like dew to the people of Israel. They will blossom like flowers. They will be firmly rooted like cedars from Lebanon.
6 They will be like growing branches. They will be beautiful like olive trees. They will be fragrant like cedars from Lebanon.
7 They will live again in God's shadow. They will grow like grain. They will blossom like grapevines. They will be as famous as the wines from Lebanon.
8 "The people of Ephraim will have nothing more to do with idols. I will answer them and take care of them. I am like a growing pine tree. Their fruit comes from me."
9 Wise people will understand these things. A person with insight will recognize them. The LORD's ways are right. Righteous people live by them. Rebellious people stumble over them.

Revelation 4

1 After these things I saw a door standing open in heaven. I heard the first voice like a trumpet speaking to me. It said, "Come up here, and I will show you what must happen after this."
2 Instantly, I came under the Spirit's power. I saw a throne in heaven, and someone was sitting on it.
3 The one sitting there looked like gray quartz and red quartz. There was a rainbow around the throne which looked like an emerald.
4 Around that throne were 24 other thrones, and on these thrones sat 24 leaders wearing white clothes. They had gold crowns on their heads.
5 Lightning, noise, and thunder came from the throne. Seven flaming torches were burning in front of the throne. These are the seven spirits of God.
6 In front of the throne, there was something like a sea of glass as clear as crystal. In the center near the throne and around the throne were four living creatures covered with eyes in front and in back.
7 The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like a young bull, the third had a face like a human, and the fourth was like a flying eagle.
8 Each of the four living creatures had six wings and were covered with eyes, inside and out. Without stopping day or night they were singing, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, who is, and who is coming."
9 Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor, and thanks to the one who sits on the throne, to the one who lives forever and ever,
10 the 24 leaders bow in front of the one who sits on the throne and worship the one who lives forever and ever. They place their crowns in front of the throne and say,
11 "Our Lord and God, you deserve to receive glory, honor, and power because you created everything. Everything came into existence and was created because of your will."