There is a right way to skin a squirrel.
During my childhood, my family often ate squirrels that my dad and brothers hunted and brought home. When they got them home, the squirrels had to be skinned, gutted, and cleaned thoroughly before my mom could cook them.
Dad was particular about how this was done, and he trained us to do it the ‘right way’.
Cleaning the squirrels the right way meant the job could be done quickly and with a minimum of mess. The right way did not damage the meat with excessive cutting and limited the meat’s exposure to the entrails of the squirrel. The right way protected the meat so that it would be good for food.
My dad was not arbitrarily attempting to impose his will over ours, but cleaning squirrels was not a creative endeavor. There is a right way to clean a squirrel.
Sometimes, I think our world has forgotten that there is a right way.
This was true in the prophet Hosea’s day. The nation of Israel altered their worship to include idols. They based their lifestyles on their wants and desires and rejected God’s invitation to return to Him. They turned from the right way.
Their decisions and actions brought judgment on their nation. Why?
When they turned from the right way, God’s way, they opened their families and nation up to the pollution of the world. The simple worship of God became cluttered with empty religious activities that focused on self. They removed themselves from the shelter of God’s will.
The nation of Israel placed itself in a precarious and dangerous position when they left the right way for their own way.
There is a right way, and it is God’s way.
I find this summed up in the very last verse of Hosea.
Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? For the ways of the Lord are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein. Hosea 14:9
In Hosea, God told the Israelites how to return to the right way:
- Turn to the Lord (Hosea 14:1).
- Ask for forgiveness (Hosea 14:2).
- Realize they could not be good enough or smart enough or strong enough to save themselves (Hosea 14:3).
- Turn from sin (Hosea 14:8).
- Walk in God’s way (Hosea 14:9).
Amazingly, those instructions still work today.
Isaiah 55:6 Seek the Lord while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near.
Romans 10:8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Ephesians 2: 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
I John 1: 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
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