2017 is almost here.  If the Lord wills for there to be another year, it will not be long until people are “ringing in” the new year.  As you make your resolutions and plans for this new year, make sure to do these things in accordance with the will of God. Remember to put God First by fearing Him and obeying Him, because, my friends, that is the big picture of what life really is all about for us. In doing so, each of us will have the best life here and the best life in eternity in Heaven. Ecclesiastes 12:13 says, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.”
In view of the fact that if the Lord wills, many will be making resolutions soon, let us resolve that our God will be First.  In fact, we do not need to wait until the beginning of a new year to resolve this.  Let us do as the many great examples of good and faithful people of the past did, such as Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Elijah, Paul, and others did.  They put God First.  I understand that these men were not sinlessly perfect, but when they did wrong, they would repent.
Let us also resolve that in putting God first, we will not do as many of the unfaithful Israelites at various times, including during Hosea’s time upon the earth.  These Israelites put everything before God.  Matthew 6:33 still says, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”  The Israelites in Hosea’s time looked to their own possessions for their salvation, rather than to God.  I Timothy 6:10 says, “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
The Israelites refused to acknowledge what Proverbs 14:34 says and that is, “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.”  Sin truly traps us, but these willingly flew into it by mingling with the wrong types of people that would not build them up, and rather than influencing these people to do right, they were influenced by them to do wrong.  They did not try to teach these better, as we are commanded to do in Matthew 28:18-20, but rather they were influenced by them to do wrong.  Evil companionship does corrupt good manners, I Corinthians 15:33.
The Israelites at times acted as if they had returned from their sinfulness to serve God, but God with His All Seeing Eyes saw straight through these people.  They cried to Him only when they needed help, but refused to turn from their wickedness.  If we want to partake of the blessings of salvation, we must live in complete obedience to God.  Hebrews 5:9 says, “And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;.”
Ultimately, the unfaithful Israelites in Hosea’s time failed to trust their God.  They failed to look to Him for their salvation.  They resolved, in fact, to not do so.  My friends, let us resolve to look to God and obey Him.  If we find ourselves separated from God, let us resolve to escape the trap of sin.  Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”  Psalm 14:2 says, “The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.”  God looks down to see us.  Let us resolve to look to God for counsel, protection, and salvation.  After all, in John 12:48, Jesus still says, “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.  Psalm 31:4, says, “Pull me out of the net that they have laid privily for me: for thou art my strength.”  We must look to God and acknowledge Him and obey Him to escape the net of sin.
Let us live as God would have us to live in order to have a bountiful life upon the earth along with all of the spiritual blessings that can be enjoyed here and a wonderful life in Heaven.  Let us put God first and He will take care of us!  Live for God in 2016, 2017, and always!
-Jason Gann