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Vol.  9  No. 7 July 2007  Page 1
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Backsliding Heifer

By Louis Rushmore

    Hosea 4:16 illustrates the rebellious disposition of the northern kingdom of Israel by referring to that nation as a “backsliding heifer.” The Hebrew word for “backsliding” here appears in other passages as “stubborn,” “rebellious,” “revolters” and “withdrew.” This malignant response to a benevolent God led God to remove his benevolent protection from Israel, resulting in the Assyrian captivity for the survivors of the ferocious Assyrian horde that descended upon the nation. The image of a “backsliding heifer” is that of the animal backing away or withdrawing from a yoke; Israel refused to have the yoke of God on it. There is still a yoke that God intends for his people to bear (Matt. 11:29-30).

    My own image of a “backsliding heifer” in my mind is of a young cow stuck in a mud hole. Imagine trying to manhandle (or womanhandle) a muddy, filthy heifer from some bog into which it has gotten itself. Pull or push as one might, the heifer falters and even works violently against every effort to rescue it.

Table of Contents

Backslide Heifer By  Louis Rushmore 1
The Source of True Religious Unity
By Louis Rushmore 2
Peter and Joel on Pentecost
By D. Gene West 3
Questions and Answers By T. Pierce Brown 4
Flaunting Fornication By Raymond Elliott 5
Bruise Satan By Mark McWhorter 6
Outside the Camp By Mark McWhorter 6
Crossword Puzzle About "Hair" By Bonnie Rushmore 7
God Tests Us By Marilyn LaStrape 8
A Man After God's Own Heart By Louis Rushmore 9
Did I Put on My Holy Up-Armor Today? By Monte Duncan 10
Three Days and Three Nights By Louis Rushmore 11
Jesus Forgiving on the Cross By Paul R. Mobley 12
Died While Serving By Bonnie Rushmore 13
Are You Failing Your Kids? By Rodney Nulph 14
Does Man Contribute to his Own Salvation? By Tim Childs 15
What About Matthew 19:9? By Mike Benson 16
Whose Will Do You Serve? By Robert Johnson 17
Religious Litter By Ernest Underwood 18
News & Advertisements 19
Was Peter Married When... By Louis Rushmore 20
Communion to Shut-Ins By Louis Rushmore 20

Louis Rushmore, Editor
Paul Mobley, proofreader
Crossword Puzzle By Bonnie Rushmore
Priscilla's Page By Marilyn LaStrape
Youth Page By Mark McWhorter
Since You Asked By Louis Rushmore

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    Frankly, nothing has changed. God’s people are still like that “backsliding heifer” of which the prophet Hosea wrote. It is hard to keep the saved, saved! Push, pull, coax and coddle, but still wayward members often remained bogged down in their apostasy. It seems that for some Christians, if they make it to heaven, it will only be if someone has a rope around their necks, tugging and dragging them, they resisting all the way—kicking and screaming.

    Two other Hebrew words appear in the Old Testament as “backsliding,” also having to do with apostasy. God said to the prophet Jeremiah, “Hast thou seen that which backsliding Israel hath done?” (Jer. 3:6). Three more times God indicts “backsliding Israel” for her crimes (Jer. 3:8, 11-12). God refers to his apostate people as “backsliding children” (Jer. 3:14, 22) and twice calls his people a “backsliding daughter” (Jer. 31:22; 49:4). God cites his people for “perpetual backsliding” (Jer. 8:5). Indeed, perpetual sin persists to this day.

    As anciently, so now, often God’s people are “bent to backsliding from me [God]” (Hos. 11:7). Happily, though, God will take his backsliding people back to himself upon repentance. “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him” (Hos. 14:4). What congregation wouldn’t be teeming with live bodies were all the backsliding heifers rounded up? Oh, that congregational concerns were with providing enough seating for those present rather than trying to rope heifers!

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