We’re three weeks into our series on Hosea. As a prophetic book Hosea isn’t exactly what we might call a “biblical beach read.” Rather than extensive words of comfort, though there are those, the book has a great deal of judgment. Expression of God’s anger at Israel’s idolatry and injustice abound. We saw this in last week’s sermon on Hosea 4 and will see it again in the weeks to come.
There’s something discomforting and troubling about these passages. They can upset our image of God, and challenge our own place in relationship with Him. When preaching these passages it takes work to make them sing of the good news of God!
Yet reading together such passages is essential and good for us as the church, for a couple of reasons. First, they remind us that God’s Word is one of both comfort and challenge. As a community seeking to be “rooted in Scripture” we desire to hear all that God says to us in it, including the parts that trouble or discomfort us. We say "thanks be to God" for the whole thing. Second, God’s judgment begins with the people of God. Hosea is written to the people of God. We receive it as the church, a word for and to us. Part of being a follower of Jesus means submitting ourselves to His loving correction and challenge. Passages like those found in Hosea call us to the life Jesus has for us. Third, in their troubling and discomforting of us these texts remind us of our need of saving help. As the ways we have fallen short are made clear, we are reminded of our great need for the power and love of God to be at work in our lives, remaking us in the likeness of Jesus. Alongside the words of judgment Hosea includes some of the most moving descriptions of God’s love and commitment to His people. That love and power is made most clear in Christ. In Jesus, Yahweh saves. Even as the word of God in Hosea troubles and challenges it also reminds of the miracle of God’s loving kindness, and call us to return to Him, to receive forgiveness and the grace to change our lives. My hope as we continue through this book in the weeks to come, is that love will be made known to us in fresh and real ways.
I know many of us are reading Hosea along with our sermon series, if you’re interested in diving in a little deeper these two books are ones that we are regularly drawing on as we go. You can also check out this video from The Bible Project.
Ps. Thanks to everyone who has signed up to help support the Afshar family! This is a simple and basic way that we can bless a family in need in the name of Jesus. There are still spots to sign up for, sign up here. Please be sure to bring your contribution this Sunday as we’ll take it on to the family next week.
Pps. Next Thursday we're having another evening of prayer at the Parish House. This will be time specifically devoted to "Listening Prayer" and hearing God's voice together. See below for details.