od calls Hosea to provide a lived-out parable of God’s relationship with the people of Israel. Hosea’s life dramatically illustrates an intimate relationship that is broken. The people of Israel have abandoned their relationship with God, but God doesn’t give up—God desires to draw them back into the place of intimate relationship again.
The people of Israel are not only estranged from God—they are divided among themselves. Hosea’s place in history comes at the time of the divided kingdom of Israel (1:1). Hosea’s actions become a prophetic call to restored relationship, and they demonstrate God’s unrelenting love and forgiveness. Hosea marries a prostitute, and the names of their three children offer clues about God’s relationship with Israel. Jezreel recalls a bloody massacre from the past, but the next two names describe a horrifying and current reality: Not Pitied and Not My People. God’s patience is coming to an end. Israel’s unfaithfulness to the covenant relationship with God surfaces as the Israelites flirt with Baal worship.
It appears that the consequences of such infidelity will cause a permanent rift between God and Israel, but in verse 10 we catch a glimmer of the promise that God will not abandon them completely. Though Israel is unfaithful, God remains faithful; “In the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ it shall be said to them, ‘Children of the living God.’”
God invites us into an intimate relationship within God’s family. We may choose to turn from that intimate embrace, to embrace all sorts of things that at first seem to offer untold pleasures. God’s invitation does not expire, and our positive response draws us once again into the life-giving, loving embrace that leads to healing and wholeness.
Gracious and loving God, we hear your call to return to you, and we thank you for reminding us that only in your embrace do we find true life. Amen.
The Hosea passage implies that the rela- tionship between God and Israel is similar to a marriage that has been ruined by an unfaithful spouse. Yahweh has been scorned, and judgment is at hand. However, the prophet implants a reminder that Yahweh’s nal word is not destruction but redemption. Psalm 85 reveals a community of God’s people who are suspended between the “already” and the “not yet.” Colossians reminds the readers that no other force or personality may compete with Christ, for Christ and only Christ embodies “the whole fullness of deity.” Faith and action are one. Luke’s Gospel directs the disciples’ attention to their real needs, as well as reminding them of the only one who can ful ll those needs.
• Read Hosea 1:2-10. Do you truly believe that nothing is beyond God’s redemptive love? How does that affect the way you live?
• Read Psalm 85. How do you respond to God’s forgiving, redemptive love? When have you experienced the healing and wholeness of that love?
• Read Colossians 2:6-19. How is your life rooted and estab- lished in Christ? What lls your life?
• Read Luke 11:1-13. How much do you trust God to provide for all you really need?
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