The book of the prophet Hosea.
Honestly, in first reading, it can be difficult to grasp. There are quite a few movements and shifts in thinking, and our author mixes various styles of writing and a multitude of images and themes. So as I spent time over the course of a week with this book as a reader, and studier, what struck me was that I needed to process and meditate on Hosea as a whole. To step back and see the larger picture. To not get lost in the details. And I kept asking the question, “Is there a major theme here that you are trying to communicate, Father?”
Now, different readers, commentators, teachers, and preachers may all answer that slightly differently. It may be that the theme is judgment. It may be that the theme is the covenant breaking of the children of Israel. Those would be fine choices. They are certainly present in Hosea.
And, what is also present here is the long-suffering mercy, compassion, and love of God. This essential message in the book is put on visual display through the powerful metaphors of marriage and fatherhood. Over and over it struck me, as I read, and studied, and stepped back to look at the wide vistas of the story, that God, through the prophetic ministry of Hosea, wants us to see how our unfaithfulness and stubbornness “are not enough to exhaust God’s redeeming love that outstrips the human capacity to comprehend” (ESV Study Bible note).
And friend, that love is breathtaking. In this book you will find pictures of the kind of love that your heart truly longs for, the kind of love you were made for. That may sound like over-emotional language, but trust me, its not. Hosea delivers. There are treasures of hope to be found here. I know. I dug in the soil of this story for a week, and came away with many, a few of which I shared in a sermon on this book. You can watch or listen here.
And if you’d like to study further, I highly recommend heading over the The Bible Project’s page on Hosea. There you will find videos, milestones, study resources, and recommendations for further reading and study on this deeply encouraging and satisfying prophetic word.
One thing we often forget is that our theological study (orthodoxy) ought always lead us to worship (doxology). Therefore, I want to draw your attention to two songs that you could use yourself, or in the context of family, or a gathering of a community group or friends. For singing shouldn’t only happen on Sunday!
The first is the song we ended our service with when I preached Hosea. It is a song called “Good Good Father,” and my favorite performance of it is by Housefires. You can watch here. Another song quite popular right now that explores God’s extravagant love is called “Reckless Love.” You can view a lyric video for it here. It is my prayer that you find them helpful to both bask in the biblical truth of God’s love, and to reflect a heart of gratitude and praise to him for that love.
One final note: to prepare for this coming Sunday, be sure to read through the book of Joel, prayerfully meditating on its three chapters.
It is my prayer that you will continue to grow in your understanding of, love for, and hope in God as we continue to make our way through The Whole Story. And, as always, please feel free to email me with questions about or ideas for The Whole Story.
Resting in the extravagant, astounding, reckless love of GOD,
Day Thirty: Vistas of Wisdom
I am very near the end of this little writing experiment called “31 Proverbs.” While I’m unsure how helpful it has been to how ever many have read it, I know that the process of sitting down six days each week to read, ponder, and then ponder some more by plunking on a keyboard has helped me grow in my understanding of wisdom.
Day Thirty-Two: A Mother's Wisdom (part two)
Yesterday, we heard from what was likely King Solomon’s mother imparting worthy words of wisdom in the area of leadership. For the sayings of wisdom we find here are those “which his mother taught him” (Proverbs 31:1). And she now turns her attention to the search for a woman of virtue and noble character, suitable to be a wife and mother.
Day Twenty-Nine: Please—Quietly Hold Your Tongue
Anger. noun. “a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility.” (New Oxford American Dictionary) As I entered day twenty-nine of Proverbs this morning, and came to 29:11, it struck me that this book has quite a bit to say about anger, strife, wrath, quarreling, fights, and rage. It is a theme that Solomon keeps coming back to, probably because he knows that it is a theme woven through humanity and history. Sometimes the best way to see a theme is to pull on that string so all the wisdom he has offered comes together for our observation. The accumulation helps us feel the weight of it.
Day Twenty-Six: A Morning Conversation With King Solomon
A conversation that happened this morning as I came upon a visitor in our fireplace room….
Day Nineteen: God Chose Her, Not You
The doctrine of God’s rule and reign in and over all things comes crashing into the human conception of the self-made man. We are tempted to think we have so much to do with our happinesses. But the wisdom found from James speaks a wakefulness into the pondering of our circumstances—the good gifts we have come not from our own hands, but by the grace and providence of our heavenly Father. And the wisdom of Solomon makes clear—one of man’s greatest gifts is something only God can give, an understanding wife.
Day Seventeen: The Great Gain Of Godly Contentment
We live in a world where the temptation is constant to believe the amount of our wealth and possessions directly translates to our joy and happiness. The Bible, once again, confronts our culture and holds out another possibility. Namely, “better” does not imply “more,” “bigger,” or “expensive.” It suggests that the reason you still haven’t found what you are looking for is because you’ve been searching in all the wrong places. Wisdom opens our eyes and hearts to deeper wells of contentment.
Day Fifteen: I Always Feel Like Somebody’s Watching Me
I always feel like somebody's watching me. And I have no privacy. Woh, I always feel like somebody's watching me. Tell me is it just a dream? So sang Rockwell in the dawning of my high school years back in 1984. All the cool kids were singing it at the time, and its the tune that sprang to mind when I read this similar sentiment this morning: Yahweh is watching everywhere, keeping his eye on both the evil and the good. (Proverbs 15:3, New Living Translation)
Day Fourteen: Death By Living
For those of us desirous to live a good life, we’ve known since the very beginning of this book that it begins with a healthy awe, reverence, and trembling before the God of the universe whose name is Yahweh (Proverbs 1:7). And here we are again reminded that this humble posture before the Holy One is a fountain overflowing with life.