An excerpt from Caleb's sermon on Hosea 1 & 3
"The story of Hosea and Gomer reminds me of the story that Jesus tells to a group of men and women who are gathered around him one evening near the sea of Galilee. It is the story of a parent---a father---we’ll say, with two kids, one boy, one girl we’ll say. And the eldest daughter is the perfect daughter. She’s the type of daughter that knows to laugh off the sort of crazy Word that came to Hosea about marrying Gomer. She works the fields with her father, and keeps the books too. The younger son out of spite or jealousy, or because of whatever sin or hormonal imbalance causes youngest sons to be so difficult, can’t wait for the Father to die and says as much to his face. It pains the father like it pained Hosea to feel the sting of his beloved’s betrayal, but he gives the younger son his inheritance, and the son goes off to the big city and sleeps with anyone who’s willing, injects himself with anything people are hustling, and of course this prodigal son ends up feeding pigs and envying them.
Like Gomer going back to the brothel leaving Hosea at home in tears, the youngest son gives his Father the bird and tells him that he wishes he was dead, leaving the Father at home wondering whether he could have done anything differently, wondering if he’ll ever see his child again. Perhaps in his tears he borrowed these words from Hosea 11:
“When Israel was a child I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. The more I called them, the more they went from me; they kept sacrificing to the Baals and burning incense to idols. Yet it is I who taught Ephraim to walk, I took them in my arms; but they did not know that I healed them. I bent down and fed them. How can I give you up? How can I surrender you? My heart is turned over within me, all my compassions are kindled. I will not execute my fierce anger; I will not destroy Ephraim again, for I am God and not man, the Holy One in your midst, and I will not come in wrath. They will walk after the Lord and he will roar like a lion; indeed, He will roar and his sons will come trembling from the west.”
And as the Father of the prodigal son prays this lament from Hosea, he sees his son coming down the road, a pin in the distance, and soon a figure with a gait that he can make out and he sprints down the road to the prodigal child who is on his knees in tears of fear and relief.
The story of Hosea reminds me of this story, but it is not the same story. Because in Hosea the beloved does not return. Gomer bears the children of other lovers, she leaves the side of Hosea in the dead of night and slinks away to another lover but unlike the prodigal, she does not return repenting. In Hosea, there is no prodigal return…
Hosea must go into the brothel Himself to find his beloved. It will hurt him and he will learn of his beloved’s betrayal even more deeply, but he cannot stand to be without her. Hosea goes into the brothel, he wades deeper into the pain because He is jealous for the heart of Gomer, because he longs for her to experience life and life to the fullest, because no matter what she did, he would yet love her.
And of course this is the story of the Gospel. Hosea shares the same Hebrew name as the man from Nazareth, who did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, but emptied himself and took on the form of a man and went into the brothel to find the bride that had rejected him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive Him. Jesus of Nazareth, Yeshua, Hosea, literally, one who saves…
This is the story of Christianity-the fantastical belief that though the world is rife with hatred and despondency, walls and separations, division and greed, though it is so often the antithesis to the heart of God, yet for this adulterous world, God goes in search."
Prayers of the People
We pray for Andrew, Amy, and Irene Fields as they begin their ministry in Columbia. We pray for encouraging relationships as they get to know the Columbian people and culture. May your Spirit guide enable them to embody your gospel.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer
We pray for unity in a world of division. We pray for hope in a world of despair. We pray for courage for those in dangerous situations. We pray that your kingdom would come and that we would be ambassadors of your love and peace.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer
- Men's Meetup this Thursday is meeting Green Street Smoked Meats at 7:00. From there, the group will head over to the Beer Bistro around 8:30. Check out the events page for more details!
- There is a children's play date at Oz Park Thursday morning. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about that. All parents and kids are invited!
- DINNERS WITH GRACE is back this Sunday, 5:00. Lisa Zook is hosting a casual evening that will provide a great opportunity to connect with old friends and make some new ones. You can RSVP here.