Monday, May 13, 2024

Keep Commitments 2)

My home group date is tomorrow and I admit I have been exercised about how best to approach the evening. Truthfully, the choice of Hosea as the set Scripture was a great surprise.  It's not the obvious choice when thinking about biblical help on keeping commitments! 

The prophets were an extraordinary group of people, inspired by God to challenge the people by word and sometimes in action. These actions were like action symbols where prophets vividly lived out the message. And Hosea ranks as one of providing the most unusual symbol - his marriage and children!  His message is a judgment on Israel which is in the throes of the last tragic years before Assyria overthrows the kingdom.  It's hard to believe how far the leaders and people have drifted from God's love and authority. All six kings in succession are disasters with 4 murdered, 1 captured in battle and only one succeeded by his son. The whole Northern kingdom has failed God in the great sin of  unfaithfulness. 

To demonstrate the message of their unfaithfulness, Hosea is told to marry Gomer. We have many questions about her because it's clear that whether she began as a good wife or not she became adulterous.  Some even suggest, a prostitute. The story of love, and one commentator calls this 'a love story that went wrong,' shows Hosea naming three children (perhaps two of them not his own) with symbolic names - all dire pronouncements on the future of Israel.  Incredible to think of naming children 'No Longer Love' and 'You are not my people'!  As you read on you see how his marriage and his words illustrate the rejection God feels as his people reject his love for them. 

The study guide sets questions about Hosea's marriage and how it demonstrated God's unfailing love in spite of hurtful rejection and asks  us how we might begin to imitate God in one of our commitments.  I shall report on how the group responds!

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