I always love to read about the “Street theatre” symbolic signs that prophets are asked to do.
But of all of them, surely Hosea required the deepest commitment, being told to marry a prostitute, and give his children miserable names like “not loved” and “not my people”. A commentator speculated that his son “not my people” may have indeed not been his biological son, and perhaps the child bore no family resemblance.
His third child was named “Jezreel”, which I gather would be a bit like a Chinese person calling their child “Tiananmen Square”. Jezreel was the site of a massacre that established the ruling king Jeroboham II.
Hosea’s prophetic ministry was in the northern kingdom, Israel, after the “promised land” split into two nations. The northern kingdom was generally less faithful to God, and didn’t include Jerusalem, where the temple was.
The book covers a tumultuous period from peaceful prosperity to the conquering and exile of the nation.
As the book starts, and Hosea sets out to live this symbolic life, it would have seemed to the average inhabitant of Israel like nothing is wrong. The prosperity and stability of the Solomon years, pre split, are continuing.
But spiritually, the nation is corrupt at the core. Hosea is a canary in a coal mine. And his near term prophesy rapidly came to be, with the fall of about 7 kings in his lifetime, and then the nation as a whole.
Another feature of the prophesy book genre is what I’ve called the sugar, the promises of blessing after the hardship which are some of the most exultant passages in all scripture. This chapter rushes to it.
From oblivious shallow prosperity, to the shock lifestyle message of God’s judgement, to a promise of restoration. The promise echoes the covenant with Moses, that Israel and Judah will be united again as God’s people, of immeasurable number like the sands on the seashore.
In 11 verses.
Work is still awful, about to start the third week of my 3 week’s notice of being made redundant, which, rather than being paid up front, I am serving out.
If I work from home or if I go into the office, it’s equally depressing. I have a couple of tasks to do that I would usually find enjoyable. But I feel like life has trained me not to relax into work.
It’s as if you got a mouse and electrified their food, and their exercise wheel and their sleeping corner, so that every normal activity was negatively reinforced with jabs of pain. I wander restlessly wondering what to do.
I’m embarrassed how selfish I feel, but I also resent the morality that tells me not to feel sorry for myself. So as well as not knowing what to do, I don’t know what to think.
There’s that destructive urge, like after a hurtful romantic break up, that to move on is letting them win. But you know you will rapidly get to a place where no one in your life has patience with you nurturing your hurt any more.
There are some days, in my grand Bible reading method, where my mood and the message in the passage seen magnificently mismatched. No word of application is coming to me. But I do feel encouraged to pray.