I am not going to lie, the first time I read you through with the SRT community I was bored. That was in May 2013, over a year ago. Maybe it wasn’t the right time for me, maybe I had to experience other things to really understand. I’m not sure, but I do know this time was different. Very different.
In case you don’t know, Shelby is Old English for “sheltered town”, not sure what that says about me but my husband’s name is Travis Foster, meaning “traveler” and “through the woods”. We joke that our names together mean he traveled through the woods to find me, his sheltered town. Now, my parent’s didn’t name me Shelby because of the meaning, in fact they had no idea what it meant. Travis was named after some author and his middle name is a family name. The names in Hosea, mean EVERYTHING.
Jezreel= God Sows
Lo-ruhama= No mercy, unfit and unloved
Lo-ammi= Not my people
These names are kind of a big deal. And although we only talk about these specific people for the first 3 chapters, it is the over arching story that really identifies with these names. Hosea, as a prophet is telling the people of Israel to come back to God, though they have strayed and fallen short and God is pretty upset with them. He will not fail them no matter how often they fail Him. God speaks of the people of Israel as though they are unfit for His love, and they continually fail to be His people and yet.
“So you, by the help of your God, return, hold fast to love and justice, and wait continually for your God.” Hosea 12:4 (ESV)
I don’t know about you, but I need this plastered on my wall. Hold fast to love and justice. He is LOVE and JUSTICE. When we hold on to these things we are holding on to HIM.
Think about that.
No matter the amount of screwing up I do on a daily basis, which is A. LOT. I can find peace in the fact, not the idea but fact, that God has not changed. He is Love. and He is Good. and He is Justice. and He is Mercy. and He is Grace. When I don’t deserve it. He is.
The best news, is in 2 Corinthians.
“Therefore, if ANYONE is in Christ, he is a NEW creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)
emphasis is mine
Um. Wow. Jesus is at every point of mercy in Hosea. It took me a while to see Him, but through the hurt and anger. I saw Jesus and he was weeping.
What did I get out of Hosea? Well, I like to think that I am a good person, heck by everyone’s low standards I am. But to God’s standard I fail everyday. Realizing that can get a girl down. It’s not fair that I can’t be perfect, no matter how hard I try. The line from the bible study that really gives Hosea, perspective to me is, “we cannot really understand the gospel without the very real and difficult realization of sin.”
God has been challenging me to see the links between the Old and the New, see His unchanging love and justice in Genesis through the Prophets. See how Jesus’ mercy is present in Hosea. How the law and Jesus teaching relate. Now, I am no theologian (my husband is) but 99% of this is way over my head. Thankfully, He is showing me tiny pieces and I hope at some time in the future I can really understand it. But what I know is God is faithful and unchanging. He is still the jealous of Exodus but He is also the forgiving Father who accepts us through Jesus’ sacrifice. Without the fall, would we know grace?
Music plays a huge part for me in worship. Mind you I never sing in front of anyone, except my husband. I was practically wailing when I played ‘After the Storm’ by Mumford & Sons on this day…the words in this song remind me of the story of Hosea
Take a minute to really listen to these words. What do you hear?