Archive for the 'Hosea' Category

HOSEA 4 ~ Praying the Scriptures

Jul. 19th 2012

A Daily Collect: “Justifying Lord, you have seen that there is no faithfulness or loyalty in the land, for we lie, cheat, and murder, or we are, at least, complicit when others do so in our name. Lead us to mourn our sin and restore us to right knowledge and understanding, so we may not come to ruin. This, we pray, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” (based on Hosea 4)

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HOSEA 1~ Praying the Scriptures

Jul. 16th 2012

A Daily Collect: “Gracious and merciful God, your love for me is patient and steadfast, even when I turn away from you, seeking other gods for lovers. Have pity on me, and forgive my unfaithfulness. Restore me to your trust so that I may be counted among your beloved, the children of your flock, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” (based on Hosea 1)

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Prefacing Hosea

Jul. 16th 2012

Thank you for joining me in reading through and praying through the scriptures. Over the last months, I have been reading through the prophets. Today, I begin reading through the book of Hosea. The book of Hosea has been a difficult book for me to read; and so, I felt that it was appropriate and necessary to offer a prefacing commentary on the book. The following notes are taken from Gale Yee’s commentary in the New Interpreters Bible Commentary.

 

The prophetic book of Hosea provides a vivid and passionate look at the covenantal relationship between God and Israel, employing two metaphors from human relationships: the husband/wife relationship in marriage and the parent/child relationship. In biblical tradition, different metaphors are used to capture the unique covenantal relationship between God and Israel. The use of biblical metaphor seeks to draw from the bonds of human relationships (e.g. between king and servant, lord and vassal, etc) to communicate different facets of the covenantal union. The book of Hosea was the first to employ the metaphor of husband for God and casting Israel in negative female imagery as God’s adulterous wife. However, interpretive problems arise when the metaphorical character of the biblical image is forgotten.

In particular, the marriage metaphor for the covenant between God and Israel becomes problematic for women who continue to be victims of sexual violence and abuse. Hosea’s marriage metaphor arises from a particular ancient social context. The husband/wife metaphor of the God/Israel covenant in the book of Hosea Is embedded with specific, culturally conditioned notions of what it means to be male or female and how each should behave in a particular society. Present-day Euro-American societies are quite different in their understanding of marriage and gender relations. Thus, understanding Israel’s institution of marriage and its laws regarding adultery in marriage becomes critical to interpreting Hosea.

Regrettably, I am not able to walk us through an interpretive study of Hosea at this time (My plate will be full with preparing for Sunday worship, leading the Saturday Men’s studies and the Disciple Bible study on Genesis). My objective is simply to read through the book devotionally. However, I did not want to do so without acknowledging the challenges we might face as we read through the book together. Should the metaphor and imagery in the book present significant challenges for you, I want you to know that I am available to accompany you and share in your questioning and reflecting. Feel free to reach out to me and to others as you encounter need. Above all, I want to affirm for you that God is gracious to wrestle with you as you wrestle with the text.

Remember, as we devotionally read through the scriptures, we are asking two simple  questions: 1) what stands out for you (images, words, verses, etc) and why?; 2) what do you believe God might be saying to you through that?

I pray and hope that this journey will be an enriching journey for you. Thank you for deciding to covenant with me and share this journey with me.

In Christ, Pastor Shandi

 

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Invitation: Walk With Me?

Jul. 16th 2012

He said to me: Mortal, eat this scroll that I give you and fill your stomach with it. Then I ate it; and in my mouth it was as sweet as honey.(Ezekiel 3:3)

When I was in Seminary, I experienced the distinct blessing to be invited into a covenantal relationship with a fellow classmate. His name was Kevin. Kevin and I became friends when one day, during lunch, he asked me if I would be interested in entering into covenant with him for daily devotions, prayer, and accountability. He said he had been praying about whom he could share this journey with and, in his prayers, I had come to mind, even though we had not been friends for long before that. What he did not know is that I, too, had been praying for someone with whom to share the journey. Although we were essentially immersed in biblical and theological study as part of our seminary studies, we both felt that something was missing. We desired a deeper spiritual practice that would nurture us personally and would be distinct from any assignments we had to do for classes.

With the answer to our prayer, Kevin and I covenanted to wake up at 6:00am every morning to read scripture and to pray together. (We were not morning persons). As our practice, we would select a book of the Bible to read through together. In our meetings, we would read a chapter a day. (Sometimes it felt as though the chapters were reading us, so early in the morning). We did not engage in anything complicated – no theological discussion, no historical critical thinking (we left that for classes). Each morning, after reading the chapter for the day, we would ask one another two simple questions: a) What (words, verses, or images) stood out for you and why? b) What do you think God is saying to you through it? That was all!

After sharing our reflection and discernment, we would ask each other for any prayer requests. Then, we would close in prayer, praying for one another and giving thanks for the Word God had spoken to us that morning. On average, we spent 30minutes in devotions. On really good days (when we were awake), we could spend an hour and, maybe even follow it up at lunch or dinner or a coffee break during the day. Then, about once a week, we would meet at a Starbucks to hold one another accountable as we shared our triumphs and struggles during the past week. Words cannot begin to express how much of a transforming experience this was for me. Through this experience, I filled my heart’s stomach with the Word of God; tasted it and found that it was sweet as honey.

I share this experience with you for two reasons: first, I hope this can be a model that you can use with your family and friends if you’re not already engaged in personal devotions and prayer. Even if you do your own private devotions, I challenge you to invite at least one other person to share this journey with. I cannot tell you how many times I felt God speaking to me through Kevin, through his reflections and discernment. This experience taught me that: We need one another.

Second, I share this experience because I wish to invite you to share in my journey. Those of you who are “friends” with me on Facebook may remember that during Lent, I read through the Book of Isaiah. I read a chapter a day, and with each chapter, I wrote one or more prayers based on the scripture for that day. To write those prayers, I simply asked myself the same two simple questions that Kevin and I asked. As I listened for what God was saying to me, I transformed it into prayer, using the words and images from the scripture to form my praying words. The experience with Kevin taught me that we can find help and accountability along the way once we begin sharing such a journey together. Sometimes I get too busy or too lazy to read my chapter for the day. But, when I know that someone else is depending on me and waiting for me, I am less likely to skip a meal that would enrich my spirit. So, I am writing to invite you to enter into covenant with me.

Beginning on July 16, I invite you to join me in my journey and read through the scriptures with me. I have been reading through prophets. On July 16, I will start reading through the book of Hosea, and later Joel, Amos, etc. As I did through Lent, I will post on my Facebook Wall (and hopefully the church website) at least one prayer based on the chapter for the day. I invite you to read a chapter a day with me. I invite you ask yourselves the same two questions. And, if you wish, I invite you to post your reflections and discernment on your Facebook Wall (or comment on mine). I invite you to walk with me as we journey on along the way of discipleship.

As we eat and have our fill, I pray and trust that you and I will taste the Word of God and find that it is indeed sweet as honey. Come walk with me?

In Christ, Pastor Shandi

 

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