Many a parent has been driven to such a moment of recitation by a rebellious child. “I was there when you took your first step, threw your first ball, and played at your first recital! I have told you time and time again how important it is to avoid these problems. I have rescued you from harm, and I have been there whenever you called. Why will you not do as you have been taught?”
How comforting to encounter through Hosea a parent just like us. One who has dealt with rebellion, has grieved over loss, has endured the hard times when deeply loved children choose to turn away and reject the love that brought them life. No matter how bleak the circumstances, God is with us. God understands our hearts and our hurts; God will give us grace to endure.
God too has grieved over God’s stiff-necked children. If ever a parenting plan, a book, a program existed that would produce obedient, faithful kids, surely God would have used it. That we, who have been rebellious and faithless over and over again, are still loved and acceptable to God is a mercy that encourages us to be merciful. After all, if we depend on God’s mercy to belong to the family, why would we withhold mercy from those who belong to ours?
The sting of disappointment and rejection are made easier by the comfort of God who knows the pain. We have a safe place to share our hurts. God understands them and is already redeeming them. Our glorious God knows us and our actions. God loves us unconditionally!
God, thank you for forgiveness and unconditional love, new every morning. Help me to forgive and love unconditionally in response. May your mercy to me become my mercy to others. Amen.
The Hosea passage portrays the agony of God, who is torn between the demands of judgment and of grace. When justice and grace are weighed in God’s balances, grace always prevails. Psalm 107’s language applies to many experiences of alienation. Lostness, hunger, thirst, and weariness characterize the condition of those cut off from God; yet if they seem abandoned, they are not. God has guided them out of the desert and back to their homes once again. The freedom to live in goodness is the subject of Colossians. The passage points read- ers beyond “things that are on earth” to “things that are above.” Freedom from greed is the focus of Luke 12:13-21, a text that addresses the dif cult issue of how the Christian is to deny the temptations of materialism while living in a very material world. The farmer is not condemned because he worked to produce a bumper crop, but his demise is viewed as tragic because he wrongly believed that his bulging barns would be his salvation.
• Read Hosea 11:1-11. God’s constant love, mercy, and grace allow for transformation. What would it be like if our sys- tems employed a justice designed to transform?
• Read Psalm 107:1-9, 43. From what captivity has God redeemed you?
• Read Colossians 3:1-11. What do you need to take away from your life in order to clothe yourself with the practices that re ect the image of God?
• Read Luke 12:13-21. How can you feel more satis ed with what you have? How will this allow you to share more with others?
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