“May the memory of them be a blessing,” is a common honorific for the deceased among Jewish people. It’s based on Proverbs 10:7, “The memory of the righteous is a blessing.”
In the Bible, forgetting or being forgotten accompanies punishment. Israel is said to have “forgotten the Holy One” when they turn aside to idols, and Job grieves that he is “forgotten by his companions” in his time of great suffering. To be lost is terrible, but to be forgotten is infinitely worse. It implies one is no longer being sought after.
In today’s reading, we look at a continuation of Hosea’s warning to the people of Israel that judgment is coming. But as with any loving parent, God promises that discipline will be tempered with mercy. In verse 8 Hosea reminds the people of God’s great love and compassion and says that God cannot treat Israel as God treated Admah and Zeboiim.
Deuteronomy 29:23 records that God wiped out Admah and Zeboiim along with Sodom and Gomorrah. But, unlike Sodom and Gomorrah, the Bible tells nothing else about these two cities. They are essentially forgotten. So what is the legacy and lesson of Admah and Zeboiim? Through their mention in Hosea, they help us to understand that though God may punish God’s children for a time, God will not forget or utterly abandon the people as God did those two cities.
With this assurance of being remembered by God, the people will respond to God’s correction, repent, and return to the Lord. Hosea assures us that though we may suffer the consequences of turning away from God, the Lord will return us home.
Thank you, Lord, for remembering us even when we sin against you. Thank you for welcoming our repentance with open arms. Amen.
Hosea relates a further message from God. Israel has repeatedly ignored God’s teachings, even though God continues to reach out with love and kindness. Although a just response would be wrath, God will respond instead with mercy to restore the people. The psalmist echoes this teaching about God’s enduring love. Although some have gone through periods of distress, when they call out to God, the Lord responds with steadfast love. We then explore guidance for the life of a Christian. In Colossians we read that we should focus on heavenly realities, not the physical world. Rather than pursuing our own pleasure, we should put on a new self and behave more like God desires. The parable that Jesus tells reinforces this point. We should focus on storing up heavenly treasures, not earthly ones.
Read Hosea 11:1-11. How have you suffered the consequences of turning away from God? How has God welcomed you back?
Read Psalm 107:1-9, 43. What stories of God’s goodness does your family tell to the next generations?
Read Colossians 3:1-11. How has Christ renewed you? How do you see Christ in others?
Read Luke 12:13-21. How has greed shown up in your life—as racism, wealth-mongering, or myths of scarcity? How do you combat greed in all its forms to live out of a mentality of abundance?
Respond by posting a prayer.
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