I feel fortunate to come from a family of storytellers, men and women who keep our family’s history alive by recounting to younger generations the tales of days gone by. Each old story inevitably holds a valuable lesson for today. We learn a lesson in honesty from the story of a Minnesota farm boy who confesses his wrongdoing expecting punishment but receiving mercy. We learn a lesson of trust from the blind workhorse who will outpull any other horse as long as his master’s hand is at the reins. We learn courage from the small dog who faces down an angry bull and thereby saves my grandfather’s life. We hear stories of war and of times of celebration and of surviving the Great Depression. Our family stories make us laugh, make us cry, and make us think.
In today’s reading, the psalmist reminds readers to be grateful for the many different times and ways the Lord God has led them. The psalmist reminds us of the desert places from which we’ve been delivered and the lean times when God has been faithful to provide. These memories are meant to invoke in us gratitude for all the Lord has done for us.
The psalmist instructs us not only to recall the ways the Lord has led us but also to tell others what the Lord has done for us. Our Bible, full of stories with continuously relevant life lessons, serves as our example. We read and tell these stories to remember the Lord’s goodness and love for us.
Take a moment to ponder all the times the Lord has answered your prayers, delivered you from distress, and met your needs. How can you share your stories? With whom?
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.