Suggested Lectionary Texts Hosea 1:2-10, Psalm 85, Luke 11:1-13, Colossians 2:6-15
Hosea 1:2 When the LORD first spoke through Hosea, the LORD said to Hosea, “Go, take for yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the LORD.” 3 So he went and took Gomer, daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son. 4 And the LORD said to him, “Name him Jezreel; for in a little while I will punish the house of Jehu for the blood of Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel. 5 On that day I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel.” 6 She conceived again and bore a daughter. Then the LORD said to him, “Name her Lo-ruhamah, for I will no longer have pity on the house of Israel or forgive them. 7 But I will have pity on the house of Judah, and I will save them by the LORD their God; I will not save them by bow, or by sword, or by war, or by horses, or by horsemen.” 8 When she had weaned Lo-ruhamah, she conceived and bore a son. 9 Then the LORD said, “Name him Lo-ammi, for you are not my people and I am not your God.” 10 Yet the number of the people of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which can be neither measured nor numbered; and in the place where it was said to them, “You are not my people,” it shall be said to them, “Children of the living God.”
Jesus’ Teaching on Prayer
Luke 11: 1 One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” 2 He said to them, “When you pray, say: “‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. 3 Give us each day our daily bread. 4 Forgive us our sin for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.’”
5 Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; 6 a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ 7 And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ 8 I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.
9 “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. 11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
Like Amos, Hosea is another one of the minor prophets. Little is known about his lineage, but from the context of the writings, Bible Scholars have discerned that Hosea comes from the Northern region of Israel. The people of this region need to be enlightened in regards to what happens to those who forsake God. The language in this prophecy is harsh and disturbing to the reader.
Hosea began prophesying in his early life and continued through his later life. As a young adult, God calls Hosea to marry an unfaithful woman and to have children with this woman. Through this relationship, God would help the Israelites see through this example how they were being unfaithful to God.
Hosea married Gomar, who as predicted was unfaithful to Hosea during their marriage. They had 3 children:
God is very frustrated with the Israelites because they, having been delivered, rescued, and redeemed, had become rebellious and focused on earthly treasures and the worshiping of idols. God is hurt by their abandonment.
God sees his prophet Hosea and believes that Hosea needs to intimately feel what God is feeling. God wants Hosea to know the bitter sting of love unrequited. God wants Hosea to know the deep pain of what it’s like to see those who once worshiped, praised, and celebrated you abandon you to false gods. Is God unhappy with Hosea? No, but how does one who has never known heartache help teach the true understanding of what has been lost.
Prostitutes, then and now, were people who engaged in acts that are reserved for love and marriage—without the love or marriage. On the surface, to the casual observer, those acts seemed like intimacy but they were shallow, cold, and meaningless. This was much like the religion of the people of Israel. Imagine being asked by God and trusting God through such a risky situation. After all, Hosea was known as a prophet. What would others think when he married such a woman?
God understands the challenges that he is asking for Hosea to experience and wants him to be prepared to serve and deliver God’s message as all see what is happening when Gomar goes out and spends time with other men.
It’s hard to speak about something from a place not known and not felt.
Imagine trying to teach something you’ve never actually done:
Rarely does anything work in real life like it does in theory.
- Assembling/Installing Things
What does it take to serve God’s children: the outcasts, the poor, the uneducated
Tie back to “seeing” Seeing through the lens of love: not the torn clothes, but the needs. Not the scars of rejection, but the soul ready for hope.
- those who have known poverty intimately;
- those who have been benefited and, in some cases, saved by being an immigrant;
- those who lost their business to larger corporations;
- those who have been called derogatory names;
- those who have been passed over for promotion unjustly (gender, age)
- those who have been muted by societal norms
- These and similar challenges bring to the prophetic ministry a tender, personal, and deep passion because they have had the human experience of suffering and the desire to see the redemptive healing that God can bring.
- The Old Testament is full of stories of those who are challenged as they journey on their path. We see stories where groups are enslaved and then released through the grace of God. We see stories where groups are left to wander in the wilderness, but are brought back to the fold.
- This story in Hosea does not end as a tragedy, but as a sign of our gracious God.
- Vs. 10-11 10 “Yet the Israelites will be like the sand on the seashore, which cannot be measured or counted. In the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ they will be called ‘children of the living God.’ 11 The people of Judah and the people of Israel will come together; they will appoint one leader and will come up out of the land, for great will be the day of Jezreel.
Fast forward to the NT: Why did God send his son to walk among us? Because we (the world) was so broken, that the only way that we could be saved was through a drastic measure. An eye-opening, wow, did you hear moment that would capture the attention of everyone. Think of how this would go viral today!
Jesus came to bring us back to God’s love, grace, and mercy as he walked, talked, and taught us what it means to Love God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind; and how to love our neighbors as ourselves. Jesus as a human leading us by His example on our path to the divine.
In our passage in Luke, Jesus has just finished praying to God and His disciples asked Him how they should pray. (Notice that this implies that the prayer was silent..)
Discussion groups, Sunday School Classes, Authors spend much time discussing what we should say, how we should say it, where we should say it. I am an advocate for fewer rules and more praying.
Strong believer in praying often. Some might be long (like morning prayers or evening prayers), but most are very short. (Help me Lord) (Thank you for the beautiful sky) (Oh God, Save me from myself) Most of my throughout the day prayers are snippets of conversation. It’s okay to be formal, get on our knees, but it’s also okay to be less formal.
Think about speaking to someone formally (probably not someone with whom you have a personal relationship) a boss, a stranger. Our speech is rigid and awkward. We are trying to make sure we say all the right things in just the right way. Perhaps we have things we feel that we need to hide.
What about talking to close friends and family? There is no protocol. Sometimes we jump in the middle of a conversation and the other person understands. The more we are connected, then the more relaxed we are because the other knows our faults and our secrets. That’s the relationship that God wants with us. God knows everything about us and still loves us. We have nothing to hide. So just talk! aloud or silently: it’s not about the how, what, or where. It’s about the relationship.
Jesus’ model for prayer has three steps.
- First, praise Him: Praise the Father first, “Hallowed be your name, Your kingdom come.”
- Second, admit we need forgiveness. “Forgive us our trespasses.”
- Third, ask for what we want. Jesus asked to not be tempted, but to be delivered out of evil. “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
Think about your own prayers! Maybe our prayers are still modeled after those childhood bedtime prayers.
- Do we spend most of our prayer time asking God for things?
- Then almost an afterthought we would say, God bless . . .
God our creator, our parent: Think about that child/parent relationship: (many forms)
How would you feel if your child or anyone (student, employee, friend) came to you every day only asking you for things?
(I imagine most of us are guilty of that at times!) I need more time . . . I need help . . .
What if we first first praised our parents or the one from whom we make requests, All need more praise! Through praise, we lift each other up.
Then we asked for forgiveness for the wrong things we had done, (known or unknown)
like the times we had disobeyed, not done the job, or the times he had talked back (even in our thoughts).
Finally, we made our requests.
I challenge us to reprioritize our prayers and pray as Jesus’ shared.
- First, praise Him:
- Second, admit we need forgiveness. “Forgive us our trespasses.”
- Third, ask for what we want.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18