Thursday, September 3, 2009


Been reading the book of Hosea lately--fascinating book. Been having a jumble of thoughts regarding the illustrations and the events that give us the illustrations.

If there's anyone who can say "Why, God?", it's Hosea. Imagine marrying a prostitute, knowing that she's unfaithful, knowing that everyone knows that she's unfaithful. What kind of love must you have to love her? But as you think about it, this is exactly the point of the book.

Also, imagine naming your kids "Not Loved" and "Not my people". The latter one--wouldn't people assume that, given the nature of your wife, that you don't know the parentage of the kid? As I read the chapter, it never says that kids #2 and #3 are Hosea's. (But it doesn't say that they aren't either).

I searched RZIM's Slice of Infinity website and found this old slice:

I believe one of the most profound poems ever written was penned by an Englishman named Frances Thompson. Thompson was a genius, but he became a drug addict and was on the run for many years of his life. Towards the later part of his life he wrote that magnificent masterpiece he called "The Hound of Heaven." The poem describes God as a persistent hound who, with loving feet, follows and follows until he catches up with this person who is trying to run and flee from him. He writes,

"I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled him down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the midst of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.
Up vistaed hopes I sped;
And shot, precipitated,
Adown Titanic glooms of chasmed fears,
From those strong Feet that followed, followed after."

As the poem comes to an end, Thompson depicts the persistent cry of God to the one who flees his presence, the one He pursues to the end:

"Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest,
I am He Whom thou seekest!
Thou dravest love from thee, who dravest Me."

With the wisdom of one who had found himself chased after, Thompson notes the heart of God and the contradiction of man. We run away, fearful that if we have God, we might have nothing else beside. And God says, "You were weak and blind and miserable when you were driving me away, because you were actually driving love away from you. It is Me you seek."

The life and ministry of the prophet Hosea is a fascinating, mystifying look at the love of God and man’s readiness to push that love away. His message will send a deep ray of hope into our hearts if we listen carefully. Hosea was a prophet called by God to marry Gomer, a harlot who continually left the loving home Hosea had provided to return to her life of prostitution. We can almost hear the whispers among the people to whom Hosea faithfully preached, until someone is brave enough to ask: "Hosea, can you tell us how it is you continue to love this woman, a woman who has so betrayed you and repeatedly abandoned her commitment to you? How can a holy man of God like you be joined to a woman such as this?" And Hosea says, "I will be delighted to answer your question if you will first answer a question of mine. How can a holy God like this love such a harlotrous people like us?"

The first thing about the nature of God's relationship with us is that He gives to us a love that we do not deserve. We do not merit it. But not only is the love of God unmerited; it is also a love that grows and is sustained by relationship. The longer we walk with Him, the more we understand how glorious this love is.

Through the prophet Hosea, God spoke graphically to a nation running from his presence. As individuals, He chases after us, woos us into his arms, pays the price to buy us back, cleans us up, and brings us home. Through his Son, God has reached out his arms to pay the price for our sin, to offer us new life, to give us fresh hope and meaning. Let us come to the cross as we are: sinners needing mercy, children desiring love, souls sick of running through our nights and days and ready to follow the One who ordains them.

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