Wednesday 07 July 2010

Bible Book:

"Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you." (v.12)

Hosea 10:1-12 Wednesday 7 July 2010


For the prophet Hosea, the nation of Israel was defined by thevalues of the people. The soul of their faith was identified byvisible justice. It was not good enough for priests to point tofine altars as an example of their commitment to God. All that didwas to demonstrate their material wellbeing. Right religion was notseen in fine buildings but in gracious deeds.

In Haiti, there are many buildings that, at first sight, appearundamaged or only slightly so. What the earthquake did however, wasto shake buildings so severely that although they only appearslightly damaged, they are crisscrossed with so many internalcracks that they are now totally unstable. The tower of the mainMethodist church in Port-au-Prince is a case in point. When thetrue extent of the damage was discovered, more and more of thetower had to be demolished. Today, there is not much left ofit.

Injustice spreads like a crack in a building. It cannot be hidden,and it is not long before it is exposed as sham. This will resultin God's punishment, but for the people of Israel, this will notoccur before the prophet lovingly calls for a change of heart.Hosea paints a wonderful, gentle picture of the two kingdoms ofJudah and Israel, crafted lovingly by God to complement each otherin establishing justice - "Judah must plough; Jacob must harrow forhimself".

In today's concluding verse, God pleads with the people to work thefield in a new way and not just toplaster over the cracks. They must harvest justice like theunfailing love that God has for the wayward people. Or a gentleprophet has for his unfaithful wife.

To Ponder

Read Matthew 7:15-20. Can you see ways in whichJesus echoes the words of Hosea in this passage?

Read again Hosea10:1-2. People throughout Latin America ask me why it is thatin Britain - where Methodism started - the Methodist Church appearsto be struggling so much. How can these verses help you to draft aresponse?

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