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Hosea: Harsh Words for Harsh Times

By Erika Dornfeld

As we have heard, thehosea prophets don’t tell the future so much as they tell the truth. When I read the first chapter of Hosea, I would have rather stopped right there. It all sounded so untrue to my ears!  In fact, the whole book of Hosea has politically incorrect, violent, and degrading language about women and children, humanity, and God. A light example would be that God tells Hosea to name one child “not my people” and another “not pitied.” What truth is that?  It made me want to disregard the prophet outright and flip forward to the gospels.

Despite my distaste for Hosea’s words, in the wake of the Trayvon Martin trial verdict, statements about children being born into a world that labels them as unworthy of pity seemed especially true.  Hosea helps us ask, when the deranged nature of the world seems all-encompassing, where then does one find hope? What will happen to Israel, the chosen but misbehaving children of God?

If one makes it to the end of Hosea, in chapter 11 God is described as a mother who embraces her wayward children. Behind the harsh words and imagery, Hosea speaks a profound truth: our sin wounds the heart of God. The compassion and mercy of God overflows to God’s children, despite all. Hosea is a short book, but readers in it for the long haul hear God calling her children home in the midst of a violent world.

To hear more about the prophet Hosea, join us for adult education in Lesher Lounge, July 28th- August 4th at 9am.

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