Category Archives: Chapter-a-Day

Chapter-a-Day Hosea 3

I did it. I paid good money to get her back. It cost me the price of a slave. Then I told her, "From now on you’re living with me. No more whoring, no more sleeping around. You’re living with me and I’m living with you." Hosea 3:2-3 (TM)

You can’t understand the prophets until you understand metaphor. God is an artist and all artists use metaphor. A thing which represents something else without using ‘like’ or ‘as’. What you see is really just an expression of some other idea or emotion. Hosea was asked to marry a whore and take her back again and again because it was the perfect metaphor for God’s relationship, His marriage to Israel.

Hosea needs one heckuva big reward for being so obedient. Not only did he face the social consequences of marrying a whore, but then when she went back to her prostitution and promiscuity – Hosea paid good money to take her back! Now I know the reputation of our Jewish friends when it comes to money. Being a Dutchman, I know a thing or two about being tight-fisted. Wow! Can you imagine that he got a little flack about that down at the coffe shop by the city gate?

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Chapter-a-Day Hosea 2

I’ll say to Nobody, "You’re my dear Somebody,’ and he’ll say "You’re my God!’" Hosea 2:23b (TM)

God specializes in forgiveness and affirmation. It’s sad that we’ve been duped into thinking that God is this great ogre in the heavens waiting to stomp on us and send us to hell, or else He’s a stern parent shouting "No! Because I said so!" Yet the scriptures reveal that God loves us extravagantly. He goes, quite literally to death – to hell and back to love us and forgive us.

When I’m feeling like a ‘nobody’ – I retreat to God’s Message and hear Him say, ‘you’re my dear somebody.’

I wonder sometimes what the church would be like, what the world would be like if we truly grasped how much God loves us, how much He desires us, and how willing He is to bless us. A small group of people who truly "got it" would, I think, change the world. In fact, it happened 2 centuries ago.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Chapter-a-Day Hosea 1

The first time GOD spoke to Hosea he said: "Find a whore and marry her. Make this whore the mother of your children. And here’s why: This whole country has become a whorehouse, unfaithful to me, GOD." Hosea 1:2 (TM)

I was trying to imagine the reaction Hosea received from his family when he brought Gomer home for the first time. "Son, are you nuts?" How many of Hosea’s relatives stopped talking to him? How many "friends" avoided him in the synogogue? I have to believe that Hosea suddenly became a social outcast and the object of intense ridicule. I’m sure his explanation – "God told me to" – didn’t go far, either. In fact, I can hear the scornful response of well meaning friends and relatives, "God would never tell you to marry a whore!"

Yet, God doesn’t live inside the box of our acceptable religious and social mores. Life is messy, and God often pushes our comfort zone to make His point.

Kudos to Hosea for having the faith to obey, even when it most likely made life very difficult and very messy.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Chapter-a-Day Hosea 1

The first time GOD spoke to Hosea he said: "Find a whore and marry her. Make this whore the mother of your children. And here’s why: This whole country has become a whorehouse, unfaithful to me, GOD." Hosea 1:2 (TM)

I was trying to imagine the reaction Hosea received from his family when he brought Gomer home for the first time. "Son, are you nuts?" How many of Hosea’s relatives stopped talking to him? How many "friends" avoided him in the synogogue? I have to believe that Hosea suddenly became a social outcast and the object of intense ridicule. I’m sure his explanation – "God told me to" – didn’t go far, either. In fact, I can hear the scornful response of well meaning friends and relatives, "God would never tell you to marry a whore!"

Yet, God doesn’t live inside the box of our acceptable religious and social mores. Life is messy, and God often pushes our comfort zone to make His point.

Kudos to Hosea for having the faith to obey, even when it most likely made life very difficult and very messy.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Chapter-a-Day Mark 16

He said, "Don’t be afraid. I know you’re looking for Jesus the Nazarene, the One they nailed on the cross. He’s been raised up; he’s here no longer. You can see for yourselves that the place is empty. Now–on your way. Mark 16:6-7 (TM)

When I was in Israel I went to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jesrusalem where the traditional garden tomb is, itself, entombed in a massive medeival structure. I did the tourist thing and waited in line before crawling into the tiny rock tomb. There was a woman there on her face weeping and wailing before the tomb – until her cell phone rang. She stood up and immediately answered the phone normally, as if she were standing in line at the grocery store. She spoke for a moment, ended the call and fell back onto her face wailing once more.

I like the angel’s words to the Marys. "The place is empty – no on your way." God does not want us wasting time manufacturing emotions like tourists at "holy" sites. The message of the empty tomb is the exact opposite: "He’s ALIVE! GO! Stop worshipping the grave and spread His Message to the living."

Chapter-a-Day Mark 15

Pilate asked again, "Aren’t you going to answer anything? That’s quite a list of accusations." Still, he said nothing. Pilate was impressed, really impressed. Mark 15:4-5 (TM)

As I was reading through Matthew and Mark these past weeks, it strikes me that there is a theme that runs consistently through these biographies: there was something about Jesus that people sensed when they were around him. Pilate was impressed enough in Jesus to go out of his way to try and release him, even when Jesus just stood there silent. The crowds sensed something different in him, far different than the other teachers of the law and rabbis. His own enemies readily admitted to his face that he was a person of integrity, not pandering to his followers or caring about public opinion.

It makes me think about what others sense when they are around me. Do they sense the presence of God? Do they, though they can’t put a finger on it, sense something different? I would hope so. I would hope that they would smell the aroma of Christ, as Paul puts it.

I hope to positively stink with God’s love today.

Chapter-a-Day Mark 14

A young man was following along. All he had on was a bedsheet. Some of the men grabbed him but he got away, running off naked, leaving them holding the sheet. Mark 14:51-52 (TM)

Tradition says that this streaker was a young John Mark, the author of the Gospel of Mark. It’s one of those little trivial details in scripture and it gave me a chuckle this morning. It’s a "guy" thing, I guess. I would have to imagine that it wasn’t funny at the time, but I’d dare to bet that after the joy of the resurrection settled in and the terror of that night faded, Peter and the boys gave him a lot of friendly ribbing about it. We tend to think of the apostles as these serious, hyper-spiritualized icons. Come on, these were salt-of-the-earth fishermen and worldly-wise guys. You know they would have had a good laugh thinking about Mark, butt naked – trying to make his way home.