Tag Archives: Lesson

Chapter-a-Day Hosea 1

from loren javier via Flickr

When the Lord first began speaking to Israel through Hosea, he said to him, “Go and marry a prostitute, so that some of her children will be conceived in prostitution. This will illustrate how Israel has acted like a prostitute by turning against the Lord and worshiping other gods.” Hosea 1:2 (NLT)

Hosea was written in whacky period of ancient history about 750 years before Christ. After King David and his son Solomon, the small kingdom of Israel had been broken up in a civil war. The southern kingdom was called Judah and their kings followed the lineage of King David. The northern kingdom continued to call themselves Israel and their throne was occupied by anyone who could plot, assassinate or politically maneuver themselves into the position.

There are two things that I love about Hosea. First, God told Hosea to marry a prostitute and I love to imagine how that conversation went over with his parents.

“God told you WHAT??!”

Hosea stands as an eternal reminder that God does not fit inside a box of our own finite  cultural, social or political sensibilities. God is not subject to the limits of our own definition of propriety. In fact, the only limits God fits are those He has ordained for Himself.

Second, I love the way God made Hosea’s very life became an object lesson. His marriage to Gomer became a metaphor for God’s “marriage” to the idolatrous and therefore adulterous nation of Israel. Hosea’s poor children became metaphor’s for God’s message to Israel. The Great Creator as master artist turned Hosea’s life into a work of performance art.

I think God does the same with my life and yours.

How interesting to think of our very own life journeys being a metaphor for what God is doing. It’s why I love history. There are lessons, eternal spiritual lessons, to be learned from each person’s story. A few days ago I asked the question “What’s your story?” Today, I’m asking the same question for a second time with a different twist:

What is the story God is telling through your life?

(Note: Those following along on a chapter-a-day may wonder why we haven’t finished the book of Psalms. Because Psalms is 150 chapters long, I’ve opted to break it up a bit so as not to get fatigued with it. Psalms is broken up into five distinct sections or “books.” The first book ends with Psalm 41 which we walked through yesterday. We’ll pick back up again with the second section in the near future.)

Chapter-a-Day Luke 24

“Remember how he told you when you were still back in Galilee that he had to be handed over to sinners, be killed on a cross, and in three days rise up?” Then they remembered Jesus’ words. Luke 24:6b-7 (MSG)

This past week I wrote about my college age daughter refusing to heed my warning about the weather, and finding herself in a ditch in her new [used] car in the wee hours of a cold, wintery night. I have enjoyed hugging her this week, knowing that she is safe, and have fought the urge to remind her of my words. It would be so easy to say, “I told you so. Why didn’t you listen to my warning and wait until the storm passed?”

As I read today’s chapter I noticed a theme:

  • Angels remind the women at the tomb that Jesus told them exactly what was going to happen. vss. 4-8
  • Jesus, in frustration, reminds the disciples on the road to Emmaus that what happened to him was exactly what the prophets foretold. vs. 25
  • Jesus reminds the disciples that he revealed to them that the scriptures said he must suffer, die and be raised. vs. 45-46

As I read, I thought about my own experience as a father this week, and remembered the countless times my Earthly father and my Heavenly Father could have said “Didn’t I tell you? Weren’t you listening? Don’t you remember what I said?”

We are all just children in the never ending process of growing up. Maturity is revealed in each of us as we remember, via the hard way or the easy way, the lessons we’ve been taught and apply them to our current circumstances.

God, remind me of what I’ve been taught, and the lessons I’ve learned along the way. Give me the wisdom, grace, and maturity to apply those lessons as I walk through my day.

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and jakekrohn

Chapter-a-Day 2 Chronicles 2

Solomon then took a census of all the foreigners living in Israel, using the same census-taking method employed by his father. They numbered 153,600. He assigned 70,000 of them as common laborers, 80,000 to work the quarries in the mountains, and 3,600 as foremen to manage the work crews. 2 Chronicles 2:17-18 (MSG)

In today’s chapter we see King Solomon employing the same census methods for taking count of the “foreigners” living in Israel. Did Solomon not know that his father repented of his actions in taking the census; “trusting statistics instead of God?” Did Solomon realize that there was a heavy cost placed on David and the country for his actions in taking the census? Did Solomon think that he was okay in taking the census because he was doing it for the work of God’s temple, or that it was okay because he wasn’t counting his fellow Israelites? I’m intrigued to think about Solomons reasoning. Was he ignorant, arrogant, or a combination of both?

For all of Solomon’s lauded wisdom, we see in today’s chapter the foreshadowing of a tragic flaw. Solomon did not learn from his father’s mistakes. He will take a census and then he will put all of the non-Israelites to slave labor for the temple and his own palace. This is the first in a chain of events what will ultimately divide the nation and lead to civil war.

Those who don’t learn from history (even family history) are doomed to repeat it.

Chapter-a-Day Isaiah 61

The journey continues. The Spirit of God, the Master, is on me because God anointed me.
He sent me to preach good news to the poor, heal the heartbroken,
Announce freedom to all captives, pardon all prisoners.
God sent me to announce the year of his grace— a celebration of God's destruction of our enemies— and to comfort all who mourn
…. Isaiah 61:1-2 (MSG)

My friend, Kevin, and I have been reading a chapter a day together for several years. If my memory serves me correctly, it's been since the summer of 2003 or 2004. I've been blogging this chapter-a-day journey for over four years now, ever since April 4, 2006 when I posted about Mark 8. Along with the day-to-day thoughts about each chapter, I've also picked up some overarching thoughts and observations. For example, I have to confess that books like Isaiah sometimes feel like they take for ever to wade through. The incessant doom, gloom, and judgment gets a little depressing about twenty chapters in. Then you realize you have forty some chapters to go. Ugh. If you've been following along this whole time, I applaud you. Seriously, if it weren't for my commitment and desire to walk through every chapter of God's Message, I would likely have long since abandoned it for some easier reading in the New Testament.

That leads me to another observation, however. If I had abandoned Isaiah a third of the way in, I would have missed out on some of the most amazing passages of God's Message I've ever read. A journey through the entire Bible is, I must imagine, a lot like running a marathon. Friends who are runners will tell me about stretches of the race in which you "hit the wall" and feel like you can't go on. If you press on through these you find a "runner's high" in which you feel renewed and energized. I think reading's God's message is a lot like that. There are always oasis treasures to be found in midst of the dryest parts.

I also find that the chapter-a-day marathon has given me a renewed appreciation for the incredible story that the whole of God's Message tells. I read this morning's chapter and immediately think of Luke 4, when Jesus uses this very text for his semon in the hometown synagogue. Isaiah is full of amazing prophecies about Jesus. You don't appreciate the prophecy unless you've read the Books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. You don't have a full appreciation for the story of Jesus until you've read the prophecies of Isaiah. They all fit together.

A special thank you to Kevin and to those who've followed along on all or parts of this journey like Wendy, Cindy, Laurie, Jen, Mom and Dad, and Matthew. That's another lesson I've learned, and the final one I'll share this morning. It's great to have companions along the way. It makes the trip far more worthwhile.

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and Jamelah