Thursday, January 14, 2016

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

One Body and One Baptism
Hosea 11:1-11

Mathews Thomas

CT Mar Thoma Congregation

1.When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. 2 The more I called them, the more they went from me;

 
The theme of the book of Hosea is  the spiritual adultery of Israel and God's unchanging love. God is  asking Hosea to communicate to Israel the unending love of God through his personal life.  Hosea is asked to marry Gomer, who is a prostitute. God asks him to keep on loving  her even when she was unfaithful and had children through other men. At one point when she was sold as a slave, Hosea has to pay money and buy her back (redeem her back). Like in a marriage, God has entered into a covenantal relationship with Israel. But they have been unfaithful to God by worshipping other gods. This estrangement of Israel is compared to adultery where the faithfulness and obligations to the spouse in marriage is broken. God’s unconditional love is shown through Hosea by marrying, loving and redeeming Gomer amidst her unfaithfulness.
In today's passage, on the one side we find an affectionate and compassionate God, who like a mother, nurtures Israel. The motherly love of God is expressed through the phrases like “loved him, called him out of Egypt, taught him to walk, lifted to the cheeks, bent down and fed… “ Through these expressions Hosea is trying to communicate the intensity of love that God has towards Israel. But on the other hand, while they experience this love, Israel, without recognizing this love, goes astray and keeps on  sacrificing to Bal, offering incense to idols. Rather than the anger, it is the pain of God that is shown here. Israel is to understand that it is the chord of love with which God tries to bind them and make them return to Him.

 
Like an anxious mother, God warns Israel about the impending doom, the Babylonian captivity and Assyrian rule (v.5)  if they do not obey Him. Even then, God because of His enduring love cannot let Israel perish. He will reinstate them.

 
It's a time of  retrospection. Let's recall the love of God that guarded us in the past, the blessings we receive each day and the promise with which we are guided. Let’s introspect and see how unfaithful we are in responding to that love. Let’s turn to God.

PRAYER

Heavenly Father, You loved us and saved us. Even when we were sinners and unfaithful to You, You kept Your promises to us. Pour Your grace on us so that we will love You and be faithful to You. Forgive our trespasses and present us without stain, wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless by the blood of Jesus. Amen.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
 
"Although my memory's fading, I remember two things very clearly: I am a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior.”  ― John Newton, Amazing Grace.