Whew! First intensive week is over. It was amazing! Today we looked at the entire book of Hosea with Dr. Ellen Davis. We looked at the challenging metaphor that Hosea uses, an unfaithful wife as the image of Israel. The first thing that is important to say about Hosea is that the metaphor is difficult, in some ways very hurtful, and violent. We need to treat this story as the shocking sermon and allegory that it is. One of the reasons that the story persisted in Israel’s memory was that it was both startling but also impactful. So impactful that it is picked up in the New Testament. In addition to the difficulty in the story, it also contains some of the most beautiful intimate poetry of God’s heartacheand love for God’s people….
“Therefore I am now going to allure her;
I will lead her into the wilderness
and speak tenderly to her.
16 “In that day,” declares the Lord,
“you will call me ‘my husband’;
you will no longer call me ‘my master.[d]’
23 I will plant her for myself in the land;
I will show my love to the one I called ‘Not my loved one.[i]’
I will say to those called ‘Not my people,[j]’ ‘You are my people’;
and they will say, ‘You are my God.’”
Notice that the poetry has two relational connections…. You will call me “my husband” a deeply intimate relationship. The New Testament will pick up this metaphor for Jesus as the bridegroom of the church. The second is the connection to fertility and abundance, “I will plant her for myself in the land.” God’s relationship is not just to human beings, but the whole world, the earth and all the rocks, plants, animals and water. We often think of God’s relationship with us, but what about God’s relationship with the rest of God’s creation.
So… I am full! Full of new thoughts and friends. Filled with a spirit of God’s love from my teachers, the books and my classmates. Filled with hope for us as a family of faith and filled with a sense that God continues to nourish us and God’s world with hope.
I’m on a plane tomorrow morning at 8am. Glad to have this week of study. Glad to be heading home to be with you all!