Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Bible Challenge: Day 303

The scriptures read are Hosea 1-2, Psalm 98 and Revelation 22.

Hosea 1. We have seen how the prophets from time to time enact parables. Hosea's whole life, or at least the domestic part, is an enacted parable about God's love for his people.

God commands Hosea to marry a prostitute to dramatize how God loves his unfaithful people. Hosea marries a woman named Gomer and she bears him a child. God tells Hosea to name his firstborn son after the Jezreel valley, site of many a battle and especially Jehu's massacre of people that went far beyond Ahab's descendants. Jezreel also means both "God sows" and "God scatters." So its meaning is ambivalent.

A daughter follows and is named "No Mercy." God's done giving Israel breaks. (Hosea is a prophet to the northern kingdom, Israel.) God has not yet given up on Judah.

A third child, a son, is named "Not My People." God is washing his hands of them. And yet we get an assurance that both Israel and Judah will be one people, God's people again.

Hosea 2. The last two kids' names will be reversed, a sign of their redemption.

God accuses his wife, Israel, of unfaithfulness. He will expose her and her promiscuity with other gods.

And yet he will take her back. He will court and cleanse her. He will forgive and love her again.

Psalm 98. A Scottish metrical psalm based on the first 4 verses of this psalm is wonderfully sung by a Presbyterian choir.

Revelation 22. The old creation is recapitulated in the new with similarities and differences. The newly recreated paradise is a city, not a garden. But within the city is the Tree of Life, the other tree in Eden with desirable fruit. The sea (symbol of chaos) is no more but there is a river, the Water of Life. Night is gone. The light is not the sun but God's glory. Humanity, who were supposed to rule this world for God, will rule it with him. It all comes together in him who is the beginning and end, the be all and end all of the universe.

Unlike the instructions to Daniel to seal his book, Revelation is not to be sealed. It is to be an open secret.

It ends with a litany of "Come." We are invited to come to him who provides the Water of Life. And Jesus is asked to come and bring about this resolution of all things. And the last words are a blessing bestowing God's grace on those who hear and heed this word.

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