Week 34 Friday

Unfaithfulness and Redemption

Today’s scripture selection: Hosea 1-7

Key verses: Hosea 1:2

“Go; take to yourself an adulterous wife and children of unfaithfulness, because the land is guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the LORD.”

The prophets had a hard job to do, to say the least.  Often they were called to bring unpopular and unwelcoming messages from God.  And many times they acted out these messages – a sort of dramatic “show and tell” to help get their sermons across.

For Hosea that took on particular and poignant significance.

He was to take to himself a woman whom he, and the LORD, knew would be unfaithful.

But the point would be made.  And just as Hosea loved Gomer, his unfaithful wife, so God would continue to compassionately pursue His unfaithful people.

Where would we be without such grace in our lives?

What if all of our mistakes; all our poor choices sealed our fate without as much as a chance to appeal?

But that is not the God of the Bible.

God often gets a “bum” rap.  By cherry-picking and creatively interpreting the scriptures, particularly those of the Old Testament, God is often portrayed as an old, angry man full of bitterness and wrath.

But I don’t believe in that God.

I believe in a God that, though holy and just and bound to judge accordingly takes no pleasure in doing so.  I believe in the God of second, and third, and fourth chances.  I believe in redemption and hope.

So when I see Hosea reconciled to his wife, despite her unfaithfulness, it reminds me that God is always open to reconciliation as well.

Hosea’s words say it all:

“The LORD said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again….Love her as the LORD loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods…”

That’s real grace.

Prayer: Father, thank you for being the God of second chances.  AMEN.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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