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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Monday, September 28, 2020  

Today’s Scripture Reading  |  Hosea 2:16–23

On that day, says the Lord, you will call me, “My husband,” and no longer will you call me, “My Baal.” For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be mentioned by name no more. I will make for you a covenant on that day with the wild animals, the birds of the air, and the creeping things of the ground; and I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land; and I will make you lie down in safety. And I will take you for my wife forever; I will take you for my wife in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love, and in mercy. I will take you for my wife in faithfulness; and you shall know the Lord. On that day I will answer, says the Lord, I will answer the heavens and they shall answer the earth; and the earth shall answer the grain, the wine, and the oil, and they shall answer Jezreel; and I will sow him for myself in the land. And I will have pity on Lo-ruhamah, and I will say to Lo-ammi, “You are my people”; and he shall say, “You are my God.” (NRSV)

I will admit that I do not spend much time with the prophet Hosea. Much of that stems from the way the prophet uses the symbol of a woman or wife to signify the people’s rebelliousness against God and the covenant earlier in this same chapter. I find much of the imagery rather violent, and I am particularly aware of how often people have misused scripture to condone violence against women and wives.

In this part of the chapter, however, we overhear Hosea’s testimony that things were changing again. The rebelliousness and disobedience of God’s people were easing, and God was determined to give them another chance at fidelity to both God and the covenant God had established with them. These verses speak to that second chance. We see that shift most dramatically in verse 23. Now in order to see the shift, we have to know what Loruhamah and Loammi mean. The name Loruhamah means “no pity,” and the name Loammi means “no people.” Therefore, Hosea claims God is saying “I will have pity on No Pity, and I will say to No People, ‘You are my people.’”

Those two sentences illustrate the renewal of the relationship between God and God’s people. God takes what was and restores it. God has pity for the ones who were once declared to not receive any pity, and God again claims as “my people” the ones who felt like they were on their own. Even as I continue to struggle with the symbols used in this particular chapter, I am grateful for a God who never gives up on us and who keeps calling us back again and again.

God, as I begin this day, I pray I might move through these hours with a sense of your presence in my life. Help me to be faithful to who you have created me to be. And when I miss the mark, help me to hear your voice calling my name once again, giving me another shot of living fully as your child. Amen.

Written by Shannon J. Kershner, Pastor

Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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