Thursday, April 23, 2009 – Hosea – Alliances
This prophecy turns up for us at Noontime several times a year and each time it makes an appearance I am again struck by the emotion it evokes. This Book, like no other in scripture, speaks of and to trust and betrayal of the most intimate kind. The bold and breath-taking betrayal of a lover. The fiery and constant passion of a lover. Which alliance do we seek?
The prophet Hosea lived in the northern region of Israel sometime just before the fall of Samaria in 722 B.C.E. during prosperous days when wealth was accumulated on the backs of the poor. The Jewish nation was gathering power, acclaim and goods while they neglected their social and spiritual condition. In short, they were partying hard and ignoring the impending fall which they would not be able to avoid. They had become blind through their own continual corruption, decadence and unjust practices.
Paraphrasing rom the Biblia de América: How do we express our relationship with God? Often through distance, by fixing limits, by establishing rigid boundaries and places where we become planted too firmly and from which we will not grow. The many alliances which Israel had formed with pagan peoples were – rather than making them diverse and open – calling them into the narrow pathways of idol worship. Other things and ideas had become God to them rather than Yahweh himself. They had forgotten their covenant. They had wandered far from home. This, in turn, caused a certain coldness in these people, a hardness of heart, a stiffness of neck . . . a lack of trust in the infinite goodness of God . . . and the budding desire to betray God in their priorities and practices.
We might be these people.
How distant are we from God? How much does he enter into our decisions and alliances?
The unhappy marital experience of the prophet Hosea who marries a prostitute at God’s bidding – something a practicing Jew would never have done on his own – puts God’s experience with us in a profoundly intense context. Here is God calling after us . . . just as Hosea calls after Gomer. Here is God seeing his beloved offering herself to anyone who promises a good time . . . and yet he loves her and forgives her still. How immense and wondrous can this love be? Is the alliance with Hosea one that Gomer seeks and cleaves to or does she betray this awesome love, this awesome God?
We might be Gomer.
How do we express our relationship with God? Are we traitors to his love? Do we laugh in his face when he calls us back? Or do we turn to return to him after stumbling along our wayward paths?
God is always ready . . . willing . . . and waiting . . . for us to turn to him once more. During this Eastertide when the proof of his love is so newly given, we can reply to his call to form an alliance with him before and above and beyond all other alliances. If acquaintances pull us away from God, we must see that they are not our friends. If employers ask us to betray God’s love in anything we do, we must seek other employment. If loved ones bring us to a place where we must lie in order to maintain a bond with them, we must abandon this link to turn back to the one we must not hold at a distance. No thing, no idea, no one can have more importance to us than God; nor can it put distance between us and God. In all we say, and think and do . . . in all of our alliances . . . we must remain faithful to the one who gives us the breath of life . . . for this force, this love is the only faithful lover we will ever find. This one does not betray.
LA BIBLIA DE LA AMÉRICA. 8th. Madrid: La Casa de la Biblia, 1994. Print.