“Is there a balm for the hurting?”

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There is a bluntness, a raggedness, a stumbling staccato to these sentences.
Does the voice belong to Jeremiah or God? We cannot tell.
But since prophets try to express what God is feeling, let’s consider them God’s cries.

“Lost … and found”

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The loss of one sheep or coin doesn’t mean much if you are focused on the 99 or the 9. They are still the bird in the hand, the overwhelming majority, the bulk of what you had, a healthy remainder. The loss is minimal, acceptable, the cost of doing business …

“No longer Slave or Free”

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God says to the house of Israel, “Just like clay in the potter’s hand, so are you.”
It is a rich metaphor, but it does beg the question: What does it look like when those God loves are molded by the divine hand?

“Entertaining Angels”

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So what does mutual love look like? The writer has a whole list of illustrations and exhortations, but the very first is … show hospitality to strangers.

“Once on a Sabbath”

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Who is hurting and half crushed under a heavy load?
Who is in need of freeing … even if it interrupts our holy Sabbath practice?
Who is our Savior calling us to be in this broken and beautiful world?

“Do Not Fear?”

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David Lose writes, “Typically, ‘Do not be afraid,’ is the rhetorical prelude to the announcement of God’s mighty and saving deeds. And it is the starting point and anchor for everything else in this passage. It is God’s good pleasure – God’s intention, plan, and delight – to give you the kingdom!”

“How can I give you up?”

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I don’t know what Hosea thought of God before becoming a prophet. I don’t know if God seemed as distant as an absent father or as demanding as the law or as angry as an enemy. But I expect Hosea’s theology was changed by his marriage to Gomer and by becoming a father to three young children, as well as her later unfaithfulness and his pursuit of her. How could it not?

“Three Names; Maybe Four”

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I want to invite you to use your imaginations – for that is what God does through the prophets. God paints a picture – with a plumb line, or a basket of summer fruit, or an unusual marriage – and invites all those who hear, to really listen, to feel, to imagine.

So imagine what Hosea sets in motion when he does what God asks. Imagine what Gomer might have said in a series of interviews.

“Summer Fruit”

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Amos looks at that fruit, smells its ripeness, and imagines all the hands that have touched it from tree to table and he does not smile, or reassure, or boast. He is a true prophet, called by God from working among flocks and forests, to speak a word that will make people mad!