Hosea: The Holy Habit of Obedience (@longingtobeholy)

"Niederdeutsches Bibelzentrum St. Jürgen 06 2014 13" by Concord - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Niederdeutsches_Bibelzentrum_St._J%C3%BCrgen_06_2014_13.JPG#/media/File:Niederdeutsches_Bibelzentrum_St._J%C3%BCrgen_06_2014_13.JPG

“Niederdeutsches Bibelzentrum St. Jürgen 06 2014 13” by Concord – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Niederdeutsches_Bibelzentrum_St._J%C3%BCrgen_06_2014_13.JPG#/media/File:Niederdeutsches_Bibelzentrum_St._J%C3%BCrgen_06_2014_13.JPG

I know we’re sometimes cautioned against having favourites.  But I have to declare at the outset that, as far as books of the Bible go, Hosea is probably mine.  I couldn’t even say for sure why.  It’s bitter pain, laced with hope.  It encapsulates the devastation caused by disobedience, but speaks also of God’s relentless love and faithfulness in the face of His people’s

The naming of children, such an evocative act in the Old Testament, speaks volumes.  The situation is desperate.  Two of Hosea’s children are called ‘Not-loved’ and ‘Not-my-people’.

And yet there is hope:

In the place where it was said to them, “You are not my people”,

they will be called “children of the living God”.

And this got me thinking about obedience.  One of the vows often taken by those entering monastic orders.  For those entering the consecrated life, obedience is pledged to the abbot or abbess.  But this is a reflection of Christ’s own obedience, and is also to do with a mindset of obedience and submission.  Faithfulness.  Our obedience, fundamentally and finally, must be to God Himself.  The Bible in general, and Hosea in particular, shows the damage that disobedience and unfaithfulness does.  It shows us the judgment that follows disobedience, too:

My God will reject them
because they have not obeyed him;
they will be wanderers among the nations.

Hosea’s path is a hard one.  He must buy back his wife (chapter 3) and is instructed to “Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites…”  This is no mean feat.  This is a call to respond to her unfaithfulness with love.

Do we have a pattern of obedience in our lives?  I know there are plenty of places I fall down on this one.  And that both applies to my online life, and should shape my online interactions.  Am I being obedient to God’s way with what I do online?  And am I responding to failure solely with a condemning spirit, or do I offer grace?

In Hosea, Gomer’s outrageous failure is met and overwhelmed by God’s outrageous grace.  The same offer is open for us.  It is coupled with a call to obedience.

In some ways, obedience is a most straightforward discipline, yet it’s pretty hard to master.

 

Any tips on staying obedient to God in our online lives?

 

And if you’ve got a few minutes to listen to a song that has echoes of Hosea, try Casting Crowns’ Wedding Day.  There’s a sample here, plus the whole thing’s available elsewhere…

About Nick Parish

Nick is a stay at home Dad who’s slowly learning that this fact doesn’t need to be justified by adding things like, ‘I’m writing a book’, and ‘I’m a Special Constable with Derbyshire Police’ (though both these facts are true…) He is heavily outnumbered by girls during term time, living in a boarding school in the Midlands. He grew up (ish) in Pakistan, returning to England at the age of 14. Though he’s happy to think of both places at home, he keeps reminding himself that he’ll never really be home this side of eternity. He is married to Anna, who runs the boarding house in which they live, and they have two boys, Joshua and Luke. He blogs at longingtobeholy.wordpress.com and Tweets @longingtobeholy