A Study of the Church: The People of God in Context – Day 36

Wilderness experience – the church (the people of God) – day 36

“I will now allure her and bring her into the wilderness,
and there,
I will speak tenderly to her.

There,
I will give her her vineyards
and make the Valley of Achor
a door of hope.”
(Hosea 2:14-15)

Hosea – was the first of the “writing prophets” – those prophets whose speeches were collected and edited as literary documents.

Hosea – wrote mostly speeches critiquing the political, social, and above all, religious life of the Northern Kingdom of Israel in the final days before its conquest and destruction by the Assyrians in 722 BCE.

Hosea – is best known for his metaphors drawn from the natural world, agriculture, and especially kinship structures.

In these verses, Hosea uses romantic imagery to portray God drawing Israel back to God (remember that God is always about reconciling the world back to God’s own self).

It is through a wilderness experience that God will provide transformation, restoration, reconciliation, tenderness, new growth, and hope.

We are living in a wilderness experience even now in 2020. We’ve been forced to be where we are – mostly sheltering-in-place within the confines of our homes. And, while here we have the opportunity to come before God in stillness and with humility open hearts, minds, and souls, so that we, too, can listen, hear, and learn who we are as the people of God – the followers of Jesus Christ – the church, called into being by God in Christ Jesus, in the here and now. We have the opportunity to – in a common phrase – to take stock – that is, really reflect – so that, we, too, can be transformed, restored, and reconciled back to God …
and, so that we, too, can be blessed with new growth and hope.

Today, may we be still before the Lord in our wilderness;
may we listen – truly listen,
truly hear,
and then learn through reflection.

This is step one,
and for today,
it is enough.

 

To God be all glory, honor, and praise. Amen.

 

Rev. Susan Carter Wiggins