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During Hosea’s time, there was political, economical, social and religious strife in the country of Israel. Hosea lived in the tragic final days of the northern kingdom of Israel. During this time there were six kings within twenty-five years; four were murdered, one was captured in battle and only one was succeeded on the throne by his son. The nation was rife with economic abuses that separated the rich and the poor. “Israel was so impressed with material advances that it failed to take account the eternal verities of the Covenant upon which Israel’s existence was predicated. Judgment, righteousness, brotherhood, and even God were forgotten in the light of diplomatic expediencies (Layman’s 8-9).” There was a war with Judah and heavy tribute to Assdyria depleted economic resources. The richer class intensified and along the way they exploited peasants to pay for their debts (New, 200). People were resorting to fraud and cheating. The religion of Israel was rooted in the strong heritage of the Canaanite religion. Yahweh was the primary God but there were also other Gods being worshipped, such as Veneration of the Canaanite deities El, Baal, and perhaps even the goddess Asherah (New 201). The woman’s bible Commentary pointed out the thought that Gomer may have been a cultic prostitute associated with one of the religions being practice during the time of Hosea. These conditions are very similar to the ones we are experiencing in our own day. We face economic problems and just in the past ten or so years there has been a dramatic increase in the gap between rich and poor. The rich are becoming richer and the poor are becoming poorer. There is a focus on one religion here in the Untied Sates of America, that being Christianity. It is also common to hear of someone who worships another God or is another religion. I think that in any society there is the group that is the majority and there are always the exceptions. The majority rules whether they know it or not and just like the rich had power in Hosea’s time, the rich has the power now. The government is made up of the rich and they are ruling our country. Hosea makes his name on the list by being one of the only writing prophets who actually had his abode in Israel. Sources indicate that Hosea lived around 747 B.C.E.W.X Y.Z. At this time King Jeroboam had just died. This lead to a toggle of the Kings supremacy with a upshot of bedlam, disorder, pandemonium, madness, violence, perplexity, upheaval, and murder. Wholly affected by all this is Hosea personal life. His family, social status, and occupation where all the sum of the catalyst transformation of the government. If we where neighbors I we would most likely have to many things to do and burn in the day to have the time to talk to one another. I would probably be busy throwing rocks and Hosea preaching about Gods heartbrokenness at the sin and ruin of his people. In Hosea 1: 1-3 the analogy of the Hosea/Gomer relationship and the God/Israel relationship is made known. This brings us to realize the first theme that Hosea has to offer and he begins to emphasize this theme after his own struggling. This theme is that God feels about Isearl as Hosea’s relationship to his slut wife, Gomer. God is a God of long suffering, patience, and love. As I read Hosea I saw theme come up over and over as Hosea suffered, endured and loved Gomer and his family no matter what they did to hurt him. Hosea 3:1 states, “The lord said to me, ‘Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the Loved Israelites, though they turn to other gods.’” It must have been so hard and taken so much love to forgive his wife and learned to be with her again after all she had done to him. That theme is advantageous, especially to remind us that God is a God of love. Perhaps Hillary Clinton could use Hosea’s message and theme to try and understand her slut of a husband. Another theme of Hosea is that religion is an inward spiritual activity, it is in the heart and the way to express your religion is through example of what you do. I saw this theme when Hosea states in the latter part of verse 5:4, “ A spirit of prostitution is in their heart; they do not acknowledge the lord.” If the Lord is in our heart, it shows through our actions. If the Lord is not in our heart, we have turned him away and it shows. Hosea was trying to say that if the Lord would have been in the hearts of the Israelites then they wouldn’t have acted like they did. If the inward hearts would have been ones of love then the outward actions would have been one of love. Hosea also calls out against worshipping false idols. He wants the people to worship one God, not material things or sinful activities. That is another theme that could relate so closely to the way society is today. We are so wrapped up in material things. Even if we consider ourselves Christians we still can find ourselves being concerned with such unimportant things such as clothes of money. It is so frustrating, yet also very human that we can’t learn to use our energy more efficiently putting time and trust into the Lord. “Spirit of longing love runs through his (Hosea’s) prophecies from beginning to end. And that is the message of his sermons-God’s love for Israel (Layman’s 10). If I were ask to speak in chapel, there are many issues that I would want to discuss about our lives as members of a religious community. Because my audience would be full of small town Goshen College students I would address some issues that I think affect them directly. We as Goshen College students are part of society, a society tat is inflicted with immorality, crime and materialism. We are part of a society that spends billions of dollars on weapon that take way lives, lives that should be valued because they are valued in the eyes of God. I would first begin speaking about how we could choose to lead more simple lives. “Breakfast with the master in the morning, feel the cold breeze, brush against a cows leg, mooooo” (Crash Test Dummies). It seem that thinker we call prophets are far to pine and how can they help but drag a species down. It seems to me that many of us claim that we are into simple living (myself included) even though we do participate in many ways materialistic activities and have more than we really need. I would encourage people to join together and realize how lucky we are, and learn to see who we can help others. I would touch base on how feel that God knows what is in our hearts and God can tell if we mean well. I would discuss the feeling of diversion on campus, one that I personally am frustrated with. Overall I would just try to get people to ask themselves, “What would Jesus do in the situation?” when they are faced with strife. I think people would listen to me. I might ramble on too long, but overall it think that I would bring up some really good points. When I think about a contemporary figure who reminds me of Hosea, couple of names pop into my head but none like my mom. She has always loved me no matter what I did. She was still my mom whether I was in jail or in a hospital. She never left me and she loved me unconditionally. This is a direct a glaring contrast to Hosea in the sense that God has faithful love, no mater what. Works Cited Alexander, George M. Handbook of Bibical Personalities. New York: The Seabury Press, 1981. Calvocoressi, Peter. Who’s Who in the Bible. Great Britian: Viking Press, 1987. Myers, Jacob M. Layman’s Bible Commentary. Atalanta: John Knox Press, 1959. New Interpreter’s Bible, v.7. Nashville: Ablingdon Press, 1994. Newsom, Carol A. & Ringe, Sharon H. The Women’s Bible Commentary. Louisville: John Knox Press, 1992 Word Count: 1395

   

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