This post is from the defunct blog “Dying Church”
I just finished a two-week study of Hosea. If you haven't read this book in a while, you should. The imagery of Hosea's marriage to Gomer is powerful and moving. So is the application to today. Hosea was confronting Israel's unfaithfulness to God. Their crime? Baalism, the worship of Baal. The people hadn't stopped worshipping God. Instead, they incorporated the culture's understanding of God (Baal) into their own worship. They adopted the values and beliefs of the culture while thinking they were still faithful to God. I thought a lot about this over the past week. It seems to me that we face the same danger today – adopting the world's values (materialism, autonomy, power, high regard for beauty, wealth and power) and bringing them into the church. It's so easy to take the world's teachings, add a few verses, and cook up lessons and formulas for today. This is how to live succesfully, this is how to be happy, this is how to have a successful church, etc. Or, we could live by the values of Jesus, which go contrary to everything our culture teaches – that strength is found in weakness, the poor are truly rich but the rich are disadvantaged, that living can only happen when we die to ourselves, that power is best expressed in service, that a cup of cold water offered to a "nobody" could be an act of eternal significance. I think Hosea might have a lot to say to us today.