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Monday, May 25, 2020

Daily Devotion for May 25, 2020

Memorial Day (secular, U.S.)


<i>Jesus and the Samaritan Woman at the Well</i> by Guercino, ca. 1640
Jesus and the Samaritan Woman at the Well, by Guercino, ca. 1640. Hosea’s forgiveness of Gomer (see today’s Scripture) echoes all the way into this New Testament scene (John 4).

Prayers

Scripture

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Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.

Amen.

A wonderful song and show by Casting Crowns. “Who am I, that the eyes that see my sin, would look on me with love and watch me rise again?”




Prayer for the Morning

I  call upon you, O Lord. In the morning you hear me; in the morning I offer you my prayer, watching and waiting.

I lift my heart to you, O Lord, to be strengthened for this day. Be with me in all I do, my God; guide me in all my ways.

I will carry some burdens today; some trials will be mine. So I wait for your help, Lord, lest I stumble and fall.

I will do my work, Father, the work begun by your Son. He lives in me and I in him; may his work today be done.

Amen.

To Love Our Enemies

Lord Christ, you commanded us not to resist an evil person; you have ordered us, instead, to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us. I’m having problems with this one, Lord! Every fiber in my body wants to hate my enemies. When somebody is ugly to me, I am frantic to punish them for it. And not just terrible crimes: I react with hostility to the smallest insult. A disagreement over politics will leave me turning over arguments as I lie awake in bed. A theological quibble can leave me red in the face.

God is love, simple red heart

You have promised us that you will send us a Spirit strong enough to overcome any temptation, if we pray for it. Please, holy God, send me your Holy Spirit in power to help me follow this difficult teaching. No matter whether it is a terrible evil or simply a bit of hurt pride, let me accept, sincerely and completely, your commandment to love and pray for those who persecute me.

In the name of Christ, I pray,

Amen.

Meditation

“For a servant of God to have authority in every sentence he utters, he must first suffer for the message he is to deliver. Without great tribulation, there is no great illumination.”

~ John Sung, 20th-century Chinese evangelist


Benediction

May the Almighty and merciful Lord graciously hear me, pardon and deliver me from all my sins, confirm and strengthen me in all goodness, and bring me to everlasting life; through my Savior, Jesus Christ.

Amen.


Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.



Left - Morning Prayer by Wm. Holman Hunt, ca. 1880
Morning Prayer, by Wm. Holman Hunt, ca. 1880.

Who Created Whom?

You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.

~ Anne Lamott


Blue Latin Cross

Hosea 2:2-4 (ESV)

P

lead with your mother, plead—
for she is not my wife,
and I am not her husband—
that she put away her whoring from her face,
and her adultery from between her breasts;

lest I strip her naked
and make her as in the day she was born,
and make her like a wilderness,
and make her like a parched land,
and kill her with thirst.

Upon her children also I will have no mercy,
because they are children of whoredom.


Notes on the Scripture

Israel after Solomon (18): Hosea
Hosea Marries a Prostitute

Hosea might be the oldest book of prophecy (see chart); scholars debate whether Hosea or Amos came first. They are the only two of the writing prophets who lived and prophesied in the Northern Kingdom. This might partly be due to timing, as Israel fell to Assyria only 28 years after the prophetic writings first started. Hosea began writing in 750 B.C. and Samaria — the capital city of the Kingdom of Israel and the last holdout against the Assyrians — fell in 722 B.C. (Joel might possibly be older than either of them, although it’s unlikely; nobody is sure when he lived.)

Hosea icon
The Prophet Hosea
Duccio di Buoninsegna
ca. 1311

Hosea is one of the more colorful prophetic books, especially the first three chapters. God speaks to Hosea and tells him that he must find a prostitute and marry her! So he weds a prostitute named Gomer; but her old habits win out over her marriage vows, and she continues her promiscuous lifestyle.

She bears him three children, although it is not at all clear whether Hosea is the biological father. The first is a son. God ordains that he be named “Jezreel,” after a valley where many bloody battles are fought; the name symbolizes the battles in which Assyria will wipe out the army of Israel. The second is a daughter named “No Mercy” (Loruhamah in Hebrew) and then another son, who is named “Not My People” (Hebrew Loammi).

So, poor Hosea is forced into a marriage that symbolizes the coming destruction of Israel. The expression “whoring after other gods,” and the general theme that Israel cheats on God like an adulterous spouse, appears throughout the Old Testament. Hosea, by his marriage to Gomer, becomes an actor in a living metaphor of Israel’s apostasy. And the children born of this adultery/idolatry are first, military defeat (Jezreel); second, God’s final exasperation and refusal to hear the cry of the Hebrews (“No Mercy”); and third, His abandonment and severance of His covenant with the ten northern tribes (“Not My People”).

In Chapter 2, as can be seen from today’s Scripture, the children (representing the young generation of Israel) are told to plead with their mother (the older generation) to repent of her marital infidelity, symbolizing the Northern Kingdom’s apostasy.

Hosea divorces Gomer for her infidelity. In Chapter 3, however, he goes and finds her and purchases her for fifteen pieces of silver; and he promises to forgive her if she remains faithful to him. This creates hope that some day God will forgive at least some part of the Hebrew nation.

The Bible contains a difficult ambiguity about God’s ultimate treatment of the Jews. There are indications (in the Pauline epistles and Revelation) that some will yet be forgiven in the last days, either directly by God or through a second chance to accept Christ; and thus it is hard to tell whether or not the first chapters of Hosea are messianic prophecy.





endless knot

Daily Inspiration

“Disputable Matters”

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Today in Daily Prayer


Memory Verse

Romans 14:1: Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters.



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