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May the peace of God reign in this place
and the love of God forever hold you tight,
May the Spirit of God flow through your life
and the joy of God uphold you day and night.

Daily Devotion for August 21, 2014

<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).



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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.


Prayer for This Day

Heavenly Father, let me do my work this day; and if the darkened hours of despair overcome me, may I not forget the strength that comforted me in the desolation of other times. May I still remember the bright hours that found me walking over the silent hills of my childhood, or dreaming on the margin of a quiet river, when a light glowed within me, and I promised my early God to have courage amid the tempests of the changing years.

Spare me from bitterness and from the sharp passions of unguarded moments. May I not forget that poverty and riches are of the spirit. Though the world knows me not, may my thoughts and actions be such as shall keep me friendly with myself.

Lift up my eyes from the earth, and let me not forget the uses of the stars. Forbid that I should judge others lest I condemn myself. Let me not follow the clamor of the world, but walk calmly in my path.

Give me a few friends who will love me for what I am; and keep ever burning before my vagrant steps the kindly light of hope.

And though age and infirmity overtake me, and I come not within sight of the castle of my dreams, teach me still to be thankful for life, and for time's olden memories that are good and sweet; and may the evening's twilight find me gentle still.


Holy Spirit, dove with flame

Prayer of St. Augustine

Look upon me, O Lord, and let all the darkness of my soul vanish before the beams of thy brightness. Fill me with holy love, and open to me the treasures of thy wisdom. All my desire is known unto thee; therefore perfect what thou hast begun, and what thy Spirit has awakened me to ask in prayer.

I seek thy face. Turn thy face unto me and show me thy glory. Then shall my longing be satisfied, and my peace shall be perfect.



[May the darkness of my soul vanish.]

Closing Prayer

And finally, grant me O Lord, I pray, the lamp of charity which never fails, that it may burn in me and shed its light on those around me, and that by its brightness I may share a vision of that holy City, where dwells the true and never-failing Light, Jesus Christ our Lord.


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.

endless knot

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)

Plead 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 (Joel is possible also, but unlikely; nobody is sure when he lived). 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 SamariaSamaria was the capital city of the Kingdom of Israel (the Northern Kingdom) and was the last holdout against the Assyrians. fell in 722 B.C.)

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 MercyThe Hebrew word, and the girl's Hebrew name, is Loruhamah.” and then another son, who is named “Not My PeopleThe Hebrew word, and the boy's Hebrew name, is 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 for mercy (“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.

<i>The Prophet Hosea</i> by Duccio di Buoninsegna, ca. 1311
The Prophet Hosea by Duccio di Buoninsegna, ca. 1311.

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2 Corinthians 12:9: Your grace is sufficient for me, for Your power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

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