The words that came
Fell across the page –
Like little bald trolls.
And they mocked me.
Can you hear me?!
Break through this hush!
Silence is agony.
Lack is too much.
Break through this empty,
Rend! And once desolate
Unleash your voice!
2 When the Lord first spoke through Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea, “Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the Lord.” 3 So he went and took Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son. – Hosea 1:2-3
How could you do that? How could you marry someone knowing that they were going to forget you, commit adultery, break your heart? This is always the question that comes to me when I read this verse. I think it’s the question we’re supposed to ask because, when we keep in mind that Hosea represents the Lord throughout this book, it leads us to the next, greater question: How could the Lord create, make a covenant with, die for us when He knew that every day we would forget Him, commit adultery, break His heart?
Every time we break the covenant (I.e. Disrespect our parents, lose our patience, or anything else that is against God’s law.) we are committing spiritual harlotry. When we forget Him – neglect to come to Him in prayer, neglect to meditate on His word day and night, neglect to cry out to Him in our hurt – we commit spiritual harlotry.
What is the way back into His arms? “Return to the Lord.” He hasn’t gone any where. Just go back to Him. Pray this prayer (paraphrase of the prayer in Hosea 14:2-3):
Take away all our sin,
And receive us graciously
That we may offer the fruit of our lips
Nothing we’ve been running to for help,
can save us.
We’re done trying to do this ourselves.
We’re not going to chase after those things.
We’re done serving and sacrificing to anyone and anything but You.
For in You the lonely finds compassion, mercy, and deep tender love.
What does He say in response? That’s the best part:)
“I will heal their apostasy;
I will love them freely,
for my anger has turned from them.
I will be like the dew to Israel;
he shall blossom like the lily;
he shall take root like the trees of Lebanon;
his shoots shall spread out;
his beauty shall be like the olive,
and his fragrance like Lebanon.
They shall return and dwell beneath my shadow;
they shall flourish like the grain;
they shall blossom like the vine;
their fame shall be like the wine of Lebanon.
O Ephraim, what have I to do with idols?
It is I who answer and look after you.
I am like an evergreen cypress;
from me comes your fruit.”
– Hosea 14:4-8
For a non-native writer like me all positive feedback on blog writing feels like fireworks. I feel fortunate that I have such good friends around the world who follow my blog and leave comments on my posts. There are professional writers and native English-speakers who encourage me in my writing and it feels really wonderful to be noticed by people like them. Just recently I was asked to contribute to a blog called ‘Under A Grey Sky‘ and today my first contribution ‘January in Finland‘ has been published there. It’s well worth taking a look at the author list on the About page and reading also other posts on that blog. No grey skies at the moment here though, just for the last days of January we’ve been enjoying glorious sunny weather with fantastic wintry scenes. So, no complaints on my part!
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We’re looking back. To yesterday. To last year. Because maybe if we can understand the past, we can understand the present. I heard a story today – of negatives found in a barn in France of people long past. Those who found them are shouting out to the world: Does anyone know why this man had a photo taken of the tattoo of the monarchy on his back? Why was another man holding a rag doll?
Simply, does anyone have the answers?
Because maybe if we can understand the simple, perhaps trivial, why’s of those who have past, we can realize with them the why’s of ourselves.
This sticky illustrates a simple but deep principle to literature interpretation: The author produces the text and the text is read by the reader. Around them are layers of context. The author and the text share the same context in the sense that the author’s context bleeds into the text inevitably. The reader has, surrounding him, layers of context – some, perhaps, similar and certainly many different than those which surround the author and infuse the text. This inevitably creates a divide and separates us from the texts true meaning. This leaves us with a question: How do we take down that barrier? Do your best to shed your own context: observe everything; ask questions as much, as simple, and even as silly as a child would who – having no consequential context – seeks one out; and find out everything you can about that context by seeking the answers to the questions you have asked. In questioning the text we flesh out the context of the author and thereby enter into their world. When we arrive, we drop our baggage at the bus stop, remove our shoes, and we understand the earth of another planet.