Connecting Hosea to 1 Peter

Our focus passage for the week takes a look at the connection between Hosea and the book of 1 Peter, but if you are not following along with those, here’s a short summary. Peter quotes lines from the prophet when he is addressing the believers–both Jew and Gentile. He makes the bold assertion that they are now part of the people of God, brought in by his mercy to the family of faith, not based on blood, but on their being chosen in Christ. When he writes that those who were once not God’s people and who did not receive mercy are now God’s people and have received mercy, Peter is grafting believer’s into the history of Israel, assigning to them the words that had been first used to speak of God’s people in Hosea.

Especially for those Gentiles who had been kept at a distance before Christ came, this would have been an overwhelming affirmation of their place within the Kingdom of God. They are made to be God’s people and have been chosen to be a royal priesthood so that they may all declare the praises of God, who has saved us from the darkness (v9). To be brought in from the darkness into the light, to be made a people who were once not a people, to be called priests who were once pagans, is a great reversal and a humbling work of God for which he is to receive all praise.

Intro to Hosea and a Plug for Study Bibles

We begin a whole new genre this week with our first Minor Prophet. We read Hosea, which is tied for most chapters along with Zechariah at 14. I find refreshing my memory with some brief introductions is always helpful with these books of the Bible, which brings me to why I like study Bibles.

Being a pastor it is my job to keep Christian publishers in work by buying lots of Bibles. I have a great number in my possession that have either been bought by or for me over the years. I have several translations, sizes, and even languages. When I was a student I really valued portability because I lived out of my bag and always wanted to have a Bible with me without having to carry around so many extra pounds. I mentioned earlier in the year that the Bible I’m mainly using for our Year in the Bible is one that has sizable borders for taking notes. Beyond that I’ve really enjoyed my old, trusty NIV Study Bible. If you don’t have some version of a study Bible, I highly recommend it.

These are the ones that include all sorts of notes on the text with cross references and commentary, they provide cultural and contextual notes, and they even include pictures and diagrams. And as I mentioned earlier, they give introductions to each book of the Bible.

So take this as a plug for getting your own study Bible. Here is an introduction taken from the NIV Study Bible, published on Biblica.com, to give you A) helpful information as we start Hosea and B) a preview of what you get with study Bibles:

biblica.com/niv/study-bible/hosea/

Year in the Bible, Quarter 2, Week 9: Questioning Information Overload

I have read two interesting reports recently, one about the extremely high number of words that we read in a day, and the other about how we’re trying to squeeze more tv into more parts of our day.

The first article is article from the BBC which looks at a study from UC San Diego. It states, “An average US citizen on an average day, it says, consumes 100,500 words, whether that be email, messages on social networks, searching websites or anywhere else digitally.” I’m not sure if you’re aware–but that’s a lot of words. You’re reading a book a day at that clip.

But to where is all that reading being directed? Do we read short 140 character tweets and short one-sentence facebook posts? Is it countless articles from news sites? Do we devote a good portion of our those 100,000 words to God’s Word? It isn’t to say that we shouldn’t read anything else, but where are our priorities?

It seems like this word count is pretty impressive with how busy we seem to be, but even given our tight schedules, this other article was surprising, and you see why just in its title, How We’re Finding More Time to Watch TV. The author, Dorothy Pomerantz, takes a look at how new forms of media, like online videos, aren’t necessarily replacing more traditional television watching, rather they are coming in addition to TV. The author writes, “online video isn’t cannibalizing broadcast TV, it’s cannibalizing our non-screen time.” Traditional TV isn’t as much under attack as dinner time is. Again, it prompts us to ask about our priorities? All this technology at our finger tips along with some of the greatest minds of our day come together to work so that we can watch TV on the bus? Is that what we really hunger for? Maybe we need to go on an information diet.

This week we move along into week 9 of Year in the Bible, and I humbly offer you some words to read as part of your 100,000 per day.* We’ll read all of Hosea and 1 Peter, as well as some Psalms. Those first two fit very nicely together, and I hope that their pairing helps in your appreciation of these texts.

*Sorry, I just took almost 400 of them right now!

Romans, David, and Love for Enemies

The Death of Absalom, Gustav Dore

This week I read our Old Testament passages first before moving into the New, so by the time I read Romans, parts of 2 Samuel kept coming to mind. One part especially struck me from Romans 12 in the way we are to relate to our enemies.

David was by no means a perfect man, but he did display character unlike those around him. Starting back in 1 Samuel David has had many enemies, such as Saul, Abner, and Absalom. To these so-called enemies, David showed great respect and grace. In chapter 19 he is criticized for showing too much grief at the death of Absalom, who was his son, and his military commander complains and says David loves those who hate him.

But Romans 12 teaches us to bless those who persecute us and not to repay evil with evil. We are to love those who hate us. This certainly must be one of the most difficult commands placed upon us. We wish it could just stop at not repaying evil with evil. Couldn’t we just turn the other cheek and move along? Can’t I just walk away? To most such actions are commendable. But we’re called to do more.

It is too easy to support and encourage a perspective that views others as enemies (and not in a way to help target who we should love). We want a foil, a villain, an antagonist–someone or something to compare ourselves to and come out looking good. We’d rather demonize the enemy than sacrifice for their sake and show them love. This is not the way of the Christian.

Christ shows us a greater way, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” When we were enemies, God showed his love for us in sending Jesus Christ.

We won’t be able to match his demonstration of love, but one simple way we could start is to hold our tongues when it comes to labeling others as ‘enemy.’

The Nourishment of Scripture

If you’re looking for a genie in a bottle, you will be disappointed. The Bible isn’t a magic book of ancient wisdom; it’s a book about life and about God’s love for you.

This is from the beginning of a post at the website Biblegateway, which is a great site for reading and searching through the Bible, and it goes on to say what the Bible is and how we should find our nourishment there. The author, Brian Hardin, writes about how we seek fulfillment and satisfaction in all sorts of worldly pleasures, but they will ultimately fail. Only the Bible shows us what truly satisfies.

Read it in its entirety here: The Benefits and Blessings of Reading Scripture (Biblegateway.com)

Whose Orders Do We Follow?

There is a soldier under the command of David who has gone out seeking to fight back against the opposing forces under Absalom. As he leaves he hears David mention that Absalom is to be protected. So when this soldier finds Absalom trapped and vulnerable to attack, he passes over him. When he gets back to his superior, Joab, and has an exchange that goes like this:

2 Samuel 18

And Absalom happened to meet the servants of David. Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a great oak, and his head caught fast in the oak, and he was suspended between heaven and earth, while the mule that was under him went on. 10 And a certain man saw it and told Joab, “Behold, I saw Absalom hanging in an oak.” 11 Joab said to the man who told him, “What, you saw him! Why then did you not strike him there to the ground? I would have been glad to give you ten pieces of silver and a belt.” 12 But the man said to Joab, “Even if I felt in my hand the weight of a thousand pieces of silver, I would not reach out my hand against the king’s son, for in our hearing the king commanded you and Abishai and Ittai, ‘For my sake protect the young man Absalom.’ 13 On the other hand, if I had dealt treacherously against his life (and there is nothing hidden from the king), then you yourself would have stood aloof.”

This soldier stands between two commands from two commanders. Even though he must have felt pressure to kill the enemy of David, he was more compelled to be obedient to him. He stands up to Joab, disregards his offers of money, and even draws to his attention the fact that David gave his command to protect Absalom in the presence of Joab.

At times we may stand between two opposing commands, but we should follow the lead of this unnamed man. Even in his dangerous position, he heeds the higher calling. We should recognize that the orders of our higher commander, of our Lord, should be what we obey over and sometimes against all other authorities.

Chronology of David

Having been through two books that follow much of David’s life, I wanted to find a resource that helped to take all the information and organize it. So I found this brief chronology of his life, and I think it should help. It’ll also come in handy once we get to 1 & 2 Kings and 1 & 2 Chronicles next quarter.*

Found at riverwoodchurchofchrist.org taken from the work of William H. Gross. Click for full-size.

*We go through Kings and Chronicles in what I’ll be calling the History Blitz… It’ll be a bit crazy.

What do we do with primetime now that the Olympics are gone?

If you haven’t realized it yet, the olympics are over. It dominated for weeks and then poof, it is gone, leaving many with an olympic sized whole in their evenings. There seemed to be non-stop coverage across the NBC family of networks, morning to night, and as quickly as it came, it has left only to return in four more years.

So what now? If you were one of the millions to be swept up in the whirlwind of sports, personal interest stories, and drama, what will you do with your time now? Can you capitalize on that opening and fill it with something worthy of your evenings? Or will you passively allow anything else to pour into those primetime hours?

London 2012 – Closing Ceremonies/Spectacle

I think it is a great time to recommit to our readings. If you’ve fallen behind, think about the hours spent watching the olympics and how easily you could now catch up if you approached the word with the same commitment many have had following the medal count and watching all the events they could.

I bet many folks could evaluate how many hours were spent watching the olympics and then come to the conclusion, “where did I find the time?” If you fit that description, then that is more support to the idea that we make time for the things we value. So then, let’s value time spent before God and seize this opening. Don’t allow yourself to easily find a new habit and routine that has no space for studying God’s Word. Make primetime a time to read, pray, and grow.