Hosea is one of my favorite books of the Bible. Hosea is madly in love only to be betrayed before an ultimate reunion with his beloved. He sees the rhythms of his life as the rhythm of Israel’s life with Yahweh. He is the first to apply the symbolism of marriage to the Yahweh-Israel relationship. Religion and spirituality is all about relationships.
Hosea started his prophetic mission in a time of prosperity but things were heading south. Assyria was on the rise and Hosea’s Northern Kingdom was on military alert. In order to stave off the Assyrian threat, the kings tried making treaties with Egypt.
As usual, the people had sinned and had roamed far away from Torah just like Hosea’s unfaithful wife. Hosea is calling to repentance. Israel’s iniquity is summarized:
Assyria will not save us,
nor shall we have horses to mount;
We shall say no more, ‘Our god,’
to the work of our hands;
for in you the orphan finds compassion.”
Military strength—horses to mount—will not save Israel. (What would Hosea say if he were prophesying in America today?) Alliances with foreign powers like Egypt will not save them and Assyria will conquer them and dominate them. Finally, worshipping the Baal fertility gods will not save them—they will no longer trust in the works of their hands meaning idols to other gods.
We attend the Wednesday night Taizé service at St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church in Titusville. It is a nice way to end the day with Taizé chants and silent meditation after a reflection on a biblical theme. Two of the chants for this week’s service summarize what Hosea was telling the people:
In God alone my soul can find rest and peace
In God, my peace and joy
Only in God my soul can find its rest
Find its rest and peace.
Listen to it on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=glQv3Ra4KrE).
Lord hear my prayer, O Lord hear my prayer.
When I call, answer me.
Lord hear my prayer.
O Lord hear my prayer, O Lord hear my prayer.
Come and listen to me. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esxQbCjlFYw)
Hosea tells the people that the Lord will hear their call. These chants based on the Psalms tune us in to Hosea’s message. Of course, no worship service would be complete without a chant of praise:
In the Lord I’ll be ever thankful,
In the Lord I will rejoice.
Look to God, do not be afraid;
Lift up your voices, the Lord is near
Lift up your voices, the lord is near. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esxQbCjlFYw)
Have a Taizé blessed day and heed Hosea’s call to trust in God.