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by davesandel on July 7th, 2022

Thursday, July 7, 2022

            (click here to listen to or read today’s scriptures)


I drew my children in with human cords, with bands of love, but they did not know I was their healer. My heart is overwhelmed, my pity is stirred. I will not give vent to my blazing anger, for I am God and not man, the Holy One present among you. I will not let the flames consume you.

But this God (and not man) frightens many of us more than any man can. We are tricked into believing that God is vengeful and legalistic, or he is inconsistent and unreliable, or he is all-powerful but will not lift a finger to help us. The complaints are endless when it comes to God, and fear ripples through all of them.

In Hosea, God stays in the game with his prophet Hosea as he marries Gomer. They have three children together but then she abandons her family, and eventually chooses to become a prostitute for Baal. From there she becomes enslaved. One day Hosea sees her on the auction block, and buys her back.

And God tells us, this is what I do too!

Though I stooped to feed my child, they did not know that I was their healer.

In Lovelife for Every Married Couple, Ed Wheat shares a paraphrase of the book of Hosea with the couples reading his book. God’s character is just and loving, loving and just. Justice is never really justice if it is not loving.

I was stirred with a sense of deep anticipation. I wandered through the streets.

Soon I was standing in the slave market. It was a place I loathed. Then I saw a priest of Baal lead a woman to the slave block. My heart stood still. It was Gomer. A terrible sight she was to be sure, but it was Gomer. Stark naked she stood on the block. But no man stared in lust. She was broken, haggard, and thin as a wisp of smoke. Her ribs stood out beneath the skin. Her hair was matted and touched with streaks of gray and in her eye was the flash of madness. I wept.

Then softly the voice of God’s love whispered to my heart. I paused, confused. The bidding reached thirteen shekels of silver before I fully understood God’s pur­poses. I bid fifteen shekels of silver. There was a pause. A voice on the edge of the crowd said, “Fifteen shekels and a homer of barley.

“Fifteen shekels, a homer and half of barley,” I cried. The bidding was done.

As I mounted the slave block, a murmur of disbelief surged through the crowd. They knew me and they knew Gomer. They leaned forward in anticipation. Surely I would strike her dead on the spot for her way­wardness. But my heart flowed with love.

I stood in front of Gomer and cried out to the people. “God says to you, ‘Unless Israel remove her adulteries from her, I will strip her as naked as the day that she was born, I will make her like a desert and leave her like a parched land to die of thirst.’ ”

I cried to a merchant at a nearby booth, “Bring that white robe on the end of the rack.”

The four couples I married at Danville Correctional Center yesterday were so different! I read their wedding verse (Colossians 3:12-17) and felt different emotions each time. But always I sensed that God was putting white robes on them, together. He had plans to prosper and not to harm them, together. When they prayed to him together, he would listen to them. His children had become one flesh, and their Father took that seriously.

Lord of hosts, look down from heaven and see: take care of this vine and protect what your right hand has planted.

(Hosea 11, Psalm 80, Mark 1, Matthew 10)

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