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Monday, 24 September 2018

What the prophet had to say about love

One could safely say that the recurring theme of the Bible - the story of mankind's search for God, good - is the spirit of the first commandment: there is just one God, divine Spirit, and to worship any other god or to attribute power or authority to any other is like stepping out of the sunshine where the warmth of the rays are no longer felt.

The prophet Hosea knew that playing the harlot with God - any sign of unfaithfulness - forfeits blessings.

Hosea 10: 12, 13 "Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you. Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity; ye have eaten the fruit of lies: because thou didst trust in thy way, in the multitude of thy mighty men." KJV

Hosea 10: 12, 13 "Sow righteousness, reap love. It's time to till the ready earth, it's time to dig in with God, until he arrives with righteousness ripe for harvest. But instead you plowed wicked ways, reaped a crop of evil and ate a salad of lies. You thought you could do it all on your own...." The Message (Eugene H. Peterson)

And yet, God is ever by our side, as the duplicitous Jacob discovered, and as Hosea reminds his listeners (chapter 12):

Hosea 12: 4, 12 "...[Jacob] had power over the angel, and prevailed...And Jacob fled into the country of Syria, and Israel served for a wife, and for a wife he kept sheep. And by the prophet the Lord brought Israel out of Egypt, and by a prophet was he preserved."

Hosea 13: 4-5 "...I am the Lord thy God from the land of Egypt, and thou shalt know no god but me: for there is no saviour beside me. I did know thee in the wilderness, in the land of great drought."

And so, is repeated the lesson of God's unfailing love:

Hosea 14: 5 "I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon....They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon."

Turning to the arms of divine Love, we are nourished and we blossom.

Julie Swannell


Thursday, 13 September 2018

Ishi and harmonious relationships

It was lovely to read Hosea chapters two and three today and let them wash over me, especially chapter 2 verses 16 and 19.

Verse 16 says this:

And it shall be at that day, saith the Lord, that thou shalt call me Ishi; and shalt call me no more Baali.

Verse 19 and 20 say:

and I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies. I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness...

A little research informs us that Ishi means "my husband" while Baali refers to "my Lord,  master, or owner". I think we'd all opt for the first choice! Besides, the name Ishi is rather appealing, don't you think?

Harriet Patchin Botham mentions these names in a remarkably contemporary article entitled "A Purer, Higher Affection and Ideal" in the June 1954 edition of The Christian Science Journal. She writes: "Ishi is symbolic in a higher sense and more nearly approaches a spiritual significance. Christian Science teaches that God is husband to His entire creation."

In referring to the chapter Marriage in Mary Baker Eddy's book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Ms Botham states: "This chapter points out the rules for all harmonious human companionship and relationships."

I love that the Bible has enduring relevance to every age. The assurance that God is a loving God, indeed, divine Love itself - faithful, loving, merciful - is a continuing comfort, a constant and reliable companion.  

Julie Swannell


Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Thomas Leishman and Hosea


Ah! I found that Thomas L. Leishman's Hosea: The Prophet of Love (April 1969, The Christian Science Journal) satisfies my wondering about the harlot question – in simple language. Another article Hosea's Plea for Knowledge of God * (May 1969, The Christian Science Journal) is of great value too. 

There is even an article written with Sunday School teaching in mind – “The Sabbath School Children shall be taught the Scriptures"** (May 20, 1944 Christian Science Sentinel).

Leishman wrote Bible commentary which was published in The Christian Science Journal in the 1960s and 70s. He also published his own story in Why I am a Christian Scientist. A lot of his work can be found on JSH-Online.com As I recall, he was Scottish and a minister of the Church of Scotland, before coming to Christian Science. 

I find that he also wrote The Bible Handbook, which I am thinking would be a good investment.

On reviewing Leishman's list of articles in The Christian Science Journal, I find this could well be used as a detailed and instructive study programme. 

Joyce Voysey

*Ed. I note Leishman's use of the phrase "a constructive approach" when describing Hosea's method of imparting his message.

**Ed. This passage is particularly relevant to our study: "Hosea has been justly described as 'the prophet of love." and the Sunday school teacher's personal study of the relation between this prophet's work and the Gospels, and particularly the Gospel of John, the beloved disciple, provides much that aids him in setting forth Hosea as a living and lovable character, one who went far towards preparing for the concept of God as Love expressed by Christ Jesus, recorded by John, and so beautifully emphasized by Mrs. Eddy."



Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Hosea broadens the OT concept of God


Well Hosea was puzzling me. But I looked him up in Dummelow's Commentary of the Bible, and I am satisfied for the moment.

He tells me that Hosea and Amos mark the beginning of literary, as distinct from purely oral, prophecy. The message was first orally delivered and then written down. No doubt there was more than one sitting to the delivery of the message.

Dummelow also gives an overview of the historical situation at the time. Scanning what he has written, one finds these words: death, anarchy, terror, captivity, assassination, slain, weakness of king, murdered, seized the throne, ravaging, conspiracy, invaded. Anything but a reign of peace with so many seeking to rule. Not exactly the peaceful time of Isaac we are reading about in this week's Christian Science Lesson-Sermon!

Hosea used his own life experience to point out the errors of the Israelites' ways. And “tenderness” stands out as a dominant quality in the man's approach both to his wife's harlot-type ways and those of the Israelites.

About that tenderness, Dummelow says, “Those who imagine that the God of the Old Testament is only a God of justice and wrath might well study this book attentively.” Isn't that great?

He also says that St Paul explains some of Hosea's prophecies as fulfilled in the Christian church. So I must look up those references:

Rom 9:25, 26 “As he saith also in O'see, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved. And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.”

And I Cor 15:55: “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” Paul relates to Hosea 13:14 (in part): O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction.”

Did anyone listen and heed Hosea's message?

Joyce Voysey


Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Online resources for Hosea

There are many online resources for the book of Hosea.

Here are some you may find helpful:

 Biblewise website

The Hosea Love Story (Irving Bible Church)

also articles from the Christian Science periodicals - available in your local Reading Room




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