Created by on 11/20/2013 7:16:16 PM
It rained and it rained and it rained. Piglet told himself that never in all his life, and he was goodness knows how old—three, was it, or four?—never had he seen so much rain. Days and days and days.
Milne, A.A. Winnie the Pooh (New York: E.P. Dutton & Co.) 1954. Page 130.
How should one react to a rainy season in one’s life? If your health is poor, your finances devastated, or your relationships broken, you may find yourself looking out the window at a rainy day and wondering, “When will it finally stop?”
Let’s browse a little, shall we? We may find some refreshment in places we least expect. At first glance the book of Hosea seems a bit strange. It is about a prophet who is commanded by God to marry a prostitute and to have children with her (Hosea 1:2). This illustrates the relationship between God—in a sense, a faithful husband—and the people of Israel—in a sense, an unfaithful wife. What is more, Hosea is asked to redeem his wife, to pay for her and to take her back even after she has committed adultery (3:1). In that age, we know adultery was commonly punished by death, so God’s demands on Hosea seem extraordinary. But the point being made was God’s faithfulness to his unfaithful people. Scholars point this out as a great foreshadowing of events in the New Testament:
A remarkable story, this. A prophet is called to bear a cross, to experience both the suffering heart and the redeeming love of God. With unflinching obedience Hosea drank a bitter cup. His home was his Gethsemane. And in bending to a will not his own, he not only left a most poignant illustration of divine love but helped prepare the way for One who most fully embodied this love.
La Sor, W., Hubbard D., and Bush, F. Old Testament Survey (Grand Rapids, Eerdmans) 1982. Page 339. See also H.H. Rowley, “The Marriage of Hosea” BJRL 39 (1956-7). Page 233.
Surely we too can strive to be faithful. Our Lord deserves our faith. Our friends, families and neighbours of all description deserve faithful love even if we think they are not being faithful to us.
Sometimes the prophets are difficult to read. They are harsh and relentless in their desire to pull Israel back on track. But there are some lines in Hosea that seem to be written as if the writer were speaking in a gentle voice. They do indeed prophesy the resurrection:
Come, let us return to the Lord;
For he has torn us, that he may heal us;
He has struck us down, and he will bind us up.
After two days he will revive us;
on the third day he will raise us up,
that we may live before him.
Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord;
His going out is sure as the dawn;
He will come to us as the showers,
As the spring rains that water the earth.
Hosea 6:1-3. ESV.
“As the spring rains that water the earth.” What a beautiful and powerful image is rain! Water is life-giving and sustaining. Rain falling from the skies is refreshing and renewing. Our parched souls need heavenly rain so that we might be prepared for the glorious sunshine of days ahead. Praise the eternal faithfulness of Almighty God!
In faith and fellowship,