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Hosea & Gomer
by John Piper

The old man and his wife sat by
The winter fire and looked out high
Above the plains of Ephraim,
And saw around the last regime
Of Israel the shadows snake
Their way from east to west and take
Possession of Samaria.
“How long until Assyria,’
They thought, “would break Hoshea’s rod,
And violate the wife of God?”

But strange as it may seem, the doom
They saw across the land left room
For hope. And when they looked into
Each other’s eyes, as they would do
At night, they knew, as none could know
But they, that God would bend his bow
Against the charms of foreign men,
And take his faithless wife again.
They knew it could and would be done,
As surely as the rising sun
Drives darkness back unerringly,
And drowns it in the western sea.
They knew, because they had rehearsed
The tragedy and played it first
Themselves with passion and deceit.

“It’s true that life is far more sweet,”
Hosea thought, “when it is lost,
Then bought again at dreadful cost;
And love grows strong when it must wait,
And deep when it is almost hate.”

Such things as these he often said
To Gomer as they watched the red
And crimson echoes of the sky
Descend Mount Tabor’s cliffs and die
In darkness far below. And she
Would say to him, “Your love for me
Was like a mountain waterfall,
And I the jagged stone. Of all
The knives and hammers once applied
None made me smooth or clean. They tried,
But harlotry was in my blood,
Until your love became a flood
Cascading over my crude life
And kept me as your only wife.”

They knew as none but they could know
What it would mean that long ago
The Lord allowed his love to swell,
And married faithless Israel.

The passing of the years now found
The children grown and gathered ’round
This night: Jezreel and Loammi,
Hosea’s sons, and at his knee
Loruhamah. The room was sweet
With memories, and each replete
With pleasure and with ample pain.
Among the memories one main
Experience above the rest
Embraced them all. It was the best;
Indeed it was the mountain spring
Of every happy stream from which
The family ever drank, and rich
With hope. It was Hosea’s love.
The children stood in wonder of
The way he loved, and Gomer too.
But this had not always been true.

Hosea used to say, “It’s hard
To be a seer, and prophet bard.
The price is high when he must sing
A song of ruin over everything
In lyrics written with his life
And lose his children and his wife.”

And so it was, Hosea heard
The Lord. It was the strangest word
A holy prophet ever got:
And every pointed precept shot
Like arrows at Hosea’s life:
“Go take a harlot for your wife,”
Thus says the Lord, “And feel with me
The grief and pain of harlotry.
Her father’s name is Diblaim;
He makes fertility with cream
And raisin cakes. He will not see
Her go without a price, for she
Has brought him profits from her trade.
Now go, and let her price be paid;
And bring her back and let her bear
Your son. Call him Jezreel. For there
Is coming soon a day when I
Will strike and break the bloody thigh
Of Jehu’s brutal house, and seal
With blood the valley of Jezreel.

And after that, though she’s defiled.
Go in, and get another child,
And make your tender face like rock.
Call her Loruahmah and lock
Your heart against all sympathy:
`Not pitied’ is her name. No plea
From faithless Israel will wake
My sympathy till I forsake
My daughter in the wilderness.

Now multiply once more distress:
Hosea, go beget a son,
For there is yet one child to shun,
And call him Loammi, in shame,
For `Not My People’ is his name.”

Hosea used to walk along
The Jordan rim and sing the song
His father Beeri used to sing.
Sometimes the tune and truth would bring
Him peace, and he would pause and look
At all the turns the Jordan took,
To make its way down to the sea,
And he would chant from memory:

Think not, my son, that God’s great river
Of love flows simply to the sea,
He aims not straight, but to deliver
The wayward soul like you and me.
Follow the current where it goes,
With love and grace it ever flows.

The years went by, the children grew,
The river bent and Gomer knew
A dozen men. And finally
She left and traveled to the sea,
And sold herself to foreign priests
Who made the children serve at feasts
Until they had no shame.
And then
The God of grace came down again,
And said, “Hosea, go, embrace
Your wife beside the sea. And place
Your hand with blessing on the head
Of Loammi, and raise the dead
Loruhamah to life in me,
And tell Jezreel that I will be
For him a seed of hope to sow
In righteousness. Hosea, go,
The gracious river bends once more.”

And so the prophet loved these four
Again, and sought them by the sea,
And bought them with the equity
Of everything he owned.
That was
The memory tonight, because
Hosea loved beyond the way
Of mortal man. What man would say,
“Love grows more strong when it must wait,
And deeper when it’s almost hate.”

Jezreel spoke softly for the rest,
“Father, once more let us be blessed.
What were the words from long ago
That gave you strength to love us so?
Would you please bless us with your rhyme,
And sing it for us one more time?”

“Think not, my son, that God’s great river
Of love flows simply to the sea,
He aims not straight, but to deliver
The wayward soul like you and me.
Follow the current where it goes.
With love and grace it ever flows.”

“And children,” Gomer said with tears,
“Mark this, the miracle of years.”
She looked Hosea in the face
And said, “Hosea, man of grace,
Dark harlotry was in my blood,
Until your love became a flood
Cascading over my crude life
And kept me as your only wife.
I love the very ground you trod,
And most of all I love your God.”

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Next Tuesday.  Keep praying!

I’m sorry I’ve not updated you on this week’s visit until now…

I think it was a good meeting.  I didn’t get to read the “Should You Believe the Trinity” booklet they gave me, because I had family come into town and was so caught up in the other, much longer book, “What Does the Bible Really Teach”

Doesn’t that just creep you out?!?

Anyway…  I also wanted to get away from discussing the Trinity and the Diety of Christ.  I wanted to (very sweetly and gently) rattle them, if I could, and get them to question the Watchtower.

They came in and had a seat (I got my sweet little kiddos, who were FABULOUS, occupied in different rooms) and I picked up the above book as they asked how my week had been, etc.  We had polite, friendly chatter about the weeks goings-on and I fiddled with that book, chomping at the bit and praying fervently that I would honor God and that it would be all about Him… begging Him to make these women see.  We all know how passionate and emotional I can be… just on a daily basis *blush*… but after reading their booklet… I’ve been SEETHING… heart-pounding… blood-pressure rising… head-swimming… ANGRY!  I prayed that God would calm me… quiet me with His love *happy sigh* and that if NOTHING ELSE HAPPENED, I would get to read scripture out loud.  I didn’t care if it was geneology!  I just wanted to read the word of God out loud to these women.  The seed is the Word!

After our polite chit-chat (which lasted less than two minutes), they asked if I  had been able to read “What is the Truth about God” (the first chapter in the book).  I wanted to scream, but I didn’t.  The Truth about God.  Oh!  Father!!!  Reveal Yourself to these sweet women!  My heart groans, still, thinking of it!  Why me?  Why have You so sweetly cultivated (and continue to cultivate) a personal relationship with me?  I am so unworthy… but SO HAPPY!  YOU are the desire of my heart, God.  Woo Bessie and Brenda with your Truth as You have me! 

I told them that I had nearly read the entire book.  Shocked, they asked what I thought.

“You know, this is a great book,” I said. 

They smiled at me, a hint of startled amazement in their eyes… perhaps hope for a new convert.

“Really, this is very good.  It’s a great story.  The verses you use to back it up are great.  It’s so happy and worry-free.  I have nothing to fear.  Even if I don’t believe, I just cease to exist.  That’s really pretty great!  Separating myself from everything I believe to be true, I had no problems with anything in this book until I picked up the Word of God.”  Picking up my bible, I continued, “See, your book is by a man- or a team of men. THIS book is God’s Word.  So, to be responsible- and your book challenges me to be responsible and get the facts- I’ve GOT to read this book you gave me in light of the whole counsel of SCRIPTURE.”

They nodded in agreement.

“That’s where I ran into a big snaffu.  The verses your book cites are snippets, taken out of context and sometimes not even accurate translations of Greek and Hebrew.”

I continued to cite examples.

We ended up talking about hell for a long time.  I got to read a good bit of Luke 16, several psalms, Revelations 20, a lot of Genesis… I was happy to be reading ANYTHING from God’s Word out loud!  Yay!  They brought up “works of righteousness” and I got SO excited!!!  But when I wanted to really dig, they switched back to death… I was able to talk to them about God’s holiness, righteousness, and justice.  They only wanted to speak of His mercy.  But how do we know mercy and really appreciate it unless we know what we are being saved from?!?  I told them that ceasing to exist was no problem for me.  I didn’t need to be saved from that.  It wouldn’t be dreadful at all.  We went on and on.  I got tired, but remembered what God had given me in 2 Corninthians 4.  He is SOOOOOO good!  Y’all!!!  Wow!  Why is He so nice to us!?!  Why does He come sweeping in with tenderness and words of encouragement…  *happy sigh*  He’s always giving… but to think that we exist for Him!  I like how Piper put it in one of his sermons “We exist to make Christ look good.”  Of course, He doesn’t need us to make Himself look good… this statement is about our purpose.  Yikes!  What a standard!  TO MAKE HIM LOOK GOOD!  How I fail!!!  But I digress…

I can’t remember exactly how it came up now, but I read ALL of Romans 6- which is fun.  My sweet Father let me read 2 Corinthians 4:1-6 out loud… I wish I could have continued through the rest of it!!!  I MUST this next Tuesday… there are lots of juicy morsels!

The whole time, they had their Reasoning with the Scriptures book out.  grrrr…

We talked about some of the Watchtower’s prophecies that had not come to pass… things that they prophesied in the Creator’s name.

Brenda said, “Isn’t it better that people were looking for Christ than if they just went on about their lives.”

I replied, “The BIBLE tells us to look for Him… it is specific in telling us that we don’t know when He’ll come… not 1914… not 1975… but to ALWAYS look… .  Open up to Deuteronomy with me real quick.”

I then read Deuteronomy 18:20-21 and challenged them to question their leaders.  They are following men who are false prophets.  They disagreed with nothing to back them but emotion and comments about persecution.   I prayed in my heart!

Before we knew it, almost two hours had passed and my sweet kiddos needed feeding and Brenda and Bessie had to get going, too.

On the way out, I said, “Oh!  I forgot!  Read to me what your bible says in Isaiah 44:6.  (I knew what it said, because I looked at www.watctower.org– they have an online NWT).

Bessie:  “This is what Jehovah has said, the King of Israel and the Repurchaser of him, Jehovah of armies, ‘I am the first and I am the last, and besides me there is no God.

Me:  “Okay, one more time.”

Bessie: “This is what Jehovah has said, the King of Israel and the Repurchaser of him…”

Me:  “Who id the Repurchaser?”

Brenda and Bessie in unison:  “Jesus Christ”

Me:  “Okay,  sorry… wanted to be sure we both had the same idea.  Start from the beginning again.”

Bessie: ““This is what Jehovah has said, the King of Israel and the Repurchaser of him, Jehovah of armies…”

Me:  “There!”  (pleading, inclined to her, my heart LONGING, my eyes IMPLORING)  “Your version says it.  The Redeemer/Repurchaser is Jehovah.”

Brenda (visibly rattled, but smiling sweetly):  “Wait, we spoke too fast.  We’re human, too.  The Repurchaser is God, not Jesus Christ.”

Me:  “No.  No.”  Shaking my head and praying in my heart to the Redeemer. “You were right the first time because Jesus Christ is the Repurchaser and He is God.”

Bessie:  “Well we have to go.  We’ll look this over and talk to you next time.  Is Tuesday good?”

Me:  (a bit sad, but trying to be upbeat) “Tuesday would be great.”

Brenda:  (hugging me) You are so sweet.

Waves all around… goodbyes…

Please, friends!  Keep praying with me!!!

Great Jehovah, mighty Lord,
Vast and boundless is Thy Word;
King of kings, from shore to shore
Thou shalt reign forevermore.

Jew and Gentile, bond and free,
All shall yet be one in Thee;
All confess Messiah’s Name,
All His wondrous love proclaim.

From her night shall China wake,
Afric’s sons their chains shall break;
Egypt, where Thy people trod,
Shall adore and praise our God.

India’s groves of palms so fair
Shall resound with praise and prayer;
Ceylon’s isle with joy shall sing,
Glory be to Christ our King.

North and South shall own Thy sway;
East and West Thy voice obey;
Crowns and thrones before Thee fall,
King of kings and Lord of all.

Fanny Crosby

 

Amen!

©PortCityPrincess 2007
All Rights Reserved

I’ll never understand how He saw a piece of clay and said “I want it, I’ll use it”
The greatest mystery is that somehow, in spite of me,
He said “I’m gonna love you”
He took me in His arms said “This child belongs to me”,
He placed me in His kingdom, Now I live like royalty
It’s not because of what I am, not because of what I’ve done,
It’s because of Whose I am

I’ll never understand, while I was yet a slave,
He said He’d buy me. He’d save me.
He clothed himself in flesh, became the final sacrifice
so I could know redemption
He took the stripes upon His back so that I could walk in health,
Then He broke the chains of death now I can live forevermore,
It’s not because of what I am, not because of what I’ve done,
It’s because of Whose I am

My Father is Lord of everything from here beyond forever
He’s given me His name, said if I’d ask anything
He’d gladly give it,
He put a robe upon my back, placed a ring upon my hand,
Said the riches of heaven were all mine
It’s not because of what I am, not because of what I’ve done,
It’s because of Whose I am.

It’s not because of what I am, not because of what I’ve done,
But its because He first loved me. His grace has set me free.
His blood is flowing through my veins. I’m adopted by The King.
It’s because of Whose I am.

 

 Hmmmm… I just LOVE it!  I’ve been looking for this for AGES, getting ready for our lesson tomorrow… I only have a grainy Wayne Watson rendition on an old cassette tape… can’t find the lyrics ANYWHERE… so if I’ve got them wrong… feel free to comment and correct!

©PortCityPrincess 2007
All Rights Reserved

I LOVE singing to my babies, and while I’m a TERRIBLE singer (my friends, who have joined us for our evening “routines”  will confirm that for you), the kiddies seem to enjoy it.  Today, I sang and rocked and rocked and sang for what seemed like ages before their nap when I began, “O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing.”

At the end, I was very bothered that it just seemed incomplete… there is SO MUCH MORE TO SING ABOUT!!! (Thus the need for a thousand tongues, of course).

I just KNEW, though, that Charles Wesley had more to gush about!  He gets goosey about his King!!!  So, with the babes tucked cozily into their beds, I neglected all of my domestic duties and began to hunt.

Shame on you, Hymnal people!!!  Who edits these things?  Shame, Baptist Hymnal and Convention Press!!!

Read silently, first… paying close attention to punctuation: 

Glory to God, and praise and love
Be ever, ever given,
By saints below and saints above,
The church in earth and heaven.

On this glad day the glorious Sun
Of Righteousness arose;
On my benighted soul He shone
And filled it with repose.

Sudden expired the legal strife,
’Twas then I ceased to grieve;
My second, real, living life
I then began to live.

Then with my heart I first believed,
Believed with faith divine,
Power with the Holy Ghost received
To call the Savior mine.

I felt my Lord’s atoning blood
Close to my soul applied;
Me, me He loved, the Son of God,
For me, for me He died!

I found and owned His promise true,
Ascertained of my part,
My pardon passed in heaven I knew
When written on my heart.

O for a thousand tongues to sing
My great (orig. dear) Redeemer’s praise,
The glories of my God and King,
The triumphs of his grace!

My gracious Master and my God,
Assist me to proclaim,
To spread through all the earth abroad
The honors of Thy name.

Jesus! The name that charms our fears,
That bids our sorrows cease;
‘Tis music in the sinner’s ears,
‘Tis life, and health, and peace.

He breaks the power of canceled sin,
He sets the prisoner free;
His blood can make the foulest clean,
His blood availed for me.

He speaks, and, listening to his voice,
New life the dead receive,
The mournful, broken hearts rejoice,
The humble poor believe.

Hear Him, ye deaf, His praise, ye dumb,
Your loosened tongues employ;
Ye blind, behold your Savior come,
And leap, ye lame, for joy.

Look unto Him, ye nations, own
Your God, ye fallen race;
Look, and be saved through faith alone,
Be justified by grace.

See all your sins on Jesus laid:
The Lamb of God was slain,
His soul was once an offering made
For every soul of man.

Harlots and publicans and thieves
In holy triumph join!
Saved is the sinner that believes
From crimes as great as mine.

Murderers and all ye hellish crew
Ye sons of lust and pride,
Believe the Savior died for you;
For me the Savior died.

Awake from guilty nature’s sleep,
And Christ shall give you light,
Cast all your sins into the deep,
And wash the Æthiop white.

With me, your chief, ye then shall know,
Shall feel your sins forgiven;
Anticipate your heaven below,
And own that love is heaven.

NOW…  read it OUT LOUD (still being strict with the punctuation)!

AWESOME, isn’t it?!? 

Don’t you LOVE your SAVIOR!?!

NOW… SING IT!!!

*happy sigh*

Geaux Charles Wesley! 

Oh to have a heart like his… and to be able to let it flow through a pen the way he did!!!

©PortCityPrincess 2007
All Rights Reserved