Living urgently, alertly and appropriately replete in the 21st Century has been the focus of this blog series so far. Thomas, Andy and Joshua have kindly helped us to honestly consider our Christian lifestyles, provoked by Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, and to what extent we’re living with urgency or lethargy, with alertness or sleepiness and with souls well-fed or deficient in even basic, Bible nutrition.
A Complete Waste of Time
Mairi and I have been married for just over three years now so we are by no means marriage experts. Month by month, year by year, we’re working lots of things out as we grow in love, learning to trust Jesus more and more and, rather than trying to figure everything out on our own, continue surrendering to Him as the One Who makes all of this work in the first place!
Back in 2013 in the run-up to getting married, one of the pieces of advice we heard time and time again was that the first year of married life would be the hardest. I understood what the advice was about – i.e. preparing us for the reality of living together and doing life well every day as a couple, rather than only dating and being engaged – but the advice also bugged me because it sounded a lot like the joy and wonder, mystery and celebration of marriage was being reduced to degrees of ‘hardness’ – a fait accompli that we needed to accept that this excitement and joy that we were experiencing was quickly going to be smashed to smithereens by the hard slog that married life actually was.
I didn’t buy that for our marriage and I really hope you don’t either. (more…)
In 2008 I graduated from St.Andrews University with a slightly random degree in Biblical Studies and French. I had spent four years studying several different books of the Bible including their history, authorship, historical and cultural contexts and linguistic challenges that exist with them. (more…)
This is the seventh and final post that I’m going to do on the book of Hosea. But seventh in the series though it may be, I want to treat it as though it is the first and the last.
Layered over the timeless theology of this minor Prophet’s book, and this series, has been a certain amount of poetic thought. I hope it’s been clear; I hope it’s been helpful.
But, in just a few paragraphs, what is the message of Hosea? (more…)
It’s impossible to journey through the book of Hosea in a casual way. You would never slip into your favourite flip flops to start an ascent of Arthur’s Seat and neither can we receive from this book what we’re meant to receive without the serious footwear of meditation and prayer.
There are many lows in this book. Imagine the lows from Hosea’s perspective as he discovers that his wife, Gomer, has been unfaithful to him yet again. Imagine his heart sickness.
But God has also been on display as the One moving behind the scenes and also the One moving the scenes He’s behind. He’s in the grandeur and He’s in the infinitesimal.
Hosea and Ezekiel
Over the last few weeks I’ve been studying the book of Hosea which I’ve likened to a world-class expedition up Mount Everest. As I’ve read and thought, it’s been as though the air has been getting thinner and basic, cognitive movement noticeably harder. (more…)
The book of Hosea is full of a kind of beauty that will take our breath away…if we will let it.
I’m taking Chapter 1 today, solo, just to set the scene, then 2 & 3 together next week and then a couple more posts to cover the remaining 12 chapters. Boom!
- Remember in verse 1, crucially, the context has been set like some kind of historical GPS for us. (More detail here).
- Then verse two begins the first of two prose/narrative sections that act as book ends on the more poetic middle of the book that we’ll come to in another post.
- We’re assured straight away that this is the LORD speaking – as though we needed reminding – bringing to mind 2 Timothy 3:16 that “…all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful…”. This is Hosea speaking but it is the Lord of all creation who is speaking through Him.
In order to speak prophetically to a Nation and to achieve redemption and righteousness for them, God invades, exposes and demands the masculinity of Hosea’s ego, his social and spiritual reputation, his lineage, his peace, his joy, his sanity, his sexual satisfaction and purity and, most ultimately, the emotional bed of his heart.
Letters on a Page
Thinking/praying about the historical, theological and literary contexts of biblical passages is pretty darn important if your hope is to grow in love for God.
Well, have you ever thought why it is that God decided to make the primary medium of His Self-disclosure to us to be through specific details and letters on a page (yes, pixels on a screen) rather than numbers or code of some kind? Or that He even chose to have a Book at all?
Perhaps God chose words because they convey thoughts and personal information which, in turn, hold potential to convey emotion and therefore form relationships?
Numbers can’t do that.
Whatever the reason, I figure that it’s good to start a study by recognising that words forming different styles of literature, as part of this, history and theological motif, are a big deal to God and packed full of meaning.
So, coming to study Hosea needs thought in each of these areas to really delve into its ‘riches’ (Col.3:16), otherwise it’s like buying a top-of-the-range DSLR camera for thousands of pounds and then only using it for selfies! (more…)
We now think it’s all about sex, companionship, equality, inclusion, human ‘rights’, dignity, happiness and an extinct Jurassic, biblically-based theology that’s reduced to being ‘bigoted’ and ‘unloving’. But the Apostle Paul thought it wasn’t about any of these things; he thought it was all about God – all about the Bridegroom Jesus and His bride.
Yes, I’m referring to marriage. (more…)