July 24th 2022 – “A Passionate God”

Passionate God
2022-07-24 Sunday Service 10:30 AM - “A Passionate God”

Dear all,

This week we are on to another prophet of the doomed northern Kingdom of Samaria, the prophet Hosea. It is a vivid and unusual book. Last week, Amos hammered home the sin of economic injustice and the great polarization of wealth that betrayed God’s intention for his people and so led to social collapse. (Many people today share his concern and worry about a similar outcome.) Tomorrow, the prophet Hosea also warned the ten northern tribes of Israel (Samaria) of coming judgment. But he pointed to an even deeper cause: the conjunction of worship, sex and intimacy. Economic injustice was a manifestation of this deeper malaise. Israel’s sickness was both sexual and religious promiscuity, the one mirroring the other. Prostitution, both physical and spiritual, was rampant and had destroyed the covenanted marriage relationship between God and his people. The goodness and faithfulness of God had been ungratefully rejected by faithless and promiscuous Israel,  who was now to be abandoned to her enemies.

Hosea knew whereof he spoke from bitter experience. Right at the outset of the book, we are told that he was instructed by God to marry Gomer, a prostitute. (It is the only time such happens in the Bible!). Maybe Hosea didn’t quite hear God correctly but, in any case,  it turned his life into an emotional roller coaster that transformed his understanding of God and turned him into a prophet with a distinctive voice. He began to comprehend what it must be like to be God bound in a covenanted marriage to faithless Israel. God’s love for his people was complex, like his own disastrous marriage to Gomer. Later on, the phase. “Israel whoring after other gods” became a cliché among the prophets. But, in the Book of Hosea, the torment and agony of what it meant were real and fresh. How can relationship continue with a partner who is serially unfaithful? What sort of love does it imply?

Order of Service

Call to Worship
Hymn 459: “O servants of God”
Prayer of Adoration
Prayer of Confession
Declaration of Grace and Lord’s Prayer
Responsive reading: Psalm 85
Hosea 1: 1-11
Anthem: “Psaume 85”
Luke 11: 1-13
Hymn: “Lord, rebuke me not in anger”
Sermon: “A Passionate God”
Hymn 696: “In suffering love”
Prayer of Thanksgiving and Intercession
Hymn 371: “Love divine, all loves excelling”
Go now in Peace