So I decided I wanted to read Habakkuk. I chose it because I came across a passage that was interesting to me and it was another short book. I like the feeling of accomplishment in knowing I read an entire book of the Bible. Nevermind it only has 3 chapters. That’s irrelevant. However, as I began to read the first chapter I wondered if this was the approach I was going to take all year…..just randomly choosing books based on their length. I figured there has to be a better way.
Then I recalled that the Bible’s books are categorized. The first five books, for example, are the law. They have this in common. The first four books of the NT are the gospels. I knew Habakkuk was considered one of the minor prophets. Therefore, I reasoned I should read all the minor prophets at one time rather than skipping around. I figure I will be able to notice common themes and ideas much more easily that way.
So I backtracked and I decided to start with the first of the minor prophets, Hosea. I researched why these books are called minor prophets. I figured poor Nahum and Obadiah and the other 10 might have had their feelings hurt being called minor. The least I could do is find out why. Turns out, these books are called minor prophets because they are shorter than their counterparts, the …… you guessed it…..major prophets.
Let me just say now that I’ve read the first chapter of Hosea, it is far from minor. This book is kicking my tail. First we have to start with names. And not just any names…..there’s no John or David or anything “normal” here. We have to go with the much more exotic Uzziah, Hezekiah, and Jeroboam. However, those names don’t hold a candle to the names of the kids of Hosea’s wife…..but I’ll get to that.
It’s not everyday you hear sermons on Hosea. Now I know why. It’s not exactly the most politically correct book. When in the 2nd sentence you start throwing around words like prostitute, or in other translations, whoredom…..well, let’s just say that gets a reader’s attention.
This first chapter is not warm and fuzzy. Take my focus verse for today, Hosea 1:6, “She conceived again and bore a daughter. And the Lord said to him, ‘Call her name No Mercy, for I will no more have mercy on the house of Israel, to forgive them at all.'” Ouch. That is not a picture of God I’m really comfortable with. And what a horrible name. Can you imagine the teasing she got? But the names of these children in this chapter are being used to show God’s relationship with the nations of Israel and Judah.
Sometimes I guess God has just had enough. While his mercy and forgiveness, when we ask for it, knows no end…..it’s when we don’t want it or feel like we don’t need it that his patience must grow thin.
I’m eager to read the following chapters as I know that even when God shows anger, it doesn’t last forever.