Finally, an answer to the age-old philosophical question: does God hate anyone? We’re just three verses into the book of Malachi when he divulges that God hates Esau. But this revelation only raises further questions. Is God mad at Esau for trading his birthright to Jacob? Is it because Esau married Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite and Basemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite? Is it simply that he was too hairy? And more importantly, how can a God who is Love possibly hate anyone, much less a grandson of the patriarch Abraham?
It’s another Gratitude Day around here. I chose Psalm 107 for today’s passage because, while most of the psalms that contain some version of the word “thanks” contain it only once, Psalm 107 contains it six: in verses 1, 8, 15, 21, 22, and 31. Let’s type some words about that word and the words around it.
If you read through the Bible, there are at least three major themes that you’re likely to pick up on: 1) God loves human beings. 2) God hates it when human beings are cruel to each other. 3) The Biblical region of Lebanon was well-known for its cedars, whose wood was considered among the highest quality in the ancient world.
Suddenly: narrative! Okay, mostly a monologue from God, but also some narrative. After six chapters of vision, we snap back to earth, where Sharezer and Regemmelech and their companions bring a question to the priests and prophets. They want to know whether to continue weeping and fasting, but God’s response…well, let’s check it out for ourselves.
Let’s talk about Axiom Verge again. Axiom Verge is a retro action-adventure computer game, and one of its weapons is called the Firewall. It launches a short-range bomb which, on impact, erupts in a vertical pillar of flame. Literalism! It’s a play on words, because computers! But God made the same play on words thousands of years ago, long before digital firewalls were even a thing.
Here we are at the end of Hosea, and once again I’m feeling inadequate to the task of wrapping it up. There are still unanswered questions, there are things I didn’t get to say, there are almost certainly points I missed for my own limited perspective and obtuseness. But you gotta finish things and move on, you know? We live long enough, we’ll come back around to Hosea, you and I. We’ll take another pass.
Like me, you may not know much about agriculture firsthand. But there’s one area where I lack experiential knowledge that you may well have it in spades, and that’s being a parent and loving your child. Man! When I put it like that, it sounds super-sad.
The second chapter of Hosea hits the same notes as the first: Israel has prostituted herself to the nations around her, there will be consequences for her infidelity to the Lord, but the Lord will forgive her and bring her back to him. This time around, however, there are also Baals.
The book of Hosea begins with Hosea marrying a prostitute.
I can’t believe we’re already finished with Hebrews. I mean it; despite my familiarity with it, I somehow got it into my head that it had fourteen chapters. But sure enough, here’s the end, from the exhortations to good behavior to the last little bits of theology to the personal notes. It spans two pages in my Bible, and even before I turned the page, I could tell by the tone that the book was wrapping up. There was not going to be another chapter.