Hosea means salvation. The book is a vivid portrayal of God saving us. Joshua’s original name was Hosea. God used him to lead Israel into the promised land, a partial fulfillment of the promise to Abraham. It’d take a lot of work not to see the parallels between Hosea with his wife and God with Israel and ultimately all of humanity in Christ. Hosea writes when both Israeli kingdoms think they’re secure. He mentions four kings of Judah, the southern kingdom (Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah), and only Jeroboam II from the northern kingdom, Israel, even though he’s writing primarily to the northern kingdom. They had six kings during the time those four southern kings reigned, leading to their last king, Hoshea, which is the same name as Hoshea. That could be a dig at the northern kingdom, saying those kings aren’t as important since they aren’t from David’s line. Maybe he’s just saying the message goes to Jeroboam II and all of the kings who would follow. The Southern Kingdom had many kings follow the ones he listed, ultimately ending with Jesus. As I wrote yesterday, I imagine it was a difficult time for a prophet to write. Both kingdoms thought they were doing well. A message of doom may have been laughed off. But it was the “word of the Lord which was revealed to Hosea” so he had no real choice. We have a word from the Lord during our times to share. We don’t really have a choice. We have to share the gospel. It’s not the easiest time to do so and many in America are so prosperous they don’t recognize their need. Many think themselves too smart. It’s not necessarily easy, but it’s still the task the Lord has given us.
Paul was talking about his more pioneering missions, but now talks about going to Jerusalem where Christianity began (I realize Jesus was born in Bethlehem and lived in Nazareth, but the resurrection happened in Jerusalem). I was praying on my ride into work this morning about a man in our church I wanted to see involved in more missional activity. While we should all be involved missionally, I was reminded during that prayer time that this man is already serving as a Sunday school teacher and is a leader in other areas of the church where he is gifted and passionate. All of us have different gifts. Of course he, and all, should live missionally wherever they go, but I shouldn’t expect people to be involved in every project the church does. We are not all the same. Paul was sent to the Gentiles but had a passion for Israel. He was a pioneer but served at times in Jerusalem. He served where sent. As I consider what the Lord might have for me throughout my life, I must remember that it will not always look the same. I have already seen the Lord change my passions and ministry trajectory and He might do it again. Sometimes I may serve in places that I never would have considered or might not be as excited about. Only God knows the plan. Mine is to follow. Paul also expected the Gentiles to give to the poor believers in Jerusalem, partly out of gratitude for taking the gospel to them in the first place. The community is expanded beyond a local church to the universal Church. All are to have all in common. That is part of what I like about how TSBC is serving Mt. Olive and the Christ Church. That is living out this passage by helping believers who are presently more needy for the sake of the Kingdom instead of just focusing on building our own congregation. We got a taste of that with our Passion Week events as well when several churches in the area came together. Finally, Paul shows his dedication to the Romans and his love for them, letting them know that he does intend to visit them. He has talked about how he longs to see them, but he also has a lot of churches to visit and new ones to establish. Given that he couldn’t just hop on a flight, his missionary journeys took a lot of time. I am sure that was a comfort and excitement to the Roman readers.
The bus drivers slept in our room last night. I had to crank up the music on the iPhone to drown it out. It made the morning a little more complicated, too, as there were 2 more people to get showered, but we had plenty of extra time planned for travel. We got everything cleaned up and loaded up, then said our final goodbyes to the missionaries. We had a great time with them and will certainly miss them. May the Lord continue to bless their ministry and them, using them to advance His Kingdom in Haiti!
We just about left Alison behind (oops), but Krista noticed, thankfully. I am sure we would have figured it out soon enough. Choose your bathroom timing wisely, I guess. The trip over the mountain was much quicker since the driver drove faster and there was less traffic. Some people got a little queazy around the turns, but it was nice to have a shorter ride. That shorter ride gave us a longer time to wait in the airport, though. The time went fairly quickly considering it was 5 hours. We had lunch, played games, checked Facebook, surfed the web on free wifi (nice), chatted, and watched movies. We were certainly glad to finally board the plane.
I got an exit seat again. It makes the flights so much better. The flight to Miami was uneventful. I talked a little bit with a couple of guys around me who had just finished a construction project in Haiti. One of them seemed reluctant to refer to it is a mission trip or being church related, but his brother filled me in. I pray that he will not fear, but be proud to serve the Lord as par tot His Church!
Oh, how we enjoyed Wendy’s in Miami! Small Frosty, caesar salad, and chicken breast sandwich. We had tried to get switched to the Birmingham flight, but they wouldn’t let us on standby and the change fee was $419. No big deal, just a little later evening. Another exit row and a very empty plane made for easy travel. We played some games, watched part of a movie, and landed in no time.
I was so happy to see Judith again! I missed her and our little baby so much. I just like having her near me in whatever I am doing. We made the drive home fairly quickly, thanked the Lord for a great trip, and made our way to the house by around 2AM. Goodnight.