16th Sunday after Pentecost
A Lesson in Faithful Love
Text: Hosea 3:1-5
There are messages from the Lord. And then there are messages from the Lord. It was not uncommon for the Lord to use visible and striking symbols with his prophets to reinforce emphatically very important messages. The Israelites were spiritual dullards whose hearts were quickly hardening. They needed all the help they could get so that they could grasp just how sinful they were.
God told the prophet Jeremiah to buy a belt and bury it. When he dug it up and found the belt useless, the message was that because of their sin, Israel would soon be destroyed and become useless. Ezekiel was used as a sign as much as anyone else. He was told by the Lord to eat a scroll. He ate it and it tasted as sweet as honey—a symbol that Ezekiel was to fully digest the Word and message of the Lord. Later the Lord told Ezekiel to make a model of the city of Jerusalem. Ezekiel was to lie tied up next to the city model one day for every year of Israel’s sin. This was a visible prophecy that Jerusalem would be besieged. Later Ezekiel had an even more difficult message to deliver that was prophesied in a more challenging way. The Lord allowed Ezekiel’s dear wife to die, which was to be a symbol of how the Lord was going to allow the dear city of Jerusalem and the dear temple to be destroyed. Extreme sin by the Israelites called for extreme messages from the Lord. The Israelites needed to somehow grasp the gravity of their sin. Read the rest of this entry