Day 176: Choosing Eternal Life
Hosea 8:1-14 Israel’s prayers were ineffective due to their failure to embrace God’s laws. Effective prayer presupposes docility to God’s will. The appointment of kings without recourse to God, the fabrication of an idol in the form of a golden calf, and alliances with foreign nations are all egregious manifestations of infidelity to the sacred covenant.
Ch 9:1-17 The prophecy predicts, as a punishment for infidelity, the imminent exile of the people of the Northern Kingdom of Assyria, which took place in the eighth century BC. This passage about “the prophet” likely refers to Hosea himself, who is a type of Christ (TYPOLOGY!!) insofar as he was sent by God but was rejected and abused.
Ch 9:9-17 Gibeah: This is the site of the vengeful near-genocide of the Tribe of Benjamin by the other tribes of Israel following the rape and murder of a concubine (cf. Jgs 19-20).
Baal-peor: This is the name of the Canaanite god and the site of its pagan temple. Israel was, for a time, taken in by this false religion (cf. Nm 25:1-5), which involved cult prostitution.
Gilgal: This is the place where Saul was confirmed as king and coincidentally later lost his throne. The latter instance was punishment for his disobedience of God’s instructions to refrain from taking spoils of battle from the defeated Amalekites (cf. 1 Sm 15:21-33).
Ch 10:1-15 Prosperity, for Israel, had been accompanied by their increasing sinfulness. The “altars” refer to pagan altars of sacrifice, and the “pillars” are the sacred poles that were associated with the Canaanites’ worship of Asherah, the goddess of fertility. The Israelites were called upon to repent from their grievous sins of idolatry.
Psalm 108 Two separate prayer fragments were melded together to form this psalm, and the result is one that praises and extols the love and faithfulness of God. The language of this morning hymn can be seen as Christological: God will be exalted (lifted up, as in his Crucifixion) so his beloved may be delivered (saved, as in redeemed). In the second part of this psalm, the Lord’s sovereignty over the whole world, even over the enemies of Israel, is proclaimed. Though God respects the freedom of every individual, in his infinite wisdom and power, the events of history occur according to his will. In the end, the victory of good over evil is assured. (Cf. St John Paul II, General Audience, May 28, 2003)
I will awake the dawn: It is a highly commendable practice to establish a daily routine for prayer, giving special prominence to prayerful meditation in the morning, which is in itself a cosmic symbol of Christ’s Resurrection. Morning Prayer, or Lauds, is one of the chief hours in the Liturgy of the Hours; “there should be prayer in the morning so that the resurrection of the Lord may thus be celebrated” (General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours, 38). (CCC 2720-2724)
(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)
So in 2 Kings Ch 8 we have the story of Elisha and the Shunammite woman who made another appearance
What a gift that Elisha was a friend of hers and her family
He was able to save her life and preserve their property for 7 years during this time of famine, which is INCREDIBLE
We also have the death of Ben-hadad, the King of Syria
We have the installment of Hazael as the new king of Cereal (Fr. Mike thinks he’s the new king of Cap’n Crunch, but I prefer Cookie Crisp or Fruity Pebbles…..as long as it’s not the new king of Grape Nuts 🤮)
Golly, he’s the new King of SYRIA
We also have a recap of the story of Jehoram, the son of Jehoshaphat, and his reign as King of Judah (SOUTHERN KINGDOM)
Remember, Jehoram was not king very long
He reigned for eight years
His son Ahaziah became king and reigned for only one year
Ahaziah’s mom was ATHALIAH
Remember Ahab and his wife, Jezebel?
She was a bad lady
Athaliah is also bad
Athaliah kills EVERYONE in her family except for the GRANDSON that was able to escape (Something tells me your head is now spinning trying to remember his name and all that went down so go check out Day 168: Wicked Kings for a refresher on “Previously, on the Divided Kingdom" 😉)
By the way, Athaliah’s grandson who survived the massacre was JOASH 😉
Athaliah has a connection to Ahab, king of Israel (NORTHERN KINGDOM)
Joram is the SON OF AHAB (NORTHERN KINGDOM)
Jehoram is the IN-LAW (maybe???? potentially????) of AHAB (NORTHERN KINGDOM)
There is a certain connection between Joram and Jehoram that wasn’t very deep but at the same time, it was there (I HAVE NO IDEA ON GOD’S GREEN EARTH WHAT THIS MEANS!!!! PLEASE PRAY FOR MY SANITY!! MY BRAIN HURTS!!! 🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯 WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?? AAAAAAH!!!!! 😫😫😫)
One of those many times when the King of Israel (NORTHERN KINGDOM) and the King of Judah (SOUTHERN KINGDOM) have COMMON INTERESTS in being AWFUL
Hosea Chs 8-10 covers a few things
There are some things we need to think about when we are listening to the prophets
For the next number of days, we will read Hosea, Amos, Jonah, and Micah
But we will also get around to the MAJOR PROPHETS like Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and other MINOR PROPHETS
All these PROPHETS are always speaking in a PARTICULAR CONTEXT
One of the contexts is this: Here are God’s BLESSINGS that God has given them EVERYTHING they could possibly WANT, EVERYTHING they NEED, and STILL the people have taken God’s BLESSINGS and say, “Oh these are for us! We will give them to FALSE GODS. We will chase after OTHER GODS.”
So we need to put things into their proper context
So here is Hosea speaking to the NORTHERN KINGDOM: “Listen, if you do not turn away from this, if you keep on doing these things, GOD WILL LET YOU GO!!! HE IS GOING TO LET YOU GO!!”
At some point, the story HAS to come to a CONCLUSION
This is the case for EVERY ONE OF OUR LIVES
Yes, God’s faithfulness is INFINITE
Yes, God’s faithfulness is UNENDING
God’s FAITHFULNESS WILL NEVER EVER END
OUR STORY, at some point WILL END
This is NOT God saying, “Ok Israel, that’s enough. I’m SO TIRED of you that I will no longer EVER have MERCY on you. I will no longer FORGIVE you.”
It is saying that in this world, TIME IS FINITE
Eternity is OBVIOUSLY INFINITE
IN THIS WORLD TIME IS FINITE
God is calling us to REPENTANCE
We ONLY have so much time TO REPENT
At some point, THE STORY IS OVER
THE CLOCK RUNS OUT
THE LAST GRAIN OF SAND IN THE HOURGLASS DROPS
The choice that we have MADE is the choice that we GET
Hosea is basically BEGGING the NORTHERN TRIBES OF ISRAEL to REPENT
(FYI, Ephraim is another name for Israel so when Hosea says “Ephraim”, he is talking about the NORTHERN KINGDOM aka ISRAEL)
Hosea is telling them, “God LOVES YOU. And yet, at some point you are going to GET what you have been CHOOSING. What you have been CHOOSING is ANYTHING OTHER THAN GOD and at some point, that is EXACTLY WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO GET. You are going to get ANYTHING OTHER THAN GOD. But that is NOT what God WANTS. But, I have to WARN YOU. At some point, you are going to GET what you have CHOSEN.”
This is the case for EVERY ONE OF US
The PROPHETS’ role in our lives in so many ways is to REMIND us of God’s LOVE FOR US
The PROPHETS' role in our lives is ALSO to remind us that at some point, WE GET WHAT WE HAVE CHOSEN
No matter how POWERFULLY God loves us
No matter how FAITHFULLY God loves us
No matter how UNSTOPPABLY God loves us
AT SOME POINT WE GET WHAT WE HAVE CHOSEN, AND GOD LETS US HAVE IT!!!!
GOD LETS US WALK AWAY FROM HIM WITH WHAT WE HAVE CHOSEN TO HAVE
That is why ALL OF US have been called to LISTEN to the words of the PROPHETS and PUT THEM IN CONTEXT
Not just the Kingdom of Israel (or Ephraim)
Also in OUR OWN LIVES
“Ok God, I have turned away from you. I have not walked in faithfulness. Maybe for the most part I do OK but I am not actually SEEKING YOUR VOICE. I’m not actually SEEKING YOUR HEART. I’m not SEEKING TO DO YOUR WILL.”
In Matthew’s Gospel, Matthew 7:26-27 to be precise, we have Jesus telling the story in the Sermon on the Mount, “And every one who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell; and great was the fall of it.”
Matthew 7:24 “Every one then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.”
EVERY ONE OF US right now is BUILDING SOMETHING
We are building SOME KIND OF LIFE
We are building SOME KIND OF ETERNITY
Are we building it on OURSELVES??
Are we building it on the FALSE GODS OF THIS WORLD??
Are we building it on the things that we LOVE MORE THAN GOD??
Are we building OUR LIVES AND OUR ETERNAL LIVES on the LORD JESUS HIMSELF??
BY DOING HIS WILL?
BY FOLLOWING HIS COMMANDMENTS?
BY REPENTING OF OUR SINS?
BY TURNING TO HIM?
Fr. Mike hopes that is what we are doing
If we are not, then KEEP PRAYING FOR EACH OTHER
That is what we NEED
We do NOT want to spend ETERNITY separated from God
This is GOD’S DESPERATE PLEA
This is GOD’S PURSUIT OF US
So that NONE OF US...
NONE OF US will get to the end of our lives and then realize, “I HAVE BEEN CHOOSING SOMETHING OTHER THAN GOD FOR THIS WHOLE TIME. SO FOR ETERNITY I WILL GET WHAT I HAVE CHOSEN. SOMETHING OTHER THAN GOD.”
PRAY FOR FR. MIKE because he needs to repent ALL THE TIME
Fr. Mike is PRAYING FOR US because we are JUST LIKE FR. MIKE in that way
PRAY FOR EACH OTHER
Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven, thank you so much. Thank you for the gift of yourself and the gift of your Son. Thank you for fighting for us. Vain is the help of the people around us. While we need each other and while we need to lift each other up and fight for one another, with you we shall do bravely. With you we shall do valiantly. And it is you who accomplish all we have done. And it is you who will tread down our foes. Help us to be faithful to you and to be faithful in waiting on you and to be faithful to allow you to show up and to fight for us as you want to fight for us, not as we want to be fought for. Because, Lord, your will surpasses our best laid plans. Your wisdom surpasses our depth of understanding as the ocean surpasses a puddle, Lord God. So we just praise you and we trust you today in Jesus’ name. Amen.”