Readings for the Week of August 3

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Words for the Week

Readings for August 3

Psalm 107:1-9, 43Hosea 11:1-11Colossians 3:1-11Luke 12:12-21

When reading the Old Testament prophets, readers often get tripped up by the abrasive language. Whether it is in Isaiah, Jeremiah, or Ezekiel, God often appears angry, prepared to execute judgment. In Isaiah and Hosea, the people are described as those who have entered into “whoredom.” Jeremiah uses language that is much rougher than that to make a similar point.

Imagery like this sometimes obscures the greater message of all of the prophets: God’s redemptive love. Because of this, it is critical to push through difficult parts of Scripture. When we hang in there with the text we may notice God’s heart for humankind revealed in verses like:

11:8 How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, O Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I treat you like Zeboiim? My heart recoils within me; my compassion grows warm and tender.
11:9 I will not execute my fierce anger; I will not again destroy Ephraim; for I am God and no mortal, the Holy One in your midst, and I will not come in wrath.

Let your continual mercy, O Lord, cleanse and defend your Church; and, because it cannot continue in safety without your help, protect and govern it always by your goodness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Paul Hill