Daily Lectionary: Isaiah 5:1-25; 1 Peter 2:1-12
“But you are a CHOSEN RACE, a royal PRIESTHOOD, a HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him Who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY.” (1 Peter 2:9-10)
Peter is inspired to quote here a prophet named Hosea. God called him at first not to actually do much prophesying, but instead to carry out some actions that would speak louder than words. Yahweh instructed him to marry a harlot — a woman known to be unfaithful – whose name was Gomer.
The LORD blessed this seemingly unworkable marriage to show that it was His creation. It wasn’t about how unfaithful Gomer would be, but rather how faithful God could be despite human failings. Marriage is, after all, about what God has joined together (Matthew 19:6). Against all odds, Yahweh produced a fruitful marriage for Hosea and Gomer.
They had a daughter, whom God instructed was to be named Lo-ruhamah, meaning “she has not received mercy.” How sad. Then they had a son, whom God instructed was to be named Lo-ammi, meaning “not my people.” For the LORD was teaching Israel that their unfaithfulness caused them to stray from being His people, and from being with Him to receive His mercy.
Then Yahweh does the unexpected: He tells the Prophet Hosea to proclaim to the men that they are “ammi”, My people, again. He tells him to prophesy to the women that they are “ruhamah”, receiving mercy, again. The LORD has not dealt with Israel according to their unfaithfulness. He has treated them as they had not deserved, according to His faithfulness. “Their unfaithfulness will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it?” (Romans 3:3)
Against all odds, the LORD has done the same thing for you. Your heavenly Father has wed you as His holy bride — the church, to the Heavenly Bridegroom — Jesus. Not that you are worthy. You aren’t. He knows how unfaithful you have been, and sometimes still will be. But He weds you anyway, and produces a fruitful marriage by His Holy Spirit.
This is the same Spirit who presents you as a purified bride to your heavenly Husband. (2 Corinthians 11:2) For the church is made pure as it is washed to wear the white gown of righteousness and holiness in Baptism. He may rightly be called the ”church maker” in that He calls you out of the darkness of sin and death into the marvelous light of the gospel forgiveness of Christ the Crucified. After He calls, He gathers His church around the loving words and works of God in the Divine Service where the Bride of Christ is enlightened and sanctified by His good gifts. In this pure church you are kept forevermore.
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