Wednesday is Relay-supervision day, and as part of our all-together-time we discuss a chapter of a book that we’re currently reading. So far this year we have read:
We all loved this one. And:
We all did not love this one.
And now we’re reading this:
So far, Sam and Phoebe are enjoying it. I’ve already read it, and loved it, but sadly appear to have lost my copy (if I lent it to you, please tell me – and give it back!), so will have to either find it, or buy another one before next time.
Of Lovers and Whores is part of a sermon series that Burroughs did on the book of Hosea, and since Hosea is in my top 3 favourite books of the Bible (anyone want to guess the other two?), it’s no surprise that I’d be a fan of JB’s thoughts on it, particularly since Of Lovers and Whores focusses in on my favourite chapter (chapter 2), and, in today’s section, my favourite verse (verse 14):
“Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
and bring her into the wilderness,
and speak tenderly to her.”
It’s the therefore that gets me every time.
The previous verses have just gone about how awful Israel has been: she was God’s lover, but she’d behaved like a whore. She’d sold herself to idols, abandoned her good and generous husband, and gone after rubbish, worthless gods, even going so far as to thinking that all of the good things that God gave her were payment for her services from those idols. It’s an absolutely horrible picture of Israel (and of me), and expected response from God is judgement and punishment.
But that isn’t what she gets, and it isn’t what I get. Rather, God welcomes back, but not grudgingly, like we might expect. The verse is not, ‘even though Israel has played the whore, I will allure her’ or ‘despite the fact that Israel has played the whore, I will allure her’.
God says: ‘Because Israel has played the whore, I will allure her’.
Because. Because I am a whore, God chases me down and brings me back, because he loves me and wants me to be his. Wow.
In summary: good news.