Summary: How God blessed and continues to bless the not so ordinary, including You.
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
It is always a blessing to be invited to preach in another church. I especially enjoy coming back to Peace Lutheran and seeing my friends, brothers and sisters in Christ, that I don’t get to see nearly often enough and to see how the church continues to grow in numbers and in spirit.
This past winter, I had the privilege to return to my old hometown of Sycamore, IL. My old congregation invited me to come back and preach at the 125th anniversary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. John.
This was a church founded by my great-grandfather and four other German immigrants.
What a joy it was to stand in the pulpit of the church where I was baptized and confirmed. To look out and see the faces of old friends and family in a church that had served as foundation of my Lutheran education.
And what a great text I had to preach on that day. The anniversary theme and the title of my sermon that day were based on the wonderful words from the book of Hebrews: “Jesus Christ, is the same yesterday, today and forever.”
On that day I was able to trace the history of St. John’s from it’s humble beginnings to the days of my youth and to the present day and to encourage the congregation to continue it’s efforts……to preach and teach the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
When Pastor Greg asked if I would be able to come and serve at Peace during his vacation, I was excited. Now, I have to be honest, I didn’t immediately look at the lessons for the day and start to prepare my sermon.
I knew that I would more than likely look at the lessons for the day and make a decision on either the Epistle of Gospel text and go from there.
After last weeks services were over, on Monday night, I pulled out the church planner and looked at the lessons for the week.
I read them and my first thoughts were, “Great! I have a prophet, an adulterous, an idolater and a tax collector. How can I establish a connection between that group and Peace’s congregation?”
But, with your permission and the help of the Holy Spirit, let’s take a look at these lessons and see how God worked in the lives of these people.
One of the things that has always fascinated me is how smart God is.
Have you ever noticed how God, when He knows that we’re just not getting it, always brings it down to a level that perhaps we can understand.
Jesus did this same thing while he was going about his ministry here on earth. When he would be trying to make a point to his disciples and others who followed him, when he would be explaining the truth about the Law or telling them about the kingdom of God, there’s no doubt that often times he would look out and see nothing but a blank stare.
Jesus response was always, “Well, let me tell you this parable.” He would make his point in a language that everyone could understand. He would put it in the vernacular of the day. He would talk about planting and harvesting and fishing.
In our first lesson, the OT lesson from Hosea, God is doing the same thing.
In fact, the whole book of the prophet Hosea is God’s method of speaking to the people of Israel in a language they can understand.
If you’re not familiar with the book of Hosea, let me give you a brief synopsis.
Hosea was a called messenger of God. A prophet. The first thing that God told him to do was to go get married and to have children.
So Hosea did. He married a woman named Gomer. Doesn’t sound too strange up to this point, but Gomer was different. She was an adulterous. God knew it and so did Hosea. But that was what God wanted so that’s what Hosea did.
And as God is wont to do, He even told Hosea what the names of the children were to be.
The first child was a son and his name was Jezreel. Jezreel in Hebrew means “God scatters.”
Then they had another child, this time a little girl and God said name her LO-RU HAMAH.
Lo-Ruhamah in Hebrew means, “not loved.”
Finally they had another little boy. This little guys name was LO-AMMI which means, “not my people.”
What God was doing through the prophet Hosea, his wife and his children, was painting a very vivid picture of His (God’s) relationship with the nation of Israel.
God has chosen them to be His people. He had, in effect, taken them as His bride.