Summary: A sermon on what is really important in the family of God,
I remember in college, performing in the musical Godspell. In the opening scene we came out onto the stage as the great philosophers and theologians of the day. I was Martin Luther if memory serves me correct. As each person was brought into the light, we gave a little speech on our philosophy and continued to do so as each actor gave his or her speech. Soon the stage was a full of people became loud with conflicting philosophies. Then the actors break into a song all about their babbling called the “Tower of Babble.” The philosophers are then scattered at the coming of John the Baptist and his song Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord.
These philosophers had become so caught up in their own image of God and of their interpretation of Him. Their message became a gaggle of noise, until the message finally had to push its way in.
This week in our scriptures we are asked, So what is it all about? From the scriptures in Hosea we see God’s promise to the illegitimate children of Gomer, all the way to Paul warning of false teachers in the Colossian community. Lastly with the disciples asking Jesus to teach them pray. So what is it all about?
We see one constant theme in all of these situations, God and His promises. God reaffirmed his promise to Abraham in Hosea, with these words of hope, Hosea verses 1:10-11.
But the Israelites will become as numerous as the sands of the sea, which cannot be measured or counted. In the very place where they were told, "You are not my people, they will be told they are "Children of the living God". The Judaeans and Israelites will be reunited and will choose themselves a single head, and will spread far beyond their country,
for great will be the Day of Jezreel!
It is in these words that we see the revelation that not only will the Israelites be restored and multiply, but those of the Gentile nations will be enfolded into the family of the Living God.
The family of Hosea represents the very image of God and his relationship with his people. Hosea spends most of his life living cleaning up the messes and indiscretions of his wife Gomer. She would prostitute herself out to other men. Hosea even had to buy her back on one or two occasion.
Of the three children mentioned of Gomer, only one is believed to have been fathered by Hosea, that being Jezreel. The other two, because of their odd names especially Lo-Ammi which means; you are not my people and I do not exist for you, makes many suspicious of who their father may have been.
In the same way as LoRuhamah and Lo-Ammi, we too cannot track our ancestry back too far. We know that some point we are related to everyone else in the world. In fact, we are a 52nd cousin to at least one person going all the way back to the sons of Noah.
However the point that God is making is that no matter where we have come from, we are all of His creation. He is calling us all back into His Kingdom. So that all His children may be reunited under one Father in Heaven, under his rule, completing the circle from the day of Great Dispersion at the Tower of Babel.
We see already in the time of Paul, which is only 10 to 30 years after Jesus, His teachings and the ideas about Him were being modified by others. In fact, Paul reminds the people of Colossae to:
Make sure that no one captivates you with the empty lure of a "philosophy" of the kind that human beings hand on, based on the principles of this world and not on Christ. (Colossians 2:8 NJB)
The Colossians had lost focus on who they were worshipping. They had become too focused on ceremonies, celebrations, and the philosophies of men to truly devote themselves to the worship of God. They had lost the message of the Gospel in all the ritual.
Paul reminds them that it isn’t ritual that saves them. That the true faith lays in the belief that Jesus Christ died for our sins. More over our worship should be one of thanksgiving, not tied down to a particular way to do it.
In other words, as one of my fellow pastors says, keep the message of the Gospel simple. Do not dwell on all the subtleties. Always remember at the heart of God’s Message and the message of the Gospels are these words;
For this is how God loved the world: He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. For God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but so that through him the world might be saved...(John 3:16-17 NJB)