We sang the gospel song “Wonderful Story of Love” by John M. Driver.
[You may find a beautiful rendition of this song in the second half of the following youtube video beginning at minute position 2:33: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=49fYQtxsvwQ.]
We considered the prophecy of Hosea and its wonderful story of God’s love for his people.
- God is holy.
- God is just.
- God is love.
- God’s love is an expression of his holiness and his justice.
- The knowledge of God, which is fundamental to his love, is relational and not simply intellectual.
- God is the seeking God, the Seeking Savior. He comes looking for us in transformational grace and power.
We considered three poetic expressions of this seeking and transformational grace.
1. Bring Back the Springtime by Kurt Kaiser (1970)
When in the spring, the flowers are blooming bright and fair,
After the gray of winter’s gone.
Once again the lark begins his tuning,
Back in the meadows of my heart.
Lord, make me like that stream that flows so cool and clear
Down from the mountains high above;
I will tell the world the wondrous story
Of the streams that flowed from Calvary.
Lord, to my heart bring back the springtime.
Take away the cold and dark of sin.
And, O return to me, sweet Holy Spirit:
May I warm and tender be again.
2. from The Hound of Heaven by Francis Thompson (1859-1907)
[first and last stanzas of this classic poem describing God’s search for man]
I fled Him down the nights and down the days
I fled Him down the arches of the years
I fled Him down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind, and in the midst of tears
I hid from him, and under running laughter.
Up vistaed hopes I sped and shot precipitated
Adown titanic glooms of chasmed hears
From those strong feet that followed, followed after
But with unhurrying chase and unperturbed pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
They beat, and a Voice beat,
More instant than the feet:
All things betray thee who betrayest me.
All which thy childs mistake fancies as lost,
I have stored for thee at Home.
Rise, clasp my hand, and come.
Halts by me that Footfall.
Is my gloom, after all,
Shade of His hand, outstretched caressingly?
Ah, Fondest, Blindest, Weakest,
I am He whom thou seekest.
Thou dravest Love from thee who dravest Me.
3. from The Everlasting Mercy by John Masefield (1978-1967)
[This is the final stanza of this epic poem which describes the life of Saul Kane, who was “tokened to the devil” but is transformed through the radical power of God’s grace. Here is a description of the beauty of the transformed new heart and mind.]
How swift the summer goes,
Forget-me-not, pink, rose.
The young grass when I started
And now the hay is carted,
And now my song is ended,
And all the summer splended;
The blackbirds’ second brood
Routs beech leaves in the wood;
The pink and rose have speeded,
Forget-me-not has seeded.
Only the winds that blew,
The rain that makes things new,
The earth that hides things old,
And blessings manifold.
O lovely lily clean,
O lily springing green,
O lily bursting white,
Dear lily of delight,
Spring my heart agen
That I may flower to men.
Mark A. Copeland concludes his outline study of Hosea as follows:
1. Hosea presents a picture of God who is certainly desirous of redeeming those He loves
a. Sadly, not many took Hosea’s message seriously
b. I.e., only a remnant of Israel returned after the restoration
What many need to heed is the call of Hosea at the end of his book . . .
Who is wise? Let him understand these things.
Who is prudent? Let him know them.
For the ways of the LORD are right;
The righteous walk in them, But transgressors stumble in them.