I have just posted Sunday’s sermon to my podcast. You can listen to it by clicking here or by clicking on the deeply committed sermons link on the right.
This sermon is based on Hosea 11:1-11 and looks at the wonder of God’s grace, that despite being confronted with the depths of human sinfulness, God still chose compassion.
When I read the lectionary readings last week for the first time, I was struck by the contrast between the Old Testament Reading and the readings from the New Testament. I often hear the God of the Old and New Testaments described in very different ways. In the Old Testament, God is wrathful, eager to exercise judgment, and unforgiving… the idea seems to be that you follow the law or else. Whereas the God of the New Testament is often described as full of grace, loving, and almost overly tolerant of our sin… the idea seems to be that we can do no wrong, because God loves us so much and Jesus has already died for our sins.
Now I realize that this is a very superficial summary, but that is a working understanding of the difference between Old and New Testaments that I have often encountered. So, I was very interested in the lectionary readings for last week, which seemed to turn this on its head. The Old Testament reading was about God’s decision to choose compassion in the face of human sin, and the New Testament readings seemed to focus on the need to be faithful as a result of what Jesus has done for us. This was a helpful reminder that Christians believer that God is three, and one. We do not find a radically different God in the Old Testament who was softened up in the New. God’s desire to seek and save the lost is a theme that is woven throughout the Bible, and it is certainly evident in the Old Tesatment book of Hosea.