[reaction to OYB’s Dec. 5-8 readings]
This is basically the interlude before we start Revelation. Today’s readings contain all of Hosea. Hosea is unique in that it kicks off with a discussion of Hosea’s personal life. God tells Hosea to, “Go, marry a promiscuous woman and have children with her, for like an adulterous wife this land is guilty of unfaithfulness to the LORD.” He does so, and then names his children after the all the crap that was about to be unleashed on Israel. Much of Hosea is like other prophets, although I would say you get to hope quicker.
The letter of John contain more of the same from the Epistles. That is, don’t be immoral, but don’t hate anyone either. And if you hate someone, you have missed the point of the gospel. We also get to the very short letter of Jude. It comes off a little paranoid with this: [C]ertain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. (1:4) I think it also reveals the tension between leaving the law of Moses, but not wanting to become completely unrestrained. Today, we all know lots of nonreligious people that are moral; then, perhaps it was different.