Lenten Scripture Reflection | Thursday: Psalm 39; Hosea 8.1-14; Mark 4.1-34

From: Sarah Haig

I'm both taken by and perplexed by the simile of Israel among the nations, "like a vessel in which no one delights." (Hosea 8:8) 

Is this a drinking vessel, like the coffee mug that I never choose because it's cracked and has an ugly faded palm tree and is a memento of a trip I really didn't want to take? In its harlotry, is Israel like the vessel that we wish we liked, but never use, but we can't bring ourselves to throw it away? (And God never throws Israel—or us—away, but restores the vessel to beauty and purpose.) 

Or is this vessel a ship? When I'm in a harbor, I play "choose" with all the boats on moorings—which one would I gladly take home. I love the graceful lines and proportional design of the wooden sailboats. Is Israel the clunky boat with barnacles on the hull, rigging all akimbo, seagulls squatting on the deck? In its harlotry, is Israel missing out on speed and wind and salt spray and the delight of risk and adventure? (And God restores Israel—and us—to the discipline of order and readiness, to the anticipation of delight in being used for His purpose.) 

I'm thinking about my harlotry and the Lord's restoration, and the grace of his delight in us. 

I delight in books, boats, ballet, Boston creme donuts, and Bach. This Scripture reflection is brought to you by the letter B.