‘Take Words’: Hosea 14:1-9

Where in Scripture do you turn for encouragement? How many would give the Old Testament prophets as their answer? I'll wager that many of us would say we find their poetry hard to understand and their words of judgment-wellsomething other than encouraging.

Preaching from the Prophetic Books

When people hear that I visited Amsterdam on a sabbatical from teaching preaching at a theological seminary, they often ask, "Did you go to the red-light district?" I smile and answer, "Yes, I went to church there." On a brisk November morning, my wife and I attended services at the Oude Kirk, the oldest church structure in the city that dates back to the 1500s-the state-approved pleasure district has grown up around it. There we worshipped with a small but proud congregation in a central space within the great unheated building, surrounded by the graves of past generations of worshippers, their flat stone markers serving as the floor. The preacher read the story of Jacob wrestling the man, the whole story from Genesis 32, two times in two different translations. I had learned enough by that time to know what was going on.