Whether it’s the New York Times crossword puzzle or a Rubik’s Cube, what makes a puzzle fun is that you have to work on it, try different combinations, and then get the satisfaction of getting it right. When it comes to connecting with an unreceptive audience, sometimes word puzzles are the best technique to use and the riddle can get under defenses and soften a hardened point of view.
The prophet Hosea faced one of the most hardened audiences anyone has ever faced. His crowd mocked him. said he was crazy, and flocked to other religious leaders who made things a lot simpler and didn’t confront. So as Hosea started to wind down God’s legal argument against his people, Hosea used another word puzzle to try to get under their skin. This puzzle is hard to solve.
“Jacob ran away to the land of Aram; Israel served for a wife and for a wife he took care (of sheep).
By a prophet, the LORD brought Israel up out of Egypt and by a prophet he took care (of Israel).
But Ephraim has bitterly provoked the LORD to anger; the LORD will leave upon his people the guilt of their murderous bloodshed. His Master will turn against them and leave them in disgrace. “ Hosea 12:12-14
To solve this puzzle we have to go back and read the Jacob account when he fled from the anger of his brother (Genesis 28) and also the account when he tended sheep as Laban’s servant to get a wife. Here are some questions you can work on to help make the connections and then tomorrow we can compare how we think Hosea’s puzzle should be solved.
1. In Hosea’s puzzle what two characters both went to a far country to find a wife?
2. How did both these characters do when it came to caring for their wives?
3. According to Hosea what role did a prophet play in bringing Israel out of Egypt?
4. Who was he and how did he take care of Israel?
5. How should Israel have responded?
6. What does any of this have to do with our lives?
LORD, help us learn to track your Story so that we make the right connections and help us recognize that you don’t always make it easy to understand what you’re getting at.
For more from Dave Wyrtzen please visit TruthEncounter.com!