Hosea 10:1-3, 7-8, 12; Ps 105: 2-7; Mt 10:1-7
All who seek the face of the LORD will glory in his holy name. No one can seek the face of the LORD from time to time. Such a search takes commitment. Such a commitment must last for a lifetime. Each day the search summons us to sing to God, to sing his praise, and to proclaim his wondrous deeds. We glory in his holy name! Only with whole hearts can we seek the LORD! From the depths of our being we seek him whom our hearts desire. We look to his strength, and we seek to serve him–with the strength he provides. Day in and day out we recall his wondrous deeds the LORD has wrought, his portents, and the judgments he has uttered. For when the LORD speaks, we hear the voice of love and the proclamation of truth. Indeed, we are the descendants of Abraham, the sons of Jacob, of Israel his chosen. He the LORD is our God, and throughout the earth his judgment prevail. It is theses judgments in which now we prevail; it is in these judgments that the LORD reveals his face to us. If our hearts are false, it is time to seek the LORD till he come and rain down justice upon us. To the lost sheep in the house of Israel and even to those among the nations the Lord Jesus sends his apostles to proclaim, “The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Wealth and luxury twist and distort the self-awareness of God’s People, Israel. The more luxuriant the vine Israel becomes the more altars he builds. The more productive his land becomes the more sacred pillars he constructs. In their worship they proclaim faithfulness to the covenant, but in their hearts they are self-deceptive. However, the LORD is not false to his covenant, and He now pays Israel for their guilt. The Prophet Hosea proclaims, “Their heart is false, now they pay for their guilt; God shall break down their altars and destroy their sacred pillars.” On the altars of false religion, they shall not offer their sons in holocaust, and they shall no longer offer their daughters as temple prostitutes, at the sacred pillars. Indeed they have no king. Since they have no fear of the LORD how could any king help them? The king shall disappear like foam upon the waters. Even the high places shall be destroyed, and the thorns and thistles shall overgrow the altars of their false gods. In the despair and fear, they will cry out to the mountains, “Cover us!”…Fall upon us!” Above such cries of despair the prophet Hosea announces good news, “Sow justice, reap the fruit of piety; break up for yourselves a new field, for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain down justice upon you.” Hosea does not give up on Gomer his harlot-wife and the LORD does not give up on Israel his harlot-wife. Just when Israel is about to despair, the LORD sends his prophet to proclaim new hope, a new beginning for his people.
Even during his public ministry, before the glorious witness of the Cross, even before the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the Lord Jesus summoned his Twelve Disciples and sent them forth as the Twelve Apostles. Yet, before one can be sent, he must be called. The Lord Jesus summoned his Twelve and gave them authority to cast out demons and to cure every illness. Such power is the power to serve, not to be served. They received the power to continue the ministry of the Lord Jesus. The Lord never cast out unclean spirits to attract the admiration of the crowd. He never healed the diseased to make people notice him. By his example, the Lord Jesus taught divine compassion to his disciples so that they would exercise a new kind of power among the children of Abraham. Before his Ascension and Enthronement at the right hand of the Father, the Lord sent his new Apostles out to rescue the lost sheep of the house of Israel. They were to avoid pagan territory and even heterodox territory. For this trial period they were to concentrate upon the children of Abraham. After this initial missionary work and after his paschal mystery the Twelve would be fully anointed with the Holy Spirit and ready to go out to all the nations with the same proclamation, “The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.” We, too, have been called to be disciples so that we can be sent out as apostles with the full authority of the Christ and the full anointing of the Holy Spirit, all for the glory of the Father.