Archive for December, 2015

I have really appreciated The Gospel According to the Old Testament series. Since I’m preparing to teach on Hosea, it was time to read the volume on Hosea: Love Divine and Unfailing by Michael Barrett.

Based on the previous volumes I had high expectations. Perhaps too high. Perhaps unfairly. But this volume didn’t meet my expectations.

This is a good an helpful book. It was expecting, or hoping for, a great book.

Why I was disappointed may be explained by his comments in the conclusion:

If you picked up this book expecting an expositional commentary, you have been disappointed. … My concern was to put in focus the big picture that will ultimately help us understand the details and grasp the significance of Hosea’s message.

I was hoping for a volume that tracked with the flow of Hosea, particularly since I’m teaching it in that way. I did not expect a commentary since this is not a commentary series. But I wanted it to work through the book. Barrett handled it from a more thematic approach. He said many helpful things, but it was not as “user friendly” for the teacher.

In the first part he focuses on “just the facts” of Hosea. This begins with Hosea as a Messianic Man. Hosea is a shortened form of Joshua (or vice versa) and means “salvation.” Joshua is the Hebrew name translated into Greek as Jesus. Hosea was anointed as a prophet which is a “messianic occupation.” Barrett spends some time explaining the role of the prophet in the life of Israel. He also puts him in his time and place: the northern kingdom during the reign of Jeroboam II.

The second chapter expands on the historical context of Hosea. It was a time of declining power and prosperity. Assyria was gaining strength and was a looming threat that is addressed in the book.

In the third chapter, His Creed, the focus is on Deuteronomy’s influence on what we read. The prophets viewed their circumstances through the covenant and declared the appropriate blessings and curses according to the covenant. Hosea makes no sense if you aren’t familiar with Deuteronomy. Barrett spends some time explaining how the Mosaic covenant points to, anticipates and explains the ministry of Christ.

The second part of the book focuses on his life, particularly his marriage. His marriage to a wayward wife named Gomer was a living sermon intended to reflect God’s marriage to Israel. It is viewed as an analogy. There are points of correspondence, but not complete identity. Barrett points in particular to the exclusivity of relationship. This means that apostasy, or syncretism, is like adultery: Gomer’s adultery in particular.

Christianity parallels the ANE process of marriage. The Father gave a people to the Son to be His Bride. The Son has paid the bride price with His blood. The Spirit establishes the covenant union between the Son and the Church (invisible).

Then Barrett goes into Hosea’s marriage. Hosea was not the only prophets who undertook prophetic or symbolic actions. Some of them were strange, like Isaiah walking around naked and barefoot (Is. 20) to symbolize the coming exile. You have Ezekiel laying on his side all day, cooking over dung, to symbolize the siege upon Jerusalem. In this case Hosea’s whole life became symbolic or prophetic. His marriage and kids pointed Israel (and Judah) to deeper realities.

Sin and rebellion will be met with covenant curses. The northern kingdom hRedemptionad strayed, stepped out on their covenant lord, with other gods and nations. The consequences were coming. But God’s purpose was not to ultimate destroy His people but to bring them back. The third section, The Sermon, lays this all out.

Too often people think of the Mosaic Covenant as grace-less. They are wrong and Barrett explores that gracious element for us. He helps us to understand the role of law in the covenant, not for gaining life but how God’s redeemed people are to live to bring Him glory. He then moves into the (re)new(ed) covenant and some of the ways it is “new and improved” rather than completely new. He also brings in the horrible price to be paid for their rebellion. But rebellion, and misery, is not the final word.

Therefore, as disgusting as Gomer may appear, every Christian must admit the Gomer that is his or her own heart.

Barrett ends with the way home. He talks about the gospel more exhaustively in this chapter. He speaks of repentance. Hosea’s message was not given to take away all their hope but to call Ephraim back from the abyss.

Barrett consistently points out the gospel connections and message to be found in Hosea. There are some exegetical questions that are not discussed sufficiently, particularly the use of “Adam” (8:1). He does have a helpful appendix discussing Matthew’s use of “out of Egypt I called my son”.

While not a book that met my admittedly high expectations, it was a good and helpful book to read as I prepare to teach Hosea. If you are planning on preaching through it, or teaching on it, I would recommend reading this book.

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I can’t remember when we got our first dishwasher growing up. But I remember it was one of those portable ones so we didn’t have to remodel the kitchen. Those were fun. You rolled them over to the sink after dinner and connected it to the faucet to run it. Meanwhile there was the bulky dishwasher blocking well traveled portions of the kitchen.

For many years I didn’t think much about dishwashers. I lived in apartments or rented rooms in houses and a dishwasher was not my concern. How I wish we had one in the brownstone I lived in my final two years of college. My roommates were all engineers and often spent time in the library studying. Even then I hated studying in a library (when you have ADD, leave out the H please, they are not fun places to be. Besides, homework was so much more interesting watching the Celtics play in the height of the Bird years). So I would be home first and would inevitably be met with a sink full of dishes that needed to be cleaned before I could cook my dinner.

Both of my homes had “builders’ specials” when I bought them. I can’t remember the brand in FL, but CavWife and I nicknamed it “The Monsoon” because it was so loud we would have to pause the movie or recorded show at key points in the cycle. We nearly replaced it a number of times but kept thinking, “we might move soon.” We didn’t want to waste our money, and that doesn’t seem to be an “upgrade.” Have you ever checked how loud the dishwasher is when buying a house?

The GE we own now is much quieter even though it is a “builder special”. About 5 and 1/2 years old, it stopped drying the dishes sometime in the last year. You just lose track of these things. I could replace the heated dry elements, but I’m not that handy and could easily see myself with an aching back, hardened heart and cussin’ a blue streak like the father in A Christmas Story. Just not good with kids around.

CavWife has never been pleased with how it cleaned. Despite the fact we have soft water, there were stains in it too. There were some random comments about buying a new one, but nothing serious.

That all changed on Friday.

One of the jokes in our marriage is that I don’t put anything away, and she doesn’t close any doors. I’m seemingly always closing a door- closet doors, cabinet doors etc. She has gotten much better over the years. I’m not so sure I have.

I don’t remember her keeping the dishwasher door open in FL, but at some point it started happening. At some point I started getting annoyed. I recently started trying to keep the door closed. I particularly did this when her parents were visiting recently since I don’t want her mom to fall and break her hip. My comments and actions didn’t produce any change on her part. Perhaps I should have prayed. And fasted. Perhaps this problem only comes out by prayer and fasting.

Friday. I was preparing our lunch and moved to put something in the trash which was behind me to my right, right where the dishwasher is. Forgetting it was open (AGAIN), I snagged my ankle on it while backing up and lost my balance. Apparently I need one of these back up cameras on my posterior.

Falling I reached out to steady myself. Too far from the counter I could only grab the upper rack which buckled under my weight (too much Halloween candy?).

Trying to regain my footing I stepped down. On the open door. It was not meant to support a 190-200 pound man. I proceeded to land on the floor without my head slamming into the oven door. My lower back and butt absorbed most of the blow. My aging, bad lower back and hips. Stunned, I muttered the word Ralphie said that got his mouth washed with soap. Thankfully 3 of the 4 kids were upstairs resting, and the oldest may not have heard me.

I appear to have survived without any damage to my body aside from stiffness and soreness. I am wondering if she’s trying to kill me though.

The damage to the rack was not permanent. But the hinge is another story. The door now hyper-extends when open. It still works, but we aren’t sure how long it will.

Since it was Black Friday …. I decided to look for a special deals. I’ve never really thought about this though. All I know is that I want a quiet one.  A very quiet one.

There were a number of sales. We started to look at reviews. We decided we should look at the worst reviews. Some had a number of mechanical complaints. But there was also a strange trend: dishes don’t dry. Really, one star because the dishes aren’t dry as a bone. What is with people?

What we have discovered is that the “energy star” requirements have had two negative unintended consequences. First, since they use less water they don’t get the dishes as clean as before (another common complaint). This also results in longer cycle times. Second, they use lower wattage heating elements for the heat dry. The Energy Star standards are behind many of the non-mechanical complaints people have.

By Saturday night we hadn’t made an incredible amount of progress in narrowing down the field.

Two things happened on Sunday. First, one of our members told me her refrigerator died on Thanksgiving day. She went to a local store the next day and had her new one an hour after she bought it. That wasn’t as important as the fact they were having an anniversary sale. I’d been on their web site but they didn’t have any prices so I blew them off.

Second, another member’s son was in the ER so I went to pay a visit after worship. I had to drive right past that appliance store. So after my visit, I popped in for a quick check on prices. The salesmen showed me 3 he recommended based on my highest priority. A GE that had very few service calls. A Maytag that was the lowest priced of the three. And a Kitchen Aid that came with the house he bought. I got prices and went home to debrief with CavWife.

Before I could leave the parking lot she texted me. Thanks to Find a Friend she knew where I was and decided I should pick up a Papa Murphy’s pizza for dinner. But her spying ways are another story.

Being an investigator’s daughter, she was on the case with the info. Soon she decided we should go back on Monday. In the meantime, I’m thinking about the new tires we need to buy. I wondered if we should wait to buy a new dishwasher until it did “give up the ghost” and started to leak. But this is a good time to buy due to the sales.

So there we are at the appliance store with 3 of the kids. 3 kids 9 and under. I instructed them on proper behavior before entering. “Look with your eyes, not your fingers.” “I need to think and make decisions, so don’t run around making lots of noise.” That kind of stuff. Why do I waste my time?

The salesman remembered my name and we looked at the three machines and quickly eliminated the Maytag. She seemed to prefer the Kitchen Aid. But there was another one next to it for about $20 more. I wondered, what is the difference? The salesman assured me it wasn’t the larger name plate on the front.

The difference was a third rack for knives, BBQ tools and other such things. It was removable for extra height when needed on the the second rack. Hmmm. I liked this feature. This may change things.

It was my decision, she said. I preferred the new one, but didn’t want to demand it. I didn’t want to pay the extra money, but …. (she’s now laughing at me). And it rates at 46 or 47 dba! Just a bit more (considerably more) than I wanted to spend. Merry Christmas to us! Happy Anniversary to us! (Happy Birthday to us?)

We survived the great dishwasher purchase of 2015. We are no longer dishwasher virgins. I hope to never buy one again.

We may move instead.

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