Today again our Old Testament Reading is in Hosea. Hosea saw God's heart and wrote about it. God viewed his chosen people as a beloved wife, he has rescued her, nurtured her, provided for her, but she breaks his heart constantly by being unfaithful to Him. A husband/wife would call it adultery, with God it is idolatry – worship of other Gods. How could Hosea express to Israel how God felt, if he didn't understand it? So that Hosea would know exactly how God was feeling about it and understand God's heart, God had him marry a woman he knew would be unfaithful. Yet Hosea was faithful and showed amazing love toward her.
Our Old Testament reading today is the cry of God's Heart over his unfaithful people. He tells us exactly what He wants to hear from us, because the longing of his heart is to bless us, but at the time this was written the people of Israel were active in oppressing the poor in slavery and worshipping idols. He didn't want to have to turn his back on them, much less punish them, but the injustices they were committing against the poor, widows, orphans etc.; and the hurt they were causing him with their unfaithfulness was growing too much. The cry of Gods heart is to be understood, He wants us to know Him and if you do, you will understand His amazing love for you and all He has given for you, then He hopes you will return his love. Hosea's warning was Israel's last chance to turn and repent, they didn't take it. Shortly thereafter they went into captivity.
Our gospel reading is the story Jesus told of the proud, arrogant Pharisee and the humble tax collector. What God wants hadn't changed, in Hosea's time He stated, He wanted them to see their guilt, repent and get to know Him. King David 'the man after God's own heart' stated in our Psalm today, what God really wants is someone humble, who will acknowledge their sin, like the tax collector did and have a contrite heart. He isn't interested in someone, who thinks they are so good, and so much better than everyone else. In fact doing so is the sin of pride and causes an individual to judge others. Judging others is God's job, not ours. When a nation starts suffering from the insanity of thinking one race or tribe is better than another it can lead to slavery and genocide. Never forget, no matter what race, colour or creed, we are all God's creation.