Winning Streak

ucla bruinsMy sports teams all won this weekend. Well, almost. The Mariners were crushed by the Cardinals yesterday, after defeating the St. Louis crew on Saturday. But last night, the Seattle Seahawks humiliated the 49ers, 29-3. On Saturday, the Washington Huskies thumped the Illinois Illini, 34-24, in a game that wasn’t as close as the score shows. And the UCLA Bruins embarrassed the Nebraska Cornhuskers, 41-21, outscoring the Huskers 31-0 in the second half. In fact, the Pac-12 schools playing non-conference games were 7-1 this week, the only loss to that pesky Ohio State team over the Cal Bears. For a sports fan with my preferences, it was a great weekend. What a winning streak!

But I know it won’t last.

I have been studying the book of Hosea recently. Boy, that guy sure needed a winning streak! He finally gets in a position to start a family, and the Lord commands him to go choose a wife from the village prostitutes. He selects Gomer, a name I think might be a nickname because it means “Complete One,” as if she is the ultimate prostitute in town. Then Hosea and Gomer begin to have children, so there must be something good going on in their house. But God directs the naming of these babies, and they receive unusual names to say the least. The last two are particularly troubling. Gomer give Hosea a daughter, and he names her “Not Loved.” I know this is a big symbolic name picturing the relationship between the Lord and Israel, but what about the little girl? The name makes it sound like her father has rejected her. How would you like to go to a new school and introduce yourself as “Unloved”?

The third child, a boy, is given the name “Not My People.” Again, I know about the symbolism, that this is a sign that the Lord has rejected Israel as his people, at least temporarily. But this sounds a lot like “No Son of Mine,” as if Hosea is casting suspicion on the male parentage of the baby.

The story line of Hosea is hard to follow, but chapter 3 seems to indicate that Gomer leaves him to return to the prostitute community. This will not do, and the Lord commands Hosea to go redeem her for money (from her pimp?), to bring her home, and to love her. Hosea had to swallow every ounce of his patriarchal pride to obey, but he did. He had been on a losing streak for a long time, but it only takes one win to start a new streak.

I’m sure one of my teams will lose next week, although you never know. UCLA is playing New Mexico State, Washington is playing Idaho State, and the Seahawks are playing Jacksonville, so the streak might be intact for one more week. Does it matter? Not really. In the end, I don’t want sports to override my desire to obey the Lord. I don’t want my winning streaks to be based on athletic teams. I want to be like Hosea when it comes to following God’s will. That is a winning streak that is worth striving for, and I want it to be intact for the rest of my life.

Mark Krause
Nebraska Christian College

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