Monday, February 13, 2017

A Story of Love, Betrayal and Faithfulness

Go, take to yourself a wife of harlotry and have children of harlotry; for the land commits flagrant harlotry, forsaking the LORD. Hosea 1:2
In honor of Valentine’s Day, today and tomorrow we will look at a special love story in the Bible, Hosea and Gomer.
Hosea lived in the northern kingdom of Israel during the last half of the eighth century before Christ.  Apparently he believed in preaching in such a way that you afflict the comfortable.  In fact, in the first few years of his ministry he always preached against sin and warned of the peril that was VERY close at hand unless the people repented and returned to the Lord.  I think Hosea may have even ENJOYED this kind of preaching.
The people didn’t like it when Hosea preached this way, so Hosea’s audience dwindled to the point that continuing to preach seemed pointless to him. Israel was in a cycle of sin and Hosea no doubt spoke to God and asked for His help in getting the people to listen.  When he did this, God told him to do a strange thing. Go, take to yourself a wife of harlotry and have children of harlotry; for the land commits flagrant harlotry, forsaking the LORD." Hosea 1:2  The Lord appeared to Hosea and told him that he was to exemplify in his life the relationship of God with Israel.  The prophet was told that he was to marry a woman who would become a harlot and that he was to be faithful to her in spite of her unfaithfulness; a perfect example of God’s love, mercy, and faithfulness to Israel at that time and to us when we are unfaithful to him. 
The book of Hosea is the most shocking book in the Old Testament.  Few people can imagine what it would be like to be married to a woman like Gomer.  She had no inner moral compass — no restraints. You could never trust her. It has happened to other people besides Hosea, but Hosea went into the relationship with his eyes wide open.
Sometimes God gave a prophet like Hosea words to speak to the people of Israel and Judah. He would give them words warning of impending judgment so they could be spared by giving up their sin and following God again.  At other times, he would give them words of love in an attempt to win back the affections of his people.  He would remind them of all his love had done for them and tell them how much he wanted them to come back home to him.
But sometimes words failed and God had to resort to a different kind of communication.  He would give the prophet a message to act out. In other words, Hosea was to live a dramatic pageant before the nations of Judah and Israel, whom God counted as one nation.
Hosea was to play the part of the loving and faithful God.  The erring wife would be cast in the role of the perverse nation.  She would play the harlot with many lovers even as Israel had left the true God to go after a multitude of strange gods.
The wonderful end is that Hosea’s love won out…just as God’s love does.  So what can we learn?  The story of the love between Hosea and Gomer and how it mirrors the love of our Heavenly Father for us.  When we turn our backs on God and go after other gods, He is still faithful to us and does not stop loving us in our weakness.  He loves us in spite of our weakness and stays faithful to His promises no matter how we hurt Him.
Scripture to Claim:
And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Ephesians 3:18-19 NLT

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