Saturday, March 17, 2012

Faithful God, Unfaithful people.

Hosea is the last prophet to prophesy to the Northern kingdom before their fall and exile  to Assyria in 722 BC. His ministry followed a golden age in the, with peace and prosperity not seen since the days of Solomon.  The rich and powerful got richer and more powerful at the expense of the poor and vulnerable. All the prophets addressed this situation but Hosea concentrated on their unfaithfulness to God in their idolatry. Israel has forsaking the one true God and has whored to worship Idols.  In this amazing book we see the most harsh and stark pictures of sin, human depravity, and the state of the human heart that I have yet to find in the O.T. We see sin and unfaithfulness from Gods perspective and we see it personified in the life of a man.

God instructed Hosea to marry a wife of whoredom (prostitute) whose unfaithfulness to her husband would serve as an example of Israel’s unfaithfulness to God.1 A prostitute was one who accepted money for the performance of sex and prostitutes in general were considered an underclass.  Priests could not marry harlots2, Israelites should not make their daughters harlots3, and a priest’s daughter who became a harlot should be burned4. Like the death of children in battle, the turning of wives into harlots was considered a tragedy of destruction.5

He marries Gomer, and she bears three children. (one of them was probably not even his own.6)  Each one of the children’s names speak of prophecies of the Lord’s future judgment: Jezreel- the place where Jehu’s sword ended the dynasty of Omri (2 Ki. 9:23–10:17), ‘Lo-ruhama’ which means ‘Not pitied’ or ‘no mercy’ and ‘Lo-ammi’ which means ‘Not my people’7. The picture of the state of Israel’s position before the Lord.

After some time, Gomer eventually leaves Hosea to return to the whoring life that comes most easily to her8. She has found herself herself forsaken, enslaved9, worn and in many ways no longer attractive to Hosea. She is damaged goods. She is an adulteress and according to the law she deserves death.10 or at the very least to be divorce11. But Hosea does something radical, scandalous and shocking. Instead of leaving her, stoning her waiting for her, or giving up on her; he pursues, finds her her and ransoms her from her enslavement. He redeems her. Gomer is bought back by the husband she had deserted. He does it for the purpose of restoring her back to her place as wife. Despite her sin against him, the lack of affection and appreciation from her, while she is still in her sin, he pursues her and makes her his again.

The story is not told explicitly, for the point is not to interest us with human romance and heart-break but to demonstrate the consistency and depth of God’s love for his people. A love that tolerates no rivals. A love that is shocking, scandalous, stubborn, ruthless, and messy.

In his love, mercy, grace and kindness. He gives them a glimpse of a brighter future. In Christ, God has done something for: whores12, prostitutes13, tax collectors14, and sinners15  self-righteous Pharisees16 , that they could no do for themselves. God has sent Jesus as Savior17, Substitute18 Ransom19  and Propitiation20 Those who have not received mercy will receive mercy, and those who are not his people, will become would become ‘Sons of the living God’21

Our sin is deeper than we could ever fear but his grace is deeper than we could ever imagine, hope or dream.. He takes dead people and makes them alive.
This is the Gospel.

1 Hosea 1:2 , 2 Lev. 21:7, 3 Lev. 19:29, 4 Lev. 21:9, 5Amos 7:17, 6 Hosea 1:9, 7 Hosea 1:4-9, 8 Hosea 2.5, 9 Hosea 3:2, 10 Leviticus 20:10, Deuteronomy 22:22, 11 Deuteronomy 24:1, Matthew 5:32, Matthew 19:19, 12 Hosea 2:5, 3:3, 4:10, 4:12, 4.13, 4.15, 5.3, 9:1, 13 Matthew 21:32, Heb 11:31, 14 Matthew 9:10, 11:19, 21:31, 21:32, Mark 2:15, 2:16, Luke 3:12, 5:27, 19:2, 15 Matthew 9:10, 9:11, 9:13, Mark 2:15, Luke 5.30, 10:45,16 Gal 1.14, Acts 26.517 Luke 2.11, Jn 4.42, Acts 5.31, Acts 13.23, Ephesians 5.23, Php 3.20. 1 Tim 1.1, 1 Tim 4.10, 2 Tim 1.10, Titus 1.3,Titus 2,10, Titus 2.13, Titus 3.6, 2 Peter 1.11, 2 Peter 2.20,2 Peter 3.2, 2 Peter 3.18, 1 Jn 4.14, Jude 1.25, 18 2 Corinthians 5.21, Hebrews 9:14, 19 Matthew 20:28, Mark 10:45, 1 Timothy 2:6, 1 Peter 1:18, Revelation 5:9, 20 Romans 3:25, Hebrews 2:17, 1 John 2:2, 1 John 4:10, 21 Hosea 1:10, Romans 9:26