HOSEA – Obeying even when it Hurts

 

Anyone who has ever been in a long term relationship can appreciate the pain and anguish of, a partner who urges the other to forgo a particular line of action, forsake a habit or generally change their ways out of genuine concern for their well being. Yet that partner blinded by the temporal pleasures offered, persists. You can only truly put your pain in context as a parent who has tried and failed to prevent your child from repeatedly erring by placing your pain side-by-side with what Jesus must feel each time a Christian returns to his vomit, sin. Just as you the “wise” partner or parent as the case may be, know that the end of such actions will be un-pleasant, so does Jesus. But for whatever reason, the other partner, or child, again as the case maybe, is totally blinded by the consuming desire to persist in their folly.I believe it was a similar picture as this that God intended to portray when he gave that most difficult of instructions to Hosea, “Go, take a prostitute for a wife” or if you like, “Take Gomer as your wife, but beware she will sleep with other men”.

 

On a personal level, he wanted his Prophet to feel his (God’s) pain as he went out to give the Israelites a warning. Hosea’s message to the Israelites was anything but hollow, he knew, personally, the humiliation visited upon a person by an unfaithful lover. When, he addressed the Israelites, calling attention to their lack of knowledge of God, their lack of interest in the truth or mercy, their bloodletting, adultery, swearing, lying and theft. When he told them that they had become a people possessed of the spirit of whoredom, he knew what it felt like, because he had a whore at home. As the people thrived at offering sacrifices and burnt incense everywhere, on the mountain tops under oaks, beneath poplars and elms, anywhere but in God’s house, so also did Gomer, Hosea’s wife excel in serving up steaming breakfast platters in bed to every man but Hosea!On a national level, he deployed the incongruence of a prophet married to a prostitute to highlight that of a holy God allied with a nation, Israel steeped in harlotry.

 

Nothing hurts more than an inability to get someone you truly love to see the folly of their ways. I have heard Christians tell me, that they never really understood how much God loved them until they tried to get their wives or husbands off a path of self-destruction. A truly loving Christian relationship mirrors albeit in a poor way, Christ’s love for a Christian.I challenge you to read Hosea 2:14-23 and not come away with your eyes moist.

 

Those verses were not written to a model nation, they were written to a nation deeply engrossed in idolatry. If you think love is about a perfect stain-free situation, think again. Those 9 verses reflect in a unique way just how deep God’s love runs. How powerful and all-consuming a passion it is for him. He speaks of alluring. I had to check the meaning of that word just to be sure my eyes were not deceiving me: allure: to attract by personal charm. In other words, God was prepared to use all his beauty, power, kindness, personality to draw Israel back to himself. Read through those verses over and over. Constantly at the back of your mind remember that those verses are still validly directed at you and I even today.

 

Jesus is still as passionate and alluring in his efforts at loving us.Nothing is more painful than a Christian, who still toys with sin. It causes so much heartache, agony, and anguish to Jesus. It severely limits your ability to fulfil your potential. Take a look at Ephesians 3:20. Nay, meditate on it. Memorise it. Recite it. Chant it. That tremendous power is eroded, when you allow sin to have free access to your life. A God, who is prepared to pen those 9 verses, is powerful enough to empower you to attain every dream. The pleasures of sin are temporal, and will disappear like a mist. Evidently, God is interested in a much deeper relationship than any boyfriend can offer you.No matter how damaged you may believe you are, no matter how far gone. Israel was so far gone; it took this bizarre image of a prophet married to a prostitute to highlight their situation.Jesus allures you back to him, this morning, will you say, “yes Lord?”