The Adulterous Wife and Faithful Husband
Go, take to yourself an adulterous wife and children of unfaithfulness, because the land is guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the Lord. (Hosea 1:2)
When we are called by God, God sometimes gives us things to do that we do not understand. However, we are to obey. God sometimes tells us to do things that are not logical to ourselves, and surely they are not logical to others. Hosea is a good example of a painful thing God told someone to do. In order to teach Israel about God's love and forgiveness, Hosea was commanded to "Go, take to yourself an adulterous wife and children of unfaithfulness, because the land is guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the Lord." (Hosea 1:2) Hosea didn't say, "But Lord, can't this be done another way?" Instead, immediately after the command is given, the Bible says, "So he married Gomer, and she conceived and bore him a son." (Hosea 1:3) Why would God make such a command?
There are three (3) main reasons God commanded Hosea to take a prostitute as his wife.
- The Experimental Reason. By marrying a woman who was already unfaithful, Hosea could understand the anguish in God's own heart over the way His people were treating Him when they committed spiritual fornication and adultery against Him. Therefore, Hosea could speak from experience!
- The Illustrative Reason. Hosea's own marriage would become a visible example of his message to Israel. What an object lesson!
- The Prophetic Reason. God would command Hosea to name his children to describe the future punishment and eventual restoration of Israel.
Hosea endured many painful nights waiting for Gomer to come home to the marriage bed. Instead, she was out prostituting herself. Hosea waited for Gomer just as God waited for Israel and as He waits for us. Often Hosea would go out and buy Gomer back from "her pimps." God bought us back with the death of His Son.
Just as Gomer was an adulterous wife and Hosea was the faithful husband, Israel was adulterous and God was faithful. Was Hosea's marriage restored? Was Israel restored back to God? Does God ever fail in His plans for His people?
Benefits of a Desert Experience
Therefore, I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert. (Hosea 2:14)
Israel was God's chosen people. They had a covenant relationship. However, Israel broke the covenant over and over and turned to other gods. The Israelites committed spiritual adultery toward God. God wanted to save the relationship. So God allured Israel into the desert to get her away from the attention of those other gods and from the distraction of the crowd. God wanted to have a one-on-one session with Israel, and while in the desert, God did or promised to do twenty (20) things for her. (Hosea 2:14-24)
If you are a man having a problem with your relationship, follow the examples of God so that your relationship might be reconciled, restored, and revived. If you are a woman, be receptive to the godly things your mate offers.
- Speak tenderly to her. (v. 14)
- Give back her vineyards. (v. 15)
- Make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. (v. 15)
- Bring back her spirit of singing. (v. 15)
- Marry her again. (v. 16)
- Bring her into a deeper relationship. (v. 16)
- Take the names of the Baals from her lips. (v. 17)
- Prevent her from calling the names of Baals again. (v. 17)
- Make a covenant with the beasts for Israel. (v. 18)
- Take fighting from the land. (v. 18)
- Bring safety to them. (v. 18)
- Betroth her unto Him forever. (v. 19)
- Betroth her in righteousness, justice, love and compassion. (v. 19)
- Betroth her in faithfulness. (v. 20)
- Cause her to acknowledge Him. (v. 20)
- Make her prosperous with grain, wine, and oil. (vv. 21-22)
- Plant Israel for Himself. (v. 23)
- Show her love again. (v. 24)
- Call her my people. (v. 24)
- Become their God again. (v. 24)
Make adjustments as necessary for your own failing relationship.
Sow the Wind, Reap the Whirlwind
They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind. (Hosea 8:7)
Israel went through a cycle of sinning before God over a period of many years. When God brought the judgment upon Israel for much sinning, Israel felt like the punishment was too harsh. Even God admitted, "They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind." Since a whirlwind is much stronger and faster than the wind, could it be said the punishment didn't fit the crime [or sin]?
All of our sin is not committed at once. It is spread out over a period of time much like a little breeze here and a little breeze there. And then we forget about the sin much like we forget about the last breeze we felt. However, God sends His punishment all at once. God doesn't divvy up the punishment. God doesn't give us the option of receiving our punishment in installments. When the punishment comes, it hits us hard like a fierce whirlwind. It takes our breath away, we lose our balance, and our lives are out of kilter until the sin is reckoned with.
A wind can be mild in comparison to a whirlwind. Think of this the next time you are tempted to sin. You may sow the wind, but you will definitely reap the whirlwind since none of our unrepentant sins will go unpunished.
Repent With A Promise
Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God. Your sins have been your downfall. Take the words with you and return to the Lord. Say to him: "Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously, that we may offer the fruit of our lips." (Hosea 12:1-2)
Throughout the Book of Hosea, we see that God's people had turned away from Him and worshipped other gods. God spoke tenderly to them and wooed them back just as Hosea spoke tenderly to his wife, Gomer and literally bought her back from a life of prostitution.
Not only did Israel serve other gods, Israel also made treaties with their enemies and sent them precious gifts (Hosea 12:1). At the end of the book, God Himself admonished Israel to return to Him with repentance. He said that was the only way to bring blessings upon the nation. God further explained that true repentance involves more than the admission of sin. There should be a promise of change. God said, "Take words with you and return to the Lord." This means God wanted them and God wants us not only to confess and admit the need for forgiveness, but God also wants us to make a promise of change.
God wants us to repent with a promise.
What God Hates the Most
Now they sin more and more; they make idols for themselves from their silver, cleverly fashioned images, all of them the work of craftsmen. (Hosea 13:2)
In Bible times, idolatry was the worship of pagan gods. Today it could be anything that takes your focus off of the one and only true living God. Christians are constantly reminded against idolatry because idolatry leads to other sins: sexual immorality, gambling, murder, stealing, covetousness, and everything listed in the Ten Commandments. The entire book of Hosea is devoted to preaching against idolatry. God says when you serve other gods, you are committing adultery against Him.
Idolatry is placing the focus on other things and people. God is a jealous God, and He will not be shared with anyone or anything. Therefore, the penalty for idolatry is great. Because of idolatry nations have been destroyed and people have gone into captivity, relationships have been destroyed, jobs lost and lives destroyed.
Idolatry is not merely carving an object and praying to it. Idolatry is also the worship of such objects as houses, cars, land, popular heroes, fame, reputation, hobbies, pride, soap operas, playing the lottery, money, sex, or other things you love more than God. Idolatry is a dangerous and deceitful sin. No wonder God had 4 major prophets and 12 minor prophets to preach against it. Idolatry is what God hates the most.
I will heal their disloyalty; I will love them freely, for my anger has turned from them. (Hosea 14:4)
The minor prophet, Hosea wrote about Israel's unfaithfulness to God and God's wrath upon Israel for their wrong doings. Israel had such a long history of following after other gods so much so that God used Hosea as an object lesson to show Israel just how serious He was about their idolatry. God commanded Hosea to marry a prostitute. Every time Gomer would leave Hosea for others, Hosea would go and buy her back. God did the same for Israel to show them how much He still loved them. Despite God's love for Israel, judgment was bought on them for their sins.
Chapter 14 is a plea from God for Israel to repent: "Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God for you have stumbled because of you iniquity." Then God gives them the assurance of forgiveness. He gives them new hope. In its conclusion, the book of Hosea ends in a series of images of what Israel can become. "I will be like the dew to Israel; he shall blossom like the lily, he shall strike root like the forest of Lebanon. His shoots shall spread out; his beauty shall be like the olive tree, and his fragrance like that of Lebanon. They shall again live beneath my shadow, they shall flourish as a garden; they shall blossom like the vine, their fragrance shall be like the wine of Lebanon." (Hosea 14:5-7).
God compares the nation of Israel to the beauty of a lily, the strength of a cedar, the value of an olive tree, the delight of fragrance, and the abundance of a garden and the fruitfulness of a vine. God wants the same for us. He wants to bless us abundantly. But first we must repent. God will NOT reward unfaithfulness.
There is new hope for those who confess their sins and turn to God.