Tuesday, February 18, 2014

God's Redeeming Love {Day 18}: HOSEA


God's thoughts towards me are so contradictory to how I think about myself most of the time. That's why changing the way we think seems like work sometimes.  Keep pressing on ... stay the course.  God is love, remember?

Need dramatic proof? Good.  Because we have that dramatic proof in His Word in the book of Hosea.  This book tells of God's love like no other.

Before Jesus came to this earth {approximately 750 years before}, God spoke to a prophet Hosea. God gave all prophets special assignments, and a few were able to live out those assignments, but maybe none were as unique as Hosea's.  

In Hosea 1:2, God tells Hosea to marry a prostitute.

We should know that Hosea would have been an upstanding citizen, highly respected and well thought of.  This would have been a radical request.

In obedience, Hosea marries Gomer {Chapter 1} and they have a son, then a daughter and then, another son.

What Gomer does next is unimaginable.  She leaves her family and returns to what she knew before {sounds familiar, huh?}.

God tells Hosea to go find her and marry her again.

I'm going to pause here just a second and talk about what I would do if I were Hosea.  Or, how about we pause and try to imagine what any of us would do? I'm willing to guess the majority of us wouldn't react the same as Hosea.  Oftentimes, when we've been wronged, we seek revenge or walk away from the relationship altogether.  When we accept and believe God's love, we are free to love others in the same respect.  Without His love, we can't truly love anyone else.  We love other things and our vision becomes distorted.

Hosea 3:1 says:  "Then said the Lord unto me, Go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend, yet an adulteress, according to the love of the Lord toward the children of Israel, who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine."

Israel was in love with other things ... things of this world.  They believed love could be purchased and found in material things.  



Sounds similar to our world today.  The idea of love became so distorted during this time that God decided to demonstrate to His people what love really meant. This is why {apart from the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus}, the book of Hosea is the greatest demonstration of God’s love in all of scripture.

Back to Hosea and Gomer.  

Hosea, a well-respected, upstanding citizen, must go look for his estranged wife. Commentaries tell us he finds her on a slave block.  He walks in on an auction and sees his wife, Gomer.

I like to study a passage in Scripture answering three questions ... 

What do you SEE?
What do you HEAR?
What do you FEEL?

This way of studying has transformed my quiet time and allows me to transport myself to scripture, trying to better understand the circumstances.  I know it's impossible to completely know, but it helps me to relate better.  

So, what was that like for Gomer? How did she feel? Why was she there in the first place? What was she thinking when she noticed Hosea in the crowd? 

We're living a day when slavery is more prevalent than ever before.  While just scratching the surface as to what that entails, I've noticed one common denominator ... no one chooses that life or goes back to such harsh conditions for any other reason than they think they deserve it.  They think they DON’T deserve the better life God has for them.

So, maybe this is where Gomer is.  We leave the things of God or live in bondage because we simply don’t believe the weight of His love for us and the extent He will go to set us free.  We live where we choose to live.

What was that like for Hosea?

Did his anger leave the minute he laid eyes on her? Was he relieved she was alive? Was he overwhelmed with love for his wife and felt bad that she didn’t know how worthy she was? AT SOME POINT his actions had to be less about obedience to the Father and about a love He simply couldn’t help.

So, what did he do?

Chapter 3 Verse 2 …

“So I bought her to me for fifteen pieces of silver, and for an homer or barley; and an half homer of barley.”

Don't miss this phenomenal act of love ... Hosea bought what was already his!

Incredible!

This passage is an fascinating picture of what Christ did for us.  God created it all, He owns it all and all belongs to Him already and YET, He sends his son to earth as a baby to suffer and to die to purchase what is in fact already His!!

We are already His ... we just have to accept Christ as our Savior to have the promise of eternal life with Him.  Any other way leaves us lost and enslaved.

Hosea purchases his wife back and then does what scholars affectionately call renewing his vows. Chapter 3, verse 3 ... 

“And I said unto her, Thou shalt abide for me many days; thou shalt not play the harlot, and thou shalt not be for another man so will I also be for thee.”

Friend, Hosea {meaning salvation} in these passages is God.  Gomer {meaning completion} is ..... you and me.

God will search the most horrible places for us.  Not only will He save us from a life of sin, but He'll even wade through bitterness, pride, jealousy, anger and betrayal to rescue you!

We tend to leave him when things get rough and go back to what we know, what we think we’re worthy of.  But, all are poor substitutes to a life of freedom in Christ.  

This Love! It's relentless! He’ll search for us.  And, He'll never stop.

******************************

Walking in Truth:

Self-image says: I am Estranged
God's image says:  I am Welcomed

And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off,
his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven,
and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.
But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe,
and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:
And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:
For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.
And they began to be merry.
Luke 15:20-24

Scripture for the Heart:

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I,
but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the
flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
Galatians 2:20



5 comments:

Piper said...

I love the story of Hosea and Gomer....which in reality I should love the story of the love that God has for me. This rang so true in my head when I read this
"God will search the most horrible places for us. Not only will He save us from a life of sin, but He'll even wade through bitterness, pride, jealousy, anger and betrayal to rescue you!"
The pit I was in when HE pulled me out & set me on my feet on a path to HIM. Many times I looked back, thinking I just can't be good enough......Praise HIM that He continued to pursue me.... and purchased me from that slave block of sin.
Oh I love this D, I am sure I will come back to this day for a reminder when I feel I am not ENOUGH.
Love ya!

Katherine said...

Confession time. I've never read the book of Hosea. WOW!!!!!!!! How could I have missed this all these years? I felt myself getting angry with Gomer until you said I am Gomer. Tears streaming down my face.

Deidre I want you to know these devotions are now my morning quiet time. I don't want them to end. I am learning things I have never noticed in the Bible. Thank you.

Rebecca Jo said...

This is so awesome... I'll admit, I've never really sat in hosea a long time or done much studying of that chapter... this was beautiful & makes me want to dig in deeper now :)

Laurie O said...

This was so well explained, so beautifully laid out. I found myself challenged by 1) would I obey God even if doing so would ruin my reputation and invite judgmental and incorrect thoughts? God asked Hosea to do that so He might also ask me. 2) Am I walking toward a messy world to take the message of Christ, or am I staying away? Walking into a slave auction to buy back what was lost is dramatic. Am I walking into any messy circumstances for that same purpose, not only to seek the lost but to seek back those who have strayed? Headed right into a college campus today with a great perspective. Thanks.
Have a great day.
Laurie

Sharon Brobst said...

I love, love the book of Hosea. I've read it, and studied it several times and each time my love for it grows.

I am going to have to go back and catch up on this for I love your insights.Just beautiful.

I am so thankful I stopped by today!

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