Click here for today’s reading: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hosea%201-7&version=NIV
I don’t know about you but I think Hosea MUST have had an INCREDIBLY close relationship with God to KNOW that he was to marry a woman who WOULD be unfaithful to him…..ALL so he could prophesy from a very personal perspective concerning Israel’s unfaithfulness to God. WOW!!
Chapters 1-3 are the parallels we can see between Hosea and Gomer, AND God and HIS people. What stood out MOST to me in these chapters was how deeply God is hurt when we separate ourselves from HIM. Read that again….. God is HURT when we choose to sin. HE DESIRES that we are ONE with HIM… HE is our GROOM. HE WANTS the BEST for us!! HE WANTS that deep abiding relationship with us…..forever and ever!! I think about ALL HE has done for me; ALL the times HE has been holding me when I truly did not know which end was up; ALL HE has blessed me with….and then my mind goes to the times I have pulled away from HIM. God has every right to be angry at me but HE becomes HURT….deeply. And when we/I refuse to listen to HIM there will be consequences…consequences in our lives….and often things to get our attention to bring us back to HIM.
At the time Hosea was written we are looking at a VERY corrupt nation (both Judah and Israel.) They were wealthy, they were making their own decisions…..WHY would they need a GOD with rules?? Their pride (over a long period of time) blinded them to the ways of God. God WANTED them to COME BACK TO HIM….but Israel and Judah were stubborn and did not want to listen.
The names are important to note here:
Jezreel means “God Scatters.”
Lo-Ruhamah-means “NOT Loved or NOT pitied.”
Lo-Amni: Lo means not- “NOT his people” (meaning they were not conceived by Hosea!)
Hosea means “Salvation.” It also means Joshua in Hebrew, or Jesus in Greek. (I KNOW…pretty amazing…right?)
Hosea was commanded by God to marry a woman who would be unfaithful to him and would cause him great heartache. The book can be read as Hosea sobbing as he writes. His wife Gomer almost from the beginning of their relationship runs the other way and chases the way of the world. Looking for pleasure in ALL life had to offer (sex, money, idolatry, possessions, EVERYTHING but the ONE TRUE GOD.) Gomer was no different than we are today….. we pursue our dreams and desires and at all costs and lose our appreciation for our relationship and love for the Lord. We often compromise our standards, do whatever our neighbor does to fit in, lose ourselves, and bit by bit become unfaithful to God, JUST as Gomer did to Hosea. Thank God that HE made a way for us and that we are children of a God of Grace, Mercy, and Love. He, like Hosea, is willing to buy us back at a price to redeem us, to restore us.
Jezreel, named after the battlefield from 2 Kings 10, from Jehu’s bloody tirade. Naming him that was to let the people know that retribution and punishment was to come.
Gomer had three children and two of them were NOT by Hosea — Lo-Ruhamah and Lo Amni. As you read the text you will see that HOSEA then DROPS the “Lo” part of their names which is prophesying that they (the nations) WILL be Loved and WILL be His People. Our reading in Hosea shows us a very fact of the Bible. WE KNOW that all 66 books in the Bible are weaved, but some are more obvious, like Hosea. Also when Paul is speaking to the Romans to let them know that ALL the people, even Gentiles, are Loved by God and and are HIS People, Paul quotes none other than the Prophet Hosea (I KNOW…. amazing, right???!!!!!)
“even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles? As he says in Hosea:
”I will call them ‘my people’ who are not my people;
and I will call her ‘my loved one’ who is not my loved one,”and,
”It will happen that in the very place where it was said to them,
’You are not my people,’
they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’” Romans 9:25
Chapter 2 and 3 are so profound. If we get far from the Lord He WILL take drastic measures to bring us back, just as Hosea did with Gomer, just as HE did with Israel, and JUST as HE is doing to some of us now. Sometimes HE has to give us obstacles and strip us down so that as a last attempt we “try God,” or TURN BACK TO HIM. God does not care how we return to Him but that we do. He will bring us to the “Valley of Achor” meaning trouble (from Joshua 7 when Achan took some plunder and God punished the people to bring them back to obedience.)
Verse 16 is so very touching
“In that day,” declares the LORD,
“you will call me ‘my husband’;
you will no longer call me ‘my master.”
Chapter 3 –This reconciliation between Hosea and Gomer, God and Israel, is a beautiful symbol of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. God was ALWAYS and forever will be willing to buy us back, redeem us, restore us. HE paid the highest price for us. Hosea’s wife had fallen so far away she must have become a slave (a slave to sin in the most literal sense) that she needed to be bought back. At this point in the Scripture….NO one else saw worth in her, she was irrelevant to the world and YET Hosea paid with Silver and Barley. God paid for our redemption WITH the LIFE of HIS ONLY begotten SON….JESUS…. for YOU and for ME!! Chapter 3 is about God’s LOVE for us….to LOVE us so deeply when we have gone as far from HIM as possible… YET HE DESIRES TO BUY US BACK!!
Chapter 4-7 –The rest of the book deals with Israel’s sin and he impending judgement.
Verse 6 says: “my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.” Destroyed in this verse means “separated from God.” When we are separate from God there is NO HOPE. Christ Jesus is the HOPE of the world. The enemy WILL ALWAYS attack the area we lack knowledge. LOOK what the enemy did to Eve…. and she HAD The KNOWLEDGE… God told both Eve and Adam NOT to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. They could do ALLLLLLLLL else, yet the enemy came in and twisted the Words of God, made Eve doubt….and you know the rest of that story. When Adam and Eve sinned the bridge TO God was broken and man was separated from God. When Israel refused the knowledge from the prophets OF GOD, they are NO different from you and me. Lack of knowledge is the area the devil will attack and DESTROY you and me unless and until we gain HIS knowledge which comes from HIS Word. Without the blood of Jesus, there is NO HOPE of forgiveness and redemption and ALL that we have through Christ Jesus.
Verses 10-11 tells of all the ways people were giving themselves over to prostitution (and I am not just talking about the literal sexual prostitution)….they would “consult a wooden stick” and never consult GOD!!! Some people today use sticks in divination, and/or divining rods … in the hopes of knowing the future. NOTHING can EVER give us the HOPE that the blood of JESUS CHRIST has given us….NOTHING… HE IS OUR ONLY HOPE!! NO sin you or I have been involved in is greater than the BLOOD of JESUS to cleanse us. The BLOOD of Jesus WILL transform us. And, the BLOOD is NOT a ONE time deal… it is a FOREVER DEAL. TODAY…the POWER of the blood is still changing us more into God’s image and it will continue as long as we are on this side of heaven.
Have you ever thought about with ALL the scientific labs we have today and everything that can be made, identified, and clarified…..NO LAB is able to make BLOOD!!!??? Leviticus 17:11 states: “For the life of a creature is in the blood and I have given it to you to make atonement…..” BLOOD flowed STRAIGHT from God??? Adam and Jesus got blood straight from GOD!!! Life of flesh is in the BLOOD. ONLY the blood of Jesus takes away sin and ALL problems come from sin. Hebrews 9:22 says: “In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.”
The bottom line is if we do not worship the ONE TRUE GOD, KNOW JESUS CHRIST in our hearts, and seek HIS KNOWLEDGE through HIS WORD then we are no different than Gomer or Israel. And as a child of the Most High God it is VITAL that what we worship lines up with SCRIPTURE….otherwise it is idolatry. HOW do we KNOW what lines up with the Word… there are several ways… first we must read the Word. Second before and after we read the Word we must pray and ask God for guidance and wisdom and knowledge. Third, be involved in a solid bible based church that teaches the Word (not some watered down version of it…but the Word…giving you the original Hebrew and Greek meaning of words and teaching you comparing scripture to scripture.) Fourth, pray for a solid Christian mentor or two who can help you along you path…someone you can be honest with….someone who can teach you, help explain scripture, and love you through the hard times. Also know when you seek a mentor, you are seeking change…change to become more like Jesus. These are not all comprehensive suggestions but maybe a good place to start.
Chapter 6. A verse that has popped out SEVERAL times in the Bible so far is 6.
For I desire mercy, not sacrifice,
and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.
Repentance is not acknowledging what you did was wrong and then going to church or volunteering. Repentance is agreeing with God so much that what we are doing is wrong that we actually turn the other way and stop doing it. He does not want our sacrifice He wants our Repentance. Our Heart.
Sharing HIS love,