Gomer, Hosea, Christ

When the Lord first began speaking to Israel through Hosea, he said to him, “Go and marry a prostitute, so that some of her children will be conceived in prostitution. This will illustrate how Israel has acted like a prostitute by turning against the Lord and worshiping other gods.” So Hosea married Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim, and she became pregnant and gave Hosea a son.
Hosea 1:2-3 NLT
http://bible.com/116/hos.1.2-3.NLT

This isn’t Hosea finding a whore on his own and saying,  “God, make her mine.”  No,  many men have been enticed by their eyes and their flesh to chase after the harlots of this age that don’t even walk the streets,  but that peddle their bodies to men unknown from their own bedrooms over the Internet. And the same can be said for these foolish men who send indiscreet and inappropriate pictures to the daughters of God, who seek to commit incest with sisters in Christ who are to be another man’s wife. We don’t get to twist this passage into something that justifies sexual immorality, fornication, prostitution, exhibitionism, perversion – because it does not. These things are still part of the “shall not inherit the kingdom of God” that we find in Galatians 5.

No, this is God saying to Hosea that he will do as God instructs, even if Hosea is aware of the risks and danger and ridicule and embarrassment and betrayal that will come from marrying such a woman – He has to trust that God has a meaning and purpose that is more important than his own wants and concerns.

This is a different kind of faith than what is sold on TV and from behind so many pulpits that seek to make merchandise of the children of God. This isn’t a message about getting God to give you what you want now. This isn’t about living your best life now. This isn’t about God or His children participating in the ways the law breakers. This is a message about the obedience of a man of God to the calling and purpose set before him by God,  even when He knows the cost to himself will be great.

Yes, this is the life that Christ talks about when He says that we will face trials and tribulations and suffering in this life. This is the life that we hear about when we learn that we will be a peculiar people, strangers/foreigners walking through this world,  living lives clearly set apart from the ways of the world – even as we walk amongst the world and show them and teach them about Christ. And He tells us that the world cannot receive the Spirit of truth,  and that many will go to destruction,  and that if we stand faithful that we will face persecution.

Does this sound like a preacher trying sell worldly promises of prosperity in this life in order to fill the pews with dead bodies and his pockets to overflowing with their money? No,  this is about our God who searches for even one heart that truly seeks Him and wants to know Him and serve Him.

God doesn’t promise Hosea a faithful wife if he is obedient and faithful. And Good doesn’t promise us that those we love and help and serve will return or love with anything less than betrayal and treachery. Look at His example on the cross – He came to them with love and truth and they hated and crucified Him for it. And He tells us to pick up our cross and follow Him,  to not turn back, that true love is to lay down our lives for others.

This is not the sugary sweet half truths that get people excited and distracted by great entertainment and a charismatic teacher and a message that leaves them comfortable as the God of their own lives – that feeds philosophical ideals and life lessons,  but leaves them no closer to a godly, righteous life with Jesus as Lord of their lives, with His will being done in their lives. It is vanity, repackaged and sold religious materials sold by the DVD and book and thirty that bears the names of men,  and companies, instead of the name of God. It is the fleecing of the flock by the wolves, while Jesus told us that His disciples will feed His sheep (not feed off of them).

Hosea obeyed.

Hosea faced disappointment.
Hosea faced betrayal.
Hosea faced embarrassment.

Because his whore wife did what whores do, she committed adultery, she went to the only thing that she knew. Because Hosea knew God, but his new wife did not. There are many we will help and serve as followers of Christ who will hurt us and betray us, but it is not about us.

Yes, this is the hardest idol to lay down – self. It is not about you,  friend. It is about Christ who either lives in you or who is waiting for you to hear His call. And I’m not selling you rainbows and sunshine and lollipops – I’m saying, count the cost. If you believe Him,  then it is clear that there is nothing in this world worth your eternal soul,  no matter the trials and tribulations that you might face.

Then the Lord said to me, “Go and love your wife again, even though she commits adultery with another lover. This will illustrate that the Lord still loves Israel, even though the people have turned to other gods and love to worship them. ” So I bought her back for fifteen pieces of silver and five bushels of barley and a measure of wine.
Hosea 3:1-2 NLT
http://bible.com/116/hos.3.1-2.NLT

And after Hosea’s wife proved herself unfaithful and returned to her adultery – God didn’t tell Hosea that he had the legal grounds to divorce his wife. No, God tells him to go and love his wife again. And it even cost him to buy her back. This sounds costly, this sounds like sacrifice, this sounds like it would have been impossible for a proud man – and you’re right, but for a humble man,  submitted to God’s will it is just another act of faith.

And this act of faith wasn’t to build up or equip Hosea, or to buy Him any more love or favor from God who already loves Him fully – this act of faith was about being a clear find visible example of faith to a rebellious nation. Our acts of faith are meant to be a living testimony to a dark,  lost world – even when it has a cost – ESPECIALLY when it has a cost.

Yes, at some point,  we were Gomer and needed rescue by Christ (our personal Hosea). But if you are married to Christ in baptism,  and if He’s even bought you back from your rebellious ways with the Holy Spirit that lives in you – don’t we see that at some point we should be realizing that the world needs us to be more like Hosea? How many of us still think of ourselves as Gomer when He is telling us,

“You are forgiven, you are born again, you are no longer like Gomer, you are like Hosea. I have not only given you a new name in Christ, I have come to live in you and to bring life to the world by raising up my children. Stand up, Child of God – you are called to your pups and mission. You are no longer Gomer,  but I send you out to the Gomers of this world, like sheep among wolves. But I am with you always. Go and let them see Christ who lives in you.”

The Betrayer

Jesus tells us to take up our cross and follow Him.

He tells us to not look back,  and to follow Him with complete abandon.

He tells us to love our enemies.

He tells us to see past the false security of personal wealth and to consider everything that we have to be His to be shared with those around us who have needs instead of stock piling things and wealth for ourselves.

He tells us to trust in Him alone for our security.

He tells us to “Go and sin no more”.

He tells us to love others, to preach this gospel to the ends of the earth, to make disciples, and to baptize in His name.

He doesn’t say that it is easy, but He does say that His burden is light, He tells us to count the cost, and if we value His Kingdom,  if we value Him above all other things that might stand as idols between us and the Lord – we will forsake all things for Him.

“Listen to me and remember what I say. The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of his enemies.”
Luke 9:44 NLT
http://bible.com/116/luk.9.44.NLT

How many times have I betrayed Christ into the hands of His enemies with the sins of my life?

How many sins have I placed upon Him at the cross?

How many stripes within His flesh were because of the works of my iniquities and disobedience and rebellion against the will of God?

How many of the thorns upon His head were the pains of my thoughts,  words,  and actions in opposition to a just and righteous God who created me in His image to bring honor and glory to His name?

How many strikes of the hammer upon the nails were from my selfish pride and vanity?

Oh,  Lord,  I have failed you miserably with the example of my life. I look upon your perfection and your glory and I see all the more in my own life that needs the healing that your touch alone can restore and redeem to righteousness. As I draw closer to understanding the beauty of your grace,  I am overwhelmed by the inadequacy of my own works and words and thoughts and shortcomings. I am humbled by the magnitude of evidence pulled against me by the accuser,  Lord. By all rights and accounts, I have betrayed you into the hands of your enemy,  Oh Lord,  and my very soul,  my heart inside my body cries out, “Let it not be so that I would be the betrayer of my love, my bridegroom,  my Savior,  my Lord”. But my own words now only testify to what you,  Lord already know to be true. My life is far from perfection, it is worthless beside the glory of your example. So I am thankful for grace,  for your tender mercies Lord. Keep me here, faithfully in your presence. Let me not escape your presence. Let me cling to the hem of your garment, let my tears wash your feet, and let me kiss them,  Oh Lord. Lead me in your ways along this narrow path – I have counted the cost c and the world has nothing to offer me if I can’t have you,  Lord. But you ARE mine,  and I AM yours. Take my hand,  beloved,  and walk with me in eternity.