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Hosea 1-3 One of the strangest marriages in the Bible
Hosea and Gomer: One of the strangest marriages in the whole Bible
Hosea 1-3

Scripture reading: Matthew 24:36-25:13

Today we are going to begin a 3 week study of the Book of Hosea

-The events of the book of Hosea dates from around 760-722 B.C
-Hosea was a prophet to the Northern Kingdom of Israel prior to its fall in 722 B.C., and his ministry spanned some forty years. He was a contemporary of Amos, Isaiah, and Micah.
-His tomb is thought to be near the Jordanian mountain called Jabel Osha
-Hosea, of all the books of the Old Testament that we've read so far, seems to contain the most number of word pictures. Track through the book and you'll discover a vivid imagery not found in many other places in the Scriptures.
-The Book and message of Hosea is built on a marriage that God told Hosea to enter into. By God's command, Hosea married an adulterous woman named Gomer and then he had children with her.
-Hosea's unhappy marriage life depicted symbolically the state of affairs in his nation. Just as his wife left home for a life of prostitution, so Israel had left God to seek after false gods. But as Hosea continued to love his wife and finally brought her home again, so God continued to love Israel and promised to restore her someday.
-Two things stand in marked contrast in the book of Hosea: the love of God and the waywardness of Israel. God is depicted as faithful, caring, forgiving, kind, and loving. God's unfailing love is the theme of the book. Israel is seen as faithless, straying, sinful, rebellious, and wanton. However, just as Hosea's love triumphed in the end, so will God's love work a miracle of transformation in Israel.
-For those interested in the texts structure, ch1.-3 serve as part A to the book and chapters 4-14 function as part B

As noted, the Book and message of Hosea is built on the marriage that God had Hosea enter into with Gomer. With that said, let's read Hosea 1 together.


PRINCIPLES FROM OUR TEXT

1. RADICAL OBEDIENCE TO GOD-- THAT'S ONE OF OUR CALLINGS

Radical obedience is what is required of us in our relationship with Christ. We are to be doers of God's Word. Our obedience, like Christ's to the Father- is to come from our hearts and to be joyful, careful, and complete.

In Hosea ch.1-3 God makes a number of radical demands of Hosea

1. Marry a woman with a wandering eye and a sexual history of sleeping around with other men. The woman's named turned out to be Gomer.
2. Have children with Gomer (not really knowing if they really were his) and instead of giving them names of his choosing, give them names that God had for them. Names that had prophetic significance.
3. Preach a message of the coming judgment of God against the Israelites of the North-- using his marriage to Gomer as a launchpad
4. Redeem his wife Gomer out of slavery (for she had ended up running away and getting into business of prostitution) take her home and love her.

On all fronts Hosea obeyed God.

WHAT DOES RADICAL OBEDIENCE LOOK LIKE FOR A FOLLOWER OF CHRIST?

Note: Radical obedience to God flies in the face of everything our culture teaches.

1. Saving sex for marriage. Not living together before you are married. Not watching porn (which strangely enough, a lot of people consider normal and acceptable)
2. Regularly telling others of Christ and why they need Him as Savior and Lord
3. Tithing 10% of ones income to the Lord's work
4. Forgiving those who have hurt and offended you. Refusing to hold a grudge. Saying no to retaliation
5. Ordering your time so that you have time to use your spiritual gifts in the service of the body of Christ
6. Saying no to media that corrupts ones mind and morals
7. Not talking like those who don't know God (swearing, course jokes, etc) "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths" Ephesians 4:29
8. Paying your taxes in full, driving with insurance
9. Being honest in all matters
10. Surrendering any belief and practice that doesn't conform to the holy standards of God's Holy Word
11. Listening to and discerning the voice of the Holy Spirit who at times will impress very clearly on our hearts things that God wants us to do in His service. i.e Give a stranger a ride, speak to someone about a subject that God has laid on your heart, etc

Reminder: Obedience to God brings joy, peace, the commendation of God, blessing


2. WE ARE CALLED TO FAITHFULNESS

In one of the songs that we sing there is this line "Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love."

Gomer wasn't faithful to Hosea. God's point to Israel was this: You haven't been faithful to me.

In chapter 2, and 4-14 many examples of Israel's unfaithfulness are given (Forbidden alliances with Egypt and Assyria, child sacrifice, worship at a forbidden sight, the worship of Baal and all sorts of other images, corruption, prostitution, general immorality of every kind, violence, injustice in the courts, swearing, lying, stealing, murder, priests being unfaithful to their duties)

As Israel was viewed as a wife/bride to God, the church is reckoned as the Bride of Christ. See Ephesians 5:25-27, Revelation 19:7-9; 21:1-2.

As the bride of Christ, the call is that we would remain faithful to Christ as we await His return.

Faithfulness to Christ is something that manifests itself in our seeking to be like Christ in terms of our thinking and conduct. It's a call to holiness, purity, righteousness, service, forgiveness, love, the pursuit of justice

As the followers of Christ it's important that we regularly examine ourselves that we may determine what changes need to be made in our lives that we be found truly faithful to Christ and his ways.

Sometimes we are guilty of being unfaithful. When such is exposed in our lives, we need to remember the purpose of our calling in Christ and the intended work of the Holy Spirit: that we as the church be presented as a radiant bride, devoid of impurity, to Christ.


3. GOD'S LOVE IS AMAZING. PONDER THE INCREDIBLE, TENDER, UNFAILING, REDEEMING LOVE OF GOD. 1:11-12, 2:14-3:5

Read 2:14-3:3

This undeserved love of God is matched in the New Testament by Christ who "While we were yet sinners died for us" -- taking upon himself the punishment for sin that we deserve.

Further "This is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, sending His son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." 1 John 4:10. Whoever then confesses their sinfulness, asks for forgiveness from theirs hearts, and puts their faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord is forgiven.


CONCLUSION

1. Radical obedience is required of us in relation to God and His ways

Our obedience is to be whole hearted, careful, complete, joyous, willing

2. As the church and as such- the bride of Christ, we are to remain faithful to God.

Spiritual adultery is the sin of following after the world and it's ways- knowing full well that we have been bought with a price by Christ. We are to be faithful and when we are found to be straying we are to return in repentance to the lover of our souls

3. God's love is amazing. We must never lose sight of the incredible, unfailing, tender, redeeming, love of God who does not stay angry forever

God is one who delights to forgive and restore those who humble themselves before Him. With such ones He does not stay angry.

In Christ, God has made a way to be reconciled to Him-- going so far as to having Jesus take the punishment for sin that we deserve- that whoever confesses their sinfulness, asks for forgiveness from their hearts, and puts their faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior, is forgiven.