INESCAPABLE LOVE

Posted by Perry


Hosea 1:1-1:10
CBC 8/15/10 SN
Hos 1:1 The word of the LORD that came to Hosea, the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel.
Hos 1:2 When the LORD first spoke through Hosea, the LORD said to Hosea, "Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the LORD."
Hos 1:3 So he went and took Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.
Hos 1:4 And the LORD said to him, "Call his name Jezreel, for in just a little while I will punish the house of Jehu for the blood of Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel.
Hos 1:5 And on that day I will break the bow of Israel in the Valley of Jezreel."
Hos 1:6 She conceived again and bore a daughter. And the LORD said to him, "Call her name No Mercy, for I will no more have mercy on the house of Israel, to forgive them at all.
Hos 1:7 But I will have mercy on the house of Judah, and I will save them by the LORD their God. I will not save them by bow or by sword or by war or by horses or by horsemen."
Hos 1:8 When she had weaned No Mercy, she conceived and bore a son.
Hos 1:9 And the LORD said, "Call his name Not My People, for you are not my people, and I am not your God."
Hos 1:10 Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. And in the place where it was said to them, "You are not my people," it shall be said to them, "Children of the living God."
Hosea: “most shocking book of OT”
• Jerry Springer material
o “I Married A Prostitute.” “Clergyman’s wife cheats on him.
o His children belong to three other men.
o After selling herself to everyone in town, Gomer ends up as a slave.
o Her husband, Hosea, eventually buys her back for $12.50.
o He claims that he knew she would be unfaithful to him in the beginning, but God told him to marry her.
o God also told him to buy her out of slavery and love her again.”
The first message from the life of Hosea is: God’s love is unreasonable.
Who can explain love?
If love always made sense it would not be love.
It does not always respond to logic.
The thing that God had asked Hosea to do did not make sense.
But then, God’s love for Israel did not make sense either.
The question of the book is not why God would ask Hosea to marry Gomer, but why God would marry Israel.
Why would God commit himself to a group of people he knew would not be faithful to him?
It doesn’t make sense.
If God was going to make a commitment to a nation why wouldn’t he choose a nation he knew would be faithful?
Why wouldn’t he choose people who would be grateful for his love and thankful for his blessings? Why wouldn’t he select those who would be inclined to follow his laws and appreciate the wisdom of his ways?
According our way of thinking, God is unreasonable.
We would choose to love someone who loved us.
We would look for someone we thought would be faithful to us.
But God chose the cast of the Jerry Springer show.
Listen to this outrageous verse from the Bible:
“If we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself” (2 Timothy 2:13).
When God enters into a covenant of love with us, the covenant does not depend on our faithfulness, but on the faithfulness of God.
We keep thinking that God only loves good people, but God loves sinners.
He pursues them like he asked Hosea to pursue Gomer.
In his pain he goes looking for them.
He is betrayed but he longs for them. When they become enslaved by their sins, he buys them back.
The Bible describes our predicament: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.
All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one” (Romans 3:10-12).

But in spite of that, God did something completely irrational
— he loved us and sought for a way to buy us out of our slavery to sin.
The Bible says, “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Peter 1:18-19).
That is why the Bible can say, “You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
Singer Steven Curtis Chapman said it well: “In The Gospel, we discover we are far worse off than we thought, and far more loved than we ever dreamed.”
It doesn’t make sense.
second message that the life of Hosea teaches us is: God’s love is tough love.
Hosea never minimized the nature of the wrong Gomer had done to him.
The pain was real and raw.
His love had been betrayed.
He did not gloss over the situation.
He took it seriously.
And when Gomer insisted on being unfaithful to him, he let her go.
He understood that it was to her own detriment.
He knew what was ahead of her.
She no longer wanted anything to do with him, so she would no longer have his help.
She was on her own.
It was what she wanted, but she could not see the mistreatment she would suffer. She would be used and abused.
She would be called names by those who were supposed to love her.
She would be beaten and treated like an animal.
There would be many things that Hosea could not protect her from since she had run away from him.
She would learn the lessons of life the hard way, and live out the consequences of her poor choices.
As Hosea would later write about people like her: “They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind” (Hosea 8:7).
In the second chapter of Hosea, God describes what he will do to his unfaithful people:
“Therefore I will block her path with thornbushes; I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way. She will chase after her lovers but not catch them; she will look for them but not find them. Then she will say, ‘I will go back to my husband as at first, for then I was better off than now’” (Hosea 2:6-7). As with Gomer, many times we have to learn the hard way that God’s way is the best way.
We waste our lives and our love on many other things until we have been abused long enough that we say, “I will go back to my God, for then I was better off than before.”
Many people have quoted William Ernest Henley’s poem entitled “Invictus,” which praises the indomitable human spirit:
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul....
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
That’s a fine poem.
There is only one problem:
it is not true.

We are not the master of our own fate, or the captain of our soul.
There is another who claims that right. And to fail to recognize that God is the master of the world, and your fate as well, or worse, to rebel against the true Captain of your soul, is to do so at your own peril. If you do so, God will give you your own way, but you will not like it.
His love is a tough love.
The third message that the book of Hosea is giving us is: God’s love is unconditional.
We often give up on people.
Some even write others off, or count them as dead, when their love or trust has been betrayed.
But God is different.
In chapter three, Gomer’s sin has worn her out, and now she is stripped and being sold as a slave on an auction block. None of her former beauty remains. Perhaps she is diseased.
It may be that she is being sold by a house of prostitution, or a slave owner who no longer finds her desirable. Whatever the case, Hosea does the unthinkable.
He buys her for himself.
The price was very low — less than half an ounce of silver and some barley, a grain inferior to wheat.
It was half the price a female slave would normally bring.
Apparently, she was not worth much to anyone at this point, and they were just glad to get rid of her.
In the beginning she was a beautiful woman.
The name Gomer means “perfect,” possibly a reference to her appearance and desirability.
But now her beauty is gone — ruined through hard living, and no one will have her except one man.
Hosea will make her his wife again, a living symbol of God’s unconditional love for faithless Israel.
The Lord said to Hosea, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites” (Hosea 3:1).
It would have been one thing for Hosea to excuse a foolish, even sinful mistake by his wife, but even after he confronted her she continued brazenly in her sin.
She flaunted it.
She mocked him and forgot everything he had ever done for her.
But God told him to buy her back out of slavery.
God asked him to do this because it is what God does.
Hosea was acting like God.
God’s love is unconditional.
King David wrote “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?” (Psalm 139:7). The question is:
why would we want to go away from God? Why would we want to run from him?
The answer is that it is part of who we are.
It is our nature to run from God, and it is God’s nature to pursue us
— even when we are at our worst.
You can never run so far that you outrun God’s love for you.
No matter what you have done, no matter where you have been, he wants you and sees you as his beloved bride.
God doesn’t throw us on the garbage heap when we fail.
There is God’s unconditional, inescapable love.
We see ourselves as we are, but he sees us for what we can become.
The apostle Paul asks this amazing question:
“Do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?” (Romans 2:4).
That is the way God’s unconditional love works.
His kindness leads us to come home.
The Bible says, “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:4-7).
Perhaps you have been unfaithful to your heavenly Lover.
You may have wandered far away.
You may have disgraced yourself.
Perhaps you think that it is too late, or that what you have done cannot be forgiven.
But all you have to do is say, “Lord, I want to come back.
I want to come home.
I will no longer live in unfaithfulness.
I give my myself totally and completely to you.”
When you do, you will find his arms open wide.

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