All Roads Lead To Jesus - Hosea

Hosea – Jesus is a Faithful Husband Even to Whoring People
Reading: Hosea 2, Ephesians 1

I have seen the damage of adultery. The tears I have witnessed are countless. The heartache is immeasurable. The number of days in grief is unimaginable. When I counsel a couple that has been fractured by sin, I often wonder what it was like the day they were married.

Was she a beautiful bride who seemed to physically glow? Was he a striking groom who never looked as good as he did on that day? The buzz and excitement of friends and family must never have been matched until that day and since that day. I can almost see the tears of joy from the wedding party, the groom, and the friends gathered. I can close my eyes and envision the giving away of the bride by the father to a man who is sworn to love and protect her. The echo of their vows now dim were absolutely impossible to keep perfectly but they set a bar high moving forward. Trust. Sacrifice. Love. Faithfulness. Joy. There must have been great anticipation of what was to come.

But then, it all comes crashing down. Why? Where there was trust there is only deceit. Where there was a promise of sacrifice there is only self-preservation. Where there was love lies only a broken heart. Where there was faithfulness there is only betrayal. Where there was joy there is only sadness. The anticipation seems to have ended in shattered and broken dreams.

It’s hard to remember that day when trust has been torn in two. It is difficult to remember vows about sacrifice when another person has entered into the bedroom. It is nearly impossible to remember the faithfulness that was promised when betrayal came so easily. Trying to put a marriage back together after adultery is like trying to rebuild a spider web that has been torn apart.

One thing is for sure – the marriage will never look the same again.

If you let yourself enter into those painful words, then you are just beginning to understand the story of Hosea and the pain God felt for His people that had abandoned Him.

Hosea was the last prophet God sent to the Northern Kingdom of Israel before they were destroyed and decimated by Assyria. He had become known as “the death bed prophet” because of the time in which he served the Lord.

When Hosea began his ministry, Israel had been experiencing a golden age that had not been experienced since Solomon had ruled peacefully and successfully. They were enjoying the fruits of this golden age which led them into sin and a turning away from God. Nations tend to do that. When they don’t need God, they go about their own way and do their own thing. History shows that when humankind is left to the desires of their heart, we are all too willing to break the heart of God and of others.

God instructed Hosea to do something no one would think to do. God told Hosea to marry a prostitute named Gomer. And so, he did. The marriage went just about the way you would think marriage to a prostitute would go when that prostitute had no intention of loving her husband. God instructed Hosea to remain faithful to her even when she was sleeping with other men and had children with some of those men.

The prophecies of Hosea reveal the pain of what it is like to not only have someone cheat on you but to remain married and faithful to that person even when they are unfaithful.

Now, we have to be careful here because we could quite easily and inadvertently tie up a heavy burden on the backs of those who have been crushed by adulterous spouses. The point of Hosea is not to serve as a marriage manual. God is not recommending that you should marry a prostitute or that we should remain married to adulterous and abusive people. The illustration of Hosea and Gomer is much more particular and a part of redemptive history. God had a very specific reason for the marriage of Hosea and Gomer.

Hosea and Gomer were an illustration of God’s relationship with Israel. God had always been covenantally faithful and Israel had always been the whore. God had always given Israel reason to trust him and live in a sacrificial way toward Him, but they had always broken that trust and chose to live selfishly. God had always looked out for the best for Israel and Israel had always looked out for their best life now, absent from God’s presence.

We are quick to judge Gomer and to side with Hosea. Isn’t that the way that we roll? Whenever we read history or a story such as this, we always place ourselves on the right side of the issue. But that is not who we are. Like Israel, we are Gomer. And like Hosea, Jesus is a faithful husband to his bride even though his bride is a whore.

The church is called the bride of Christ in the New Testament. Jesus’ end game is to present his bride as holy and blameless. But he did not make us holy and blameless before calling us his bride. Jesus doesn’t make a person clean up their act in order to be saved. Instead, along the road to the Wedding Banquet, Jesus changes us from the inside out. He changes prostitutes into those who can truly be faithful, truly live sacrificially, and those who will truly love him.

Think about the wishy-washy disciples of Christ. Those guys had a hard time following Jesus when things got rough. Their true natures would always rear their ugly heads. It wasn’t until after the Resurrection that they really understood who Jesus was and what the Gospel meant to them. The Gospel transformed these men into truly faithful men who would persevere even unto death. For them, ‘until death do we part’ was everything.

We are very much like the disciples. We make bone-headed decisions. We are unfaithful in little areas and we don’t love God and others the way that we are called to do so. But what about the big sins? What happens when we really mess up? I mean when we mess up “for real”? Is Jesus still faithful to his bride? Does Jesus still love his bride?

The answer of course is “yes”. Jesus loved his bride even when she abandoned him while he hung on a cross. We are told in the Scriptures that the cross was not only the ‘joy set before’ Jesus, but that God’s love for us, held Jesus on that cross. The grace of God isn’t just deep enough for the sins that so easily beset us, but it also covers those sins that bring lives to an end, that crush marriages, that split churches, and those that do irreversible damage on this side of heaven. Because Jesus is the faithful husband to his whoring bride, grace covers over a multitude of sins.

It is easy for the human heart to want to point the finger to all the other Gomers. We want to be Hosea. But we all have a little bit of Gomer in us and a little bit of Gomer makes us in desperate need of a Savior.

God desperately loves His people, even the broken ones. Oh yes, we are all the broken ones. God does not tolerate our adulterous desires. He wants all of us because when we live faithfully toward Him with all of our lives, we experience the greatest joy possible in knowing God’s glory through the person and work of Jesus Christ.

What of those marriages that I have watched crumble before me? Is there any hope? I do think that there is hope for marriages like the ones I described and for those who have experienced different kinds of pain and grief from shattered relationships. The ones that have survived have done so because all parties are somehow able to wrap their minds around the radical grace that was shown to them. They are no longer Gomer. They are children of the living God. I have seen God do miraculous things when his children live in sacrificial obedience and faithfulness to the Gospel.

Today, I thank God that he took an unfaithful man in as a son and made him His own. This is why I live in gratitude. I still sin. I still battle. Some battles are harder than others. But this one thing is for sure, I know that the work Jesus started in me when I was young will be complete when he calls me home. The beginning of the story is grace. The middle of the story is grace. The end of the story is grace.

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