Hosea 2:1-23 The God who deals with unfaithfulness
Do you ever step back for a moment and look at your life, as it were, from the outside?
Do you ever spend time taking stock looking at who you are at what you value, at what you do with your time and most importantly, at the relationships you have in your life.
Next week well be starting our marriage course and some of us will be taking the opportunity to step back, to spend time with our wives or husbands, and to look at how we are loving and caring for each other.
Im looking forward to it Im sure it will be challenging, but it will also be fun after all, I do love spending time with my wife.
We have other key relationships. With our friends with our family parents, brothers and sisters, children and with our brothers and sisters in Christ.
And, of course, we have one relationship which is the most important of all our relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ and our relationship with our heavenly Father.
Last week I was able to go away for a few days up to Leicestershire, along with a lot of similar people, on a conference for younger ministers. It was a great opportunity to learn more from Gods word and to take stock to ask How am I getting on in my relationship with Jesus
Am I being faithful?
Tonight as we look at Hosea, relationships and faithfulness are our theme.
Last week we were challenged by the Prophet
Hosea and his marriage to Gomer, his unfaithful wife and saw how that gave us
a picture of
Hoseas marriage, and the names of his children, taught us about Gods concerns and about Gods grace to an unfaithful people.
Tonight we move on to look at Hosea 2 its
on page 900 of the bibles in the chairs as we learn about
We learn about what
So first lets see what
Throughout this chapter, Hosea talks to the children of a mother, as we see at the start of verse 2
The picture carries over from chapter 1
where Hosea married Gomer, as a picture of Gods dealings with
Here, the children are the children of
And the picture we get of the mother, of
2 "Rebuke your mother, rebuke her, for she is not my wife, and I am not her husband. Let her remove the adulterous look from her face and the unfaithfulness from between her breasts.
God speaks to
What actions? adultery. Unfaithfulness. Hosea talks of an adulterous look the look of someone who is always on the look out for something more interesting something else to get involved in another person to become involved with.
And her unfaithfulness lies between her breast what she does with her body demonstrates where her heart lies what she cares about and it is not God.
Hosea continues- verse 5:
5 Their mother has been unfaithful and has conceived them in disgrace. She said, 'I will go after my lovers, who give me my food and my water, my wool and my linen, my oil and my drink.'
Were still on the same theme
And Israel joined them they didnt stop worshipping the Lord God but they added the worship of other gods after all, if it worked for the Canaanites, why not and after all, they were still Gods people.
But the people were wrong look at verse 8:
8 She has not acknowledged that I was the one who gave her the grain, the new wine and oil, who lavished on her the silver and gold-- which they used for Baal.
It was not the
Baals who supplied
An interesting history lesson to help us understand Hosea? Well yes but also more than that much more than that.
Hosea uses the marriage metaphor to give us a picture of unfaithfulness.
Last week we saw how understanding our sins against the background of our relationship with Christ should help us to take them seriously not to forget that we are forgiven sinners, but to encourage us to live lives worthy of Christ.
And here again we are challenged challenged to recognise those times when we have forgotten who made us, forgotten who saved us and begun to live as if other things in our lives supplied our needs.
Not many of us are farmers so we dont have weather gods and harvest gods but we have gods in other areas of our lives. We have money gods jobs that mean we can have all the luxuries we desire, expenses claim forms that supply our every need, homes to insulate us from the future.
We have gods to help us pass the time so that we dont ever have to face difficult questions and thoughts, and gods who assure us that we are, as we thought and suspected, and after all, always right that we should pursue our own needs above all else.
Rather than giving thanks to God for what he has given us, and being faithful to him, we turn from God and worship the very things he has given us.
But God has a remedy for this
2. God disciplines his unfaithful people (v1-13)
There is a pattern to the first half of this chapter of Hosea.
Verse 2 starts with a warning and then verses 3 and 4 the consequences for ignoring that warning
Then verse 5 a charge followed by the consequences in v6 and 7.
Then verse 8 and the consequences in verse 9 to 13.
God deals with
Lets look at these three sets of discipline in turn.
3 Otherwise I will strip her naked and make her as bare as on the day she was born; I will make her like a desert, turn her into a parched land, and slay her with thirst. 4 I will not show my love to her children, because they are the children of adultery.
The land will
be stripped bare. There will be no one
in it all of the people of
looks forward, and warns
God is saying to Israel look, if you continue to be unfaithful and look elsewhere for protection then I will remove my protection from you, and you will be destroyed because without me, you cant stand up to the Assyria empire.
Then verses 6 and 7.
6 Therefore I will block her path with thornbushes; I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way. 7 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.'
As we saw in verse 5,
Shell be blocked and walled up she
be taken captive by
And then, Hosea tells, us, then, she might just begin to reflect and say it was better when I was with God, than now.
This is no heartfelt repentance no great turning back to God just a recognition that things were better before being taken captive that perhaps she was better of with God rather than the false gods, her lovers.
And then in verses 9 to 12 God talks
about how he will deal with all that
9 "Therefore I will take away my grain when it ripens, and my new wine when it is ready. I will take back my wool and my linen, intended to cover her nakedness. 10 So now I will expose her lewdness before the eyes of her lovers; no one will take her out of my hands. 11 I will stop all her celebrations: her yearly festivals, her New Moons, her Sabbath days-- all her appointed feasts. 12 I will ruin her vines and her fig trees, which she said were her pay from her lovers; I will make them a thicket, and wild animals will devour them.
The grain and wine which
All the celebrations will cease all
the festivals which God gave
And again, the vines and fig trees, the
And finally in this section, in verse 13 we get a summary of the whole section:
13 I will punish her for the days she burned incense to the Baals; she decked herself with rings and jewelry, and went after her lovers, but me she forgot," declares the LORD.
God will punish
What are we to learn from this?
First, we see that actions have
consequences, and that we are accountable for what we do.
We can see this in an eternal sense. Those who choose to reject God and live without him ultimately get their desire an eternity cut off from God they get what they desire, they are held accountable for their choices they are judged by God.
And second, we see that God disciplines his people through punishment, so that they will see the truth and return to him.
We can see this in our lives as followers of Christ.
Now we need to be very careful here. We need to be wary of assuming that every problem in our lives is because we have done wrong that every difficult situation results from our sin. And we need to recognise that we can often only see God at work in this way a good deal of time after the event. But God may use situations in our lives that are difficult to bring us back to himself.
3. God brings his unfaithful people back to himself (v14-23)
We need to take the warning that Hosea gives us here.
But Hosea not only gives us a warning, he also gives us comfort, because God rescues his people.
We can draw comfort in three ways:
A. The Comfort of Gods Grace (v14)
Because the Lord rescues his people even when they have not repented. Look at verse 14:
14 "Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her.
Israel hasnt changed that much she may have realised that she was better off with her first husband, the Lord God, but she doesnt appear to have changed much she still needs alluring persuading wooing again.
God will restore her. God takes the initiative.
God doesnt wait for his people to be ready he takes the initiative.
God took the initiative with
We can take comfort in Gods grace God deals graciously with his people. God deals gently with us.
B. The Comfort of
15 There I will give her back her vineyards, and
will make the
She will no longer worship foreign gods, instead she will worship God alone, and the relationship she has with God will be even closer than before, verses 16 and 17
16 "In that day," declares the LORD, "you will call me 'my husband'; you will no longer call me 'my master.' 17 I will remove the names of the Baals from her lips; no longer will their names be invoked.
18 In that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field and the birds of the air and the creatures that move along the ground. Bow and sword and battle I will abolish from the land, so that all may lie down in safety.
There will be total peace in the land all the creatures God made will no longer threaten Gods people, and there will be no more war all may lie down in safety.
And the marriage between God and his people will be everlasting:
19 I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. 20 I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the LORD.
in verses 21 to 24, we see again the promise that God will restore
21 "In that day I will respond," declares the LORD-- "I will respond to the skies, and they will respond to the earth; 22 and the earth will respond to the grain, the new wine and oil, and they will respond to Jezreel. 23 I will plant her for myself in the land; I will show my love to the one I called 'Not my loved one. 'I will say to those called 'Not my people, ''You are my people'; and they will say, 'You are my God.'"
But again, as we saw last week, these
We can also look further afield to
C. The Comfort of Eternal restoration (v16-23)
Look again at verse 19. Hosea talks of an eternal betrothal a
permanent marriage. And them look again
at verse 18 no more war no more threats from wild animals. These verses point beyond the immediate
Hosea here is seeing beyond his immediate situation looking forward to the day when eternal peace will reign when Gods people will be always faithful.
As we look at our lives now we know that we are not always faithful to God. Yet we know that there will be a time when we will live forever with our Lord Jesus Christ, when there will be no more pain or sorrow, when we will relate to God as he intended.
1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the
first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the
See how Revelation picks up on the bride imagery picturing the New Jerusalem prepared as a bride for God.
We can look forward to the time when we will be faithful to our Lord.
So how are we doing how is our relationship with God?
Have we been challenged by
Have we recognised that there are times when God pulls us up short to pull us back to himself and have we responded?
And are we taking hold of Gods promises to us his grace to us, and his dealings in the past with Israel, which assure us that he will deal with us as he promises that because of what his son Jesus Christ did for us on the cross, we will be his people God will be with us in a new heavens and a new earth.
Tonight, let us hear the challenge of
9th May 2004