Would you have married your husband (or wife) if you knew they would be unfaithful? Would you have promised to love and honor and devote the rest of your life to a person who disrespected and hurt you with continuous infidelity?
Hosea was a prophet; a man of God who lived about eight hundred years before Jesus was born. His story is told in the book of…Hosea. God commanded Hosea to do something pretty crazy. He told him to marry Gomer, a known prostitute. So Hosea obeyed God, and Gomer kept running off to sleep with other men. Awesome, right? But God instructed Hosea not to leave his unfaithful, ungrateful wife. He even had Hosea go and buy her back from a man to whom she had sold herself as a sex slave.
Hosea 3:1 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.”
God did this to show through Hosea and Gomer the unfailing love and faithfulness he has for his people, even though they (we) were repeatedly unfaithful to him. Hosea is a picture of Christ.
Return, O Israel, to the LORD your God, for your sins have brought you down. Bring your confessions, and return to the LORD. Say to him, “Forgive all our sins and graciously receive us, so that we may offer you our praises….The LORD says, “Then I will heal you of your faithlessness; my love will know no bounds, for my anger will be gone forever. …
In the same way, Jesus came to buy us back. We are the unfaithful ones in this story, hell-bent on the sin we love so much more than God. He went to the cross anyway “while we were yet sinners” to die in our place, to set us free, and to bring us back to God. Jesus didn’t pay with silver. He paid with his life.
By the way, Hosea’s name means “salvation”.
The Bible tells the truth about human nature, doesn’t it?
Do you know what God’s people (aka the church) are called? The bride of Christ.
We’ve all been Gomer at one time or another. Some of us more often than we’d like to admit. We’ve run after things we think will satisfy more than Jesus. Thankfully, Galatians 5:22-23 tells us we can grow in faithfulness with the help of the Holy Spirit. Phew.
So what does it look like to be faithful to God?
He must be our everything. We spend time with him. We love him. We read his Word and obey it. We don’t run after our own selfish desires, but are satisfied in God, trusting in his good plans for his people. We stay the course. Day after day, we walk alongside him, fully devoted, fully obedient, fully his.
So, let’s be real. We are going to fail at this. Probably every day. But we have to try; more than try, we have to persevere in faithfulness because God is worth it and the devil is just waiting for us to give up. But we won’t. Not if we stay close to him and get comfortable with humility and repentance. He is always faithful to forgive and help us along the way.
Now, let’s be real again. There are people who mess up time and time again (right here!) and then there are those who make a conscious decision to intentionally reject God and run full speed ahead after their own wicked desires. Not only this, but some blaspheme the name of God by saying he approves of the evil they do, and they encourage others to throw off the “shackles” of righteousness and do the same. Repentance is not part of their vocabulary. Don’t be taken in by these self-worshiping, immoral, depraved liars. These false teachers will lead you right to hell. And for the love, please don’t be one. Their future is not something they should be looking forward to.
But, church, beloved, ours is.
One day, by God’s grace, we will have fought the good fight, finished the race, and enter into his presence. And, by his grace, we will hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Amen and amen.
Love you guys.