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Thursday, September 24, 2015

A Much Better Understanding (Hosea 2-3)

Unfaithfulness versus Mercy
Hosea 2-3



  
In the last lesson of Hosea, a severed relationship with God was the theme.  We didn’t talk much about the holiness of God, which is also emphasized in the 1st and 2nd chapter of this book.  How we see Him respond to a person like Gomer with her unfortunate station in life also shows His consideration for the nation Israel. even though she was fickle and unloving. She still is in many ways…especially when it comes to accepting the truth of the Messiah. 
Emphasizing His holiness.

When we recognize His holiness we gain a much better understanding of how  loving our God truly is.

In Warren Weirsbe's writings, he reminds us of 1 John 4:8, 16 which speaks about the LIGHT of God and the fact that in God there is no darkness at all. But in the case of Gomer, we see only darkness through her  life of hypocrisy, ingratitude, and  idolatry.

Even though God was compassionate Lord to Gomer (to Israel), He still did not nor does He now condone sin. He will not give way to or pamper anyone who sins. 

God's Standards are shown to us in Psalm 119.  Those standards do not include compromise or tolerating what's wrong or accepting that which goes against one's faith. The Apostle Paul wasn't afraid to stand for his faith.  How about you and I? 

In the last lesson we looked at the severity of being faithless.

Hypocrisy --. (Falseness, Insincerity, Deviousness)  Gomer was filled with hypocrisy. 
Ingratitude -- (lack of care or concern) When she went back, she showed little for all Hosea was doing for her
Idolatry -- (Obsessions/False Ideals/ Symbols/false gods) In Gomer's case, it included a return to her harlotry.        

Israel was so guilty of revering pagan nation gods -- specifically the rain god Baal. She kept returning to her old ways.

God even had to tell Gomer's children to rebuke their mother, figuratively speaking. We read this in 1 Kings 18 and 19. Why would He do that?

God wants HIS own to have nothing to do with pagan worship.

I.      PAGAN WORSHIP
Read again Hosea 2:1-9

What were some of the forms of pagan worship back then?
   Becoming as or acceptance of male or female prostitutes or Symbolically living as a harlot
       Making use of fertility rites and/or selling oneself.
       UNFAITHFULNESS.

HOW DOES A PERSON SELL HERSELF TODAY?

How else might we describe some  forms of pagan worship and or ways in which unfaithfulness is expressed in the actions of people today?

  1. Forms of Idolatry
When we speak of a certain form of idolatry, we are talking about "the state of being pagan; the worship of idols or false gods, the system of unsavory religious opinions and worship maintained by pagans; i.e., heathenism" You can read online what paganism represents: http://www.answers.com/topic/paganism#ixzz1XI1ZrQw8  

It's so easy to be untrue to God or unfaithful and ungrateful or unmindful to God about things that happen which make you begin to look elsewhere for answers. 

Sometimes, people fall into that trap when things are going too well. It is then that a person can easily FORGET to be thankful to God for seeing her or him through a situation, and perhaps take the Lord for granted.

At other times, when life is filled with what at the time seems like an over-abundance of trials, some get to the point where they will find themselves holding God accountable for those problems. What that person is overlooking is how God can and will minister and bless THROUGH the trial.  1 Kings 18-19, Deuteronomy 11:8-17, Romans 1:21, Colossians 3:16, Psalms 100:4  

Why is unfaithfulness to the Lord such a sin?

Warren Weirsbe says, "90% faithful…isn't faithful at all."

Israel (Gomer) lived with the temptation to forsake God for her idols by rejecting the Messiah, and by thinking her own ways and not living with God's standards. The church today like Gomer will sometimes turn to the world system for answers by compromise. This is no different than turning partially away from God.

Anytime we make excuses for the world or favor worldly ways over godly ways, we are showing where our hearts are straying. 

What are other ways you see compromise dangerous 
to you as a Christian?

It says In verses 6 and 7, "I will hedge up your way with thorns, and wall her in, so that she cannot find her paths" A person can never find satisfaction from the things of the world or from the flesh. The hedge as described in verses 6 and 7 is as a wall that we will keep running into when we take our focus off God. Having true. Satisfaction from being too involved in the world will always be just out of our reach.

I'd rather be under that hedge of protection 
with the Lord than out of His reach.

In verse 9 we read on about Gomer's ungratefulness which is also recorded in Deuteronomy 11:8-17But in Romans 1:21 it admonishes us in this way: "because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened."

Being under the protection of God comes from doing His Will. The will of God is simply that. His Will not Ours. The giving of thanks is also God's will. Does this apply to you today?

Colossians 3:16 and 17 says: Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. (God's Will active in our lives)

Psalms 100:4 says: Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. (God's Will active in our lives)

II.               EVIDENCE OF HIS HOLINESS
Hosea 2:10-13

When Baal was trying to get the glory, God decided to judge the people. After He allowed them to go in the way they wished, He could only allow them to enjoy their sinful living for a very short time. The world only thinks it will keep that pleasure. But the world is wrong. That pleasure is always only for a season. 

God in His holiness wants us to see the benefit of living separated lives for Him, not for the world -- the evidence of holiness shining through this situation.

III.    OUR HOLY GOD IS OUR  GOD OF LOVE
Hosea 2:14-end
Through Gomer, we have been getting a good Look at God's holiness due to His love and compassion. Through the children we got a great look at God's grace. It is through HOSEA, the prophet we get a better understanding of the working of obedience, God's will and again His love.

It isn’t easy for anyone to love someone with a vile behavior -- but Hosea continued to love Gomer just as Go in spite of Israel's unbelievable attitude and lifestyle continued to love her. Gomer broke her husband's heart; Hosea went back and got her anyway.

How do you respond when someone breaks your heart?


THE I WILL FACTOR:

14. I will ALLURE (to the wilderness) This speaks of a lover wooing his beloved -- drawing her hand to marriage -- it also is speaking to an alluring through the wilderness but for the reason of getting one to the other side.

15. I will give her vineyards and hope In other words I will give a door of expectation, which speaks of a new life to those who seek Him.

Romans 8:28 speaks of how anything that causes a person to live in defeat, God can turn around and make it a situation of victory if we allow Him to.

16-17 I will take away her speaking the name of Baal. In other words, idolatrous living will no longer have rule over this life. "Israel will no longer prostitute herself before idols, but will love and serve the true and living God." Warren Weirsbe. 

THAT IS YET TO COME.

18-20 I will make a covenant and betroth her This speaks of yielding and entering into a relationship that's everlasting -- a restored  creation. (Romans 8:18-22)

21-22I will respond Or I will hear… When the Lord speaks, the earth will respond, Heaven will send rain, the earth will produce vegetation.

23 I will plant with mercy In other words, sowing and reaping grace.
  
We see here more of the evidence of HIS COMPASSION. When God spoke in Chapter 2 about how He would judge Israel for their wrong doing He also shows there His compassion for those He dearly loves.

IV.              THE NEED TO BE DISCIPLINED
Hosea 3

Chapter three is a very short chapter that continues to show us a bit of Hosea's personal life story. Hosea is once again commanded to take Gomer even when she's unfaithful. Gomer, his wife, had cheapened herself so much by her sleazy lifestyle that she was now up for sale on the auction block.

The price was cheap, about half the price of a normal slave. But Hosea still bought her for himself.

We might wonder why God asked Hosea to purchase back his adulterous wife for apparently Gomer has been on her own for quite a while. By this time Gomer was not worth much in the eyes of many because she was no longer being sold for a high price.

But in  Psalm 40:2 we read: He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. (Will God do this for Gomer?) 

Have you ever wandered from God, the way Gomer did from Hosea? How did God reconcile you to Him when you did?

  • God pursues us with His love. His greatest desire is that we reunite with Him and stay united with Him..
  • Chuck Smith writes: "We may not have been worth much before, after the world had its way with us, but Jesus came along and bought us. What does it say in Romans 5:8  'While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.'" 

Ø  Israel needed that time of purification. We all need that time of purification. 
Ø  God showed Israel His love for them, in spite of what they'd done. He continues to love us in spite of what we do and just as He will not stop loving us
Ø  This part of Hosea shows us there is a great danger with continued rebellion. We don't know when God will say enough is enough.
Ø  There is also a great danger when one reverts back to where she came from. Many backslidden Christians will discover that which shows us how importance prayer is today. 

When we take breaks from God, it is  easy to begin taking Him for granted  --  playing around with the things of the world so much that we get caught in the middle and can't find our way out.

Read again Hosea 3:5.

The key message in Hosea Chapter 3 is to RETURN to God.. The word return in fact is used 22 times in this book. 

These early chapters of Hosea are very much like the message of the parable of the prodigal son which is also about returning to God. Do you think it will be that way for Israel when they finally turn to and recognize their Messiah? 

Israel still has much to go through before she  will choose to humble herself before God as we all know, this being the last days. But when Israel does return during the Great Tribulation, it is then that she will once again seek the Lord and accept Him as her Messiah..

I look forward to when that day comes for the Jewish people.

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