Entries tagged with “Hosea”.


Hosea the prophet, Russian icon from first qua...
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As Seward Church continues its journey through the 66 books of the Bible we found ourselves learning about the interesting life of Hosea.  If you aren’t familiar with this story, it is quite intriguing as Hosea is told by God to marry a woman who would cheat on him, multiple times.

Usually with this story you hear that Hosea was told to marry a prostitute.  But Tim tried to clarify that Gomer isn’t a prostitute at the beginning of the story.   Hosea 1:2 says:

the LORD said to him, “Go, take to yourself an adulterous wife and children of unfaithfulness, because the land is guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the LORD.”

So she was probably born out of wedlock herself and had some issues that made it likely she would be unfaithful.   Her name does make you laugh though.  Who would name their kid Gomer? The language in chapter 1 clearly indicates that only 1 of the 3 children actually came from Hosea.

In Chapter 3 God tells Hosea that he needs to go find his wife, who now is a slave prostitute and buy her back.  Can you imagine having to go pay a pimp to purchase your own wife back?  God says that this is a depiction of His love for us.   2:5 gives us a little insight into what Gomer was after – she was after material things that became so important to her that she would do anything to get them.

She placed those things above everything else and was willing to sell out to get them.  Does that sound familar? She began to idolize those things and then slowly that idolatry overcame her.  Often our sin begins as love, which can be healthy, but as it turns into idolatry we begin to displace God from His throne and worship the wrong thing.

Part of the problem is that we begin to define what it is that is loving for us instead of letting God define love. We don’t accept God’s love because it isn’t what we want. This leads us to create rules that will enable us to deserve that love and try to hide or change who we are.  We decide that if God (or another person) loves us they will provide this or that.  It would be like saying, “if you love me you’ll give me $1,000.” But maybe I want to express my love for you by strolling down the beach together.

As we begin to idolize things in our life, we start to lose perspective and slowly become enslaved to that which we idolize.  We become enslaved to our desires.  It becomes a slave-master relationship (2:12).

But there is GOOD NEWS! God says there will be a time when we will no longer be enslaved to our sins and we will no longer call Him, Master – but Husband. That is a huge relational shift.  Death will no longer reign, but life (13:14).  We will find freedom through Christ’s sacrifice.  You see we are enslaved to our sinful desires, but God sent His son Jesus to pay for our sin – through His death.  And by His resurrection, we are raised up as heirs in the Kingdom of God.

This payment (redemption) and the resurrection wipe our past clean. There is nothing that we’ve done that He can’t undo.  Just as Hosea accepted back the wayward Gomer, God will take us even as bastard children.

Isn’t that exciting?

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We don’t celebrate a traditional advent at The Bridge.  In the last three years that I’ve attended (and its existed) this has made for a different holiday season than I’m used to.  This week Chris’s message was excellent and Bono even paid a short visit!

I must say it was a little interesting using Jonah as the basis for the Christmas story, but it tied in very nicely. The main point of the message was that we should love people rather than judging or condemning them.

Jonah didn’t like the Ninevites and knew deep down that if he presented the message of salvation to them that they would probably be saved.  This happened in Jonah 3:10 “… He [God] had compassion…” Jonah’s plea in Jonah 4:2 is almost funny but sad,  Jonah was so angry about God’s compassion for the heathen! “I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity.”

God does not want His people walking around the earth holding His love inside their hearts or in some niche group and condemning everyone else.  Look what happened to Jonah when he tried.  Matthew 5:43 commands us to love our enemy and pray for those who persecute us.  That definitely isn’t an easy task and it should be done in a healthy and Spirit-filled way.

Finally from Hosea 6:6 we learn what God wants from us:

I want you to show love,
not offer sacrifices.
I want you to know me
more than I want burnt offerings.

Rather than focusing our energy and time on hatred and condemnation, God calls us to be a people of mercy and compassion. (excerpted from this week’s discussion guide)

Application

Chris made a point at the beginning to say that we are often more charitable this time of year, than during the other 11 months.  He clarified that God wants us to live with love 24/7 all year long.

Make a list of people or situations that you need to let go of and focus more on loving those people instead of harboring ill feelings or judgement. Pray for God to help you to do this.

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