Have you ever read the book of Hosea?
Hosea is one of the Old Testament Minor Prophets and he had quite a unique ministry and quite a unique life. He lived about 700 years before Christ was born in the kingdom of Israel. During his life the kingdom of Israel was destroyed by the Assyrians (722 B.C.). His prophecies and messages were given around the same time of the Old Testament prophets Micah and Amos and much of their messages called for Israel to repent or face certain judgment for their sins.
Before we start in on Hosea let’s talk about prophecy concerning judgment. In the Old & New Testaments we find many, many prophecies concerning judgment. Many of these prophecies were fulfilled in the times of the Bible and many remain unfulfilled; waiting for the Tribulation period spoken of in both Testaments. You find that prophecies come in two forms concerning judgment; the prophet is either proclaiming a warning or is delivering a decision. God always delivered warning after warning to His people, making a way for them to avoid the judgment. Divine decisions on judgment were only proclaimed after many warning of judgment went unheeded.
The judgment of God is not something we like to talk about in the Christian church. Most of the time we fall into one of two extremes; we either refuse to judge anything because “judge not lest you also be judged” or we become extremely legalistic, stifling the life and joy out of our faith. We need to fall somewhere in the middle of these two.
The truth of the matter is that grace and mercy are the message of the day. However, justice and judgment are waiting just off stage. God’s great invitation goes out to the world. He bids us to come and drink freely of the waters of life. He offers cleansing and forgiveness of sin through faith in Jesus Christ. He promises to remove our sins from us as far as the east is from the west. The Bible says that, God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to the knowledge of the truth. (2 Peter 3:9). Today is the day of salvation, now is the accepted time. (2 Corinthians 6:2)
I urge you to consider the gospel of Christ; to accept the gift of God’s grace and receive salvation. There comes a time when the message of mercy and grace gives way to the message of justice and judgment. For each of us it will happen at a unique time; it happens the moment we leave this earth. Our opportunity for grace is tied to our life on this planet. We must answer God’s invitation while we are here. The opportunity will not exist once we leave. Read these scriptures.
And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment (Hebrews 9:27)
For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants. (John 3:16-21)
Before we move any further in discussing Hosea I urge you to avoid the judgment spoken of above by making Jesus both Savior and Lord of your life.
Hosea’s life was to be an allegory to the people he prophesied to. In verse two of chapter one Hosea is instructed by the Lord to marry a prostitute and to have children with his new wife. Hosea marries the prostitute Gomer at the Lord’s instruction and has three children with her. God gives him the name for each of the children.
- Jezreel – meaning “God scatters”
- Lo-ruhamah – meaning “not pitied”
- Lo-ammi – meaning “not my people”
Gomer is not faithful to Hosea, but commits adultery. She leaves Hosea and ends up in debt, living as an indentured servant. Hosea goes looking for her at the Lord’s instruction. He pays all of her debts and brings her home.
Hosea begins to speak of Israel’s spiritual adultery with God. He begins to outline how they have broken His commands and have ceased to worship Him and in fact, are now worshipping other gods. Call after call to repent is issued along with a warning of impending judgment if the people do not repent.
The message of the cross is clearly written in these pages. God is love with you now. God is in love with you tomorrow; just as God was in love with you yesterday. Your condition, your worthiness or even your willingness to be loved are never a factor for God. He loves you.
God loves you when you are in the church worshipping Him, and He loves you when you refuse to accept His Son as Savior.
Just as Hosea searched for Gomer after she had betrayed him, her children and herself so God through Christ came to seek and to save all that are lost. You may have never known Jesus, but He is searching for you. You may have run away from Jesus, but He is still searching for you.
It may feel like you have been scattered. It may feel like you have not been pitied. It may even feel like you are not worthy to be a child of God. This is what God had to say to the people who Gomer was representing:
I will also have compassion on her who had not obtained compassion, and I will say to those who were not My people, You are My people! And they will say, You are my God! (Hosea 2:23)
Come, and let us return to the LORD; For He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up. (Hosea 6:1)
I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely, For My anger has turned away from him. (Hosea 14:4)
Here are some key observations from the story of Hosea & Gomer:
- God may send you to people on whom the world and the church look down upon – He loves them
- God’s love continues to search for us, even when we Have left him
- God consistently warns of judgment for those who turn away from Him
- God welcomes the repentant sinner home with love and compassion
This message will hit you differently depending on where you are in relationship to Jesus at the moment.
God loves people, even when people make themselves hard to love. God never gives up on people even when people may have given up on themselves.
Grace and mercy are preaching into your life today; I urge you to repent of your sin and give your life to Christ. Justice and judgment await all of those who do not answer the message of God’s grace – please avoid doing this at all costs.