Summary: God is faithful in spite of our unfaithfulness. We are saved by grace alone.
A Faithful Husband, Hosea 1:2-11
The book of Hosea is the first of those books of the Old Testament known as the writings of the Minor Prophets. They are often referred to by an Aramaic term “Trei Asar,” which means the twelve. They are called as such (Minor Prophets) not because their messages are unimportant but largely because they are smaller books and perhaps because their messages are specific to a time and place, the way God works with man, or to a rather specific future prophecy.
Specifically in the case of the book of prophet Hosea, no other prophet gives us a more intimate and detailed look at the way in which God deals with His people. The truths of today’s text apply historically and in the future with regard to how God deals and will deal with national Israel and they also apply to the Church.
Our Heavenly Father, the husband of the Church, is faithful even when are not.
I am reminded of the story of the “Two brothers who had terrorized a small town for decades. They were unfaithful to their wives, abusive to their children, and dishonest in business. The younger brother died unexpectedly. The surviving brother went to the pastor of the local church. “I’d like you to conduct my brother’s funeral,” he said, “but it’s important to me that during the service, you tell everyone my brother was a saint.”
“But he was far from that,” the minister countered. The wealthy brother pulled out his checkbook. “Reverend, I’m prepared to give $100,000 to your church. All I’m asking is that you publicly state that my brother was a saint.” On the day of the funeral, the pastor began his eulogy this way. “Everyone here knows that the deceased was a wicked man, a womanizer, and a drunk. He terrorized his employees and cheated on his taxes.” Then he paused. “But as evil and sinful as this man was, compared to his older brother, he was a saint!” (Greg Asimakoupoulos Naperville, Illinois. Leadership, Vol. 16, no. 4)
While this story perhaps highlights the extremities of human behavior in these two brothers, if we are honest with ourselves we will have to admit that not only human nature in the broadest context but our inner, personal nature is heavily bent toward unfaithfulness.
We are often unfaithful in our commitments to others and we routinely fail even in our commitment to our own highest ideals. So unfaithful in the human heart that it is often even unfaithful to itself! In Jeremiah 17:9 the Bible says that “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? (NIV)
Today, as we simply walk through the verses of this text, we will let the text speak for itself as we see illustrated in the life of Hosea and his wife Gomer the way that God is faithful to us in spite of our all too common unfaithfulness.
The central theme of this message is simple: God in His sovereign grace love us faithfully, not because of our deeds but in spite of them. He is faithful even when we are not.
(v.1-2) As in the life of the prophet Isaiah, God instructs us through the prophet Hosea through the imagery of His command to the prophet to marry an unfaithful or adulteress woman. Some have interpreted this passage to say that Hosea married a woman who was already a prostitute. Others have contended that the verb structure in the Hebrew language suggests that she may have been pure but later committed adultery.
Whatever the case may be, this text is clear that she was unfaithful in marriage, just as so often God’s covenant people, His Church, are spiritually unfaithful; turning to the worship of cultural, material, or selfish idols, rather than the pure worship of God; who is the lover of our souls.
In Psalms 106, speaking of God’s covenant people Israel, the psalmist writes, “Remember me, O LORD, when you show favor to your people, come to my aid when you save them, that I may enjoy the prosperity of your chosen ones, that I may share in the joy of your nation and join your inheritance in giving praise. We have sinned, even as our fathers did; we have done wrong and acted wickedly. (Psalms 106:4-6 NIV) After describing at length the manner of their wicked action, he goes on to write “They defiled themselves by what they did; by their deeds they prostituted themselves.” (Psalms 106:39 NIV)
God’s passion for His glory is the root, foundation, the core of His love for us.
God’s desire for us is to find our ultimate satisfaction in His goodness so that through and in us His glory might be put on display. His highest pleasure is expressed in putting His glory on display in His love for us, His love for others through us, and the beauty of our total abandonment to His grace, His love, and His glory.