Summary: A Love story is found in the book of Hosea that can read like a scandalous romance but this powerful message shows how far we will run away from God and how far he will come to save us.
A Love Story: The Prophet & The Prostitute
Introduction: Many times unbelievers think that Christians believe in a bunch of fairy tales and silly things. Harry Blamires describes the two perspectives this way: “To become a Christian is to accept an extra dimension to life. From the Christian's point of view the notable thing about the unbeliever's world is how much smaller it is. The unbeliever is imprisoned in a decaying universe. Imagine you took a child to the theater to see some tragedy like, say, Hamlet, at the end of which the stage is littered with corpses. And suppose you had difficulty comforting the child afterward, so distressed was he at the spectacle of the deaths. "But the man who played Hamlet is not really dead," you explain. "He is an actor. He also lives a life outside the theater. He has a wife and family and, far from being dead, he is probably now at home with them enjoying a late supper.": If there is one word the Christian secretly wants to use to describe the unbeliever's outlook, it is literal . . . like the child who takes the play for reality.” Heaven is a reality. Hell is a reality. Spiritual wickedness in high places is a reality. The ministry of angels is a reality. Those things that are unseen by unbelievers are understood by those of us who believe.
Many times in scripture we read about certain realities that teach us spiritual lessons if we are keen enough to see them and humble enough to learn and practice them. We see Moses delivering the Hebrews from bondage to wander 40 years in the desert as a lesson that we are delivered by Christ wondering through a place we do not belong relying on him as our daily bread until we eventually reach the promised land of heaven. Or we learn from Noah's family getting in the ark that if we desire to be saved from judgment we must take refuge in Jesus. Just as there was only one door to the ark for those with faith, there is only one door to salvation for those who trust in Jesus.
Today we look at another example of a reality teaching us a spiritual truth in a prophet named Hosea.
Transition: Its been said that men marry women hoping they never change and women marry men hoping they will. Well the situation is definitely reversed here. For the purposes of our message this morning lets' break down this love story into three chapters. Chapter one is:
A Prophet's call to love a prostitute
Lets look together in Hosea 1:1-2 - “The word of the LORD that came to Hosea son of Beeri during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and during the reign of Jeroboam son of Jehoash king of Israel: When the LORD began to speak through Hosea, the LORD said to him, “Go take to yourself an adulterous wife and children of unfaithfulness, . . .”
Sounds scandalous doesn't it? This man of God is told to find a promiscuous and wild woman and marry her. The carnal side of us might sheepishly grin at the thought of a prophet marrying such a woman, but once we realize the pain involved we will have great sympathy for Hosea (and for God). God is telling this Holy man to marry a woman with a bad reputation, a reputation for unfaithfulness. who is sure to break his heart, one that he knows will never be faithful, a woman that by her own wicked nature is certain to commit adultery, an vile woman that is destined to cause him endless frustration and monumental grief. The obvious question is why would a prophet be called to marry such a woman as this? In the second part of the second verse we learn our answer:
“ . . . because the land is guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the LORD. So he married Gomer daughter of Diblain, and she conceived and bore him a son” v. 2, 3
You can imagine those who had some integrity left in Israel approaching Hosea and saying “You know Hosea you are very respected among the prophets. Your name is among other prophets in the land (Hosea lived during the same time as Joel, Jonah, Obadiah, Micah, Amos and Isaiah) but we have to say, your decision making is in question. Let's face it, your wife is a disgrace. Why in the world, are you married to a woman like that?!” I can picture an offended Hosea saying “The better question isn't why am I married to a woman like that, but why is such a good and loving God married to an adulterous people like you?” Hosea was married to an adulterous woman because God was married to an adulterous people. By Hosea's harlot running around with other men God was showing Israel that his people were doing the same thing with other gods. In God's eyes idolatry is spiritual adultery.