Summary: God compares His relationship to us as that of a marriage. Do we know of His love for us and His desire for us to reamin faithful to Him. Are we faithful?
1. Story of two people who fall in love and get married but then things change. Each has different interests and they have little time for each other. Distance grows between them. They were husband and wife - that was a fact, but they did not relate any more in the intimate way a husband and wife should.
1. In some ways this is what we are reading about in our passage from Hosea. God had called Israel to be His people. He chose them and He established a covenant with them to be their God and they said they would be His people.
2. They turned away from Him, chasing other Gods and seeking their own pleasure without Him.
3. As a result God is deeply hurt.
4. God’s reaction to their unfaithfulness.
a. In Hos 1 he says that He will not show love to them and that they are no more His people.
b. In ch. 2 vs. 13 he says that he will punish I. for what she has done, for forgetting Him.
c. But then we see that He cannot let them go.
d. This punishment is not without deep hurt and the purpose of it is to bring I. back into seeking Him - to remember Him. " I am going to turn their hearts back to me."
5. Has your heart turned to God?
a. In vs. 20 He says that they will again have intimate relations with Him and actively live out the relationship they have together with
i. Do you have an intimate relationship with God?
ii. He says "You are my people" and they will say "You are my God"
iii. God created us to have fellowship with Him. He walked with Adam and Eve in the garden, He came after Adam when He had sinned, He came back to His people when they wandered away.
iv. He is the Father who waits with open arms when His lost son comes home.
v. Our emphasis today is on doing things for God or on believing the right doctrines about God, but do we take time to be with God to simply enjoy Him?
vi. Are we like psalmist - Pss 42:1 "As the deer pants for the water, so my soul pants after you."?
vii. Do we long for God as we should, or do we long after other things?
6. Fellowship with God
a. We have seen that as believers we have union with God - the fullness of God is in us and we share with Christ in His death and resurrection.
b. That is an objective fact - we have a relationship with God. We need to experience and live out that relationship
c. This is our communion with God. Our union with God that makes possible our communion with Him.
d. "Does our mind spontaneously return to God when not intensely occupied, as the needle of the compass turns to the North Pole when removed from other magnetic sources?"
7. Some practical yet challenging ways of experiencing God’s presence on a daily basis.
a. WARNING - when I start to try to experience God more it seems awkward at start - getting close to someone not always easy. Like family getting used to being together at vacation time or wife getting used to retired husband being home all day.
b. We need a foundation and framework to hold our communion with God together throughout the day - this is our early morning quiet-time. (Pss 5:3 and Mark 1:35)
i. This tunes our hearts to commune with Him for rest of day.
c. We also need to spend our entire day with God.
i. In devotion to Him - to be devoted means to be set aside, consecrated, dedicated, remebering that we live for God.
ii. 1Kgs 11:4 - see what happens when not fully devoted.
iii. In dependence on Him. An attitude that acknowledges that we need God in all we do.
iv. In delight of the Lord. To simply enjoy Him and being with Him. Pss 37:4 and Pss 43:4)
v. Doing all to please Him. Enoch walked with God and he pleased God. (Gen 5). Matthew Henry says that this means "to set God always before us, and to act as those who are always under His eye, ... It is to make God’s word our rule and his glory our
end in all our actions"
vi. Sharing with God. Includes worship, obedience, confessing sins, and to give our time and money to serving Him for His glory.
8. " I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, (Phil 3:10)
9. (I made a large compass on thick paper. At top was God and other points were hurt, sin, pride, bitterness, guilt, unforgiveness, idols, insecurity, laziness). On this compass where would your needle point?