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Summary: I think the one thing that God has laid on my heart more than anything else over the summer is the basic desperate need we have for Him. From what is going on in the middle east, the terror alerts to the busyness we have in our lives and the frantic pace

I think the one thing that God has laid on my heart more than anything else over the summer is the basic desperate need we have for Him. From what is going on in the middle east, the terror alerts to the busyness we have in our lives and the frantic pace we live in – I was just reminded how much we as people need God in our lives and in our world and the frantic pace we run at. I was reminded again of how much I need God. How much we as people need God in our lives and in our world. I think sometimes we are going at such a fast pace that we can miss the small still voice of God reminding us of His love and care for us. Reminding us that He has this world in control. I know in our lives in our family we are always going at one hundred miles an hour, just as you are. Lori told me recently as the school year was winding up she took our daughter to preschool for one of her last preschool classes. She pulled up ten minutes early, which for us is kind of rare. Emma looks around and says, “There are no cars here. Did school get canceled?” Lori said, “No, we’re early.” No lie, my five year old says, “What’s early mean?” Some of you know what it means to live life at a pace where we are asking, “What does early mean?” In the midst of all of that it’s so refreshing when you can let your soul catch up with your body a little bit and hear again from God. I hope over the next several weeks we can do that together as we dive into this series, Beyond Boundaries – experiencing God’s radical love.

How many of you are fans of love stories? Do you like love stories out there? All the ladies get their hands up. Guys are like, “Oh great, love stories.” There are some great love stories out there. There’s Romeo and Juliet. There’s Gone with the Wind, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast. These classics – Titanic, Rocky, Gladiator. I had a guy last night – I asked people what are some love stories out there? One guy was yelling Star Wars. Love stories capture us and draw us in. What I want to do with you over these next several weeks is I want to go back to a book of the Bible that was one of the most profound and most amazing love stories in the Bible. Many of you will have never heard of it. I’ve never heard this book taught in a church setting but it’s very powerful. It’s the book of Hosea. It’s tucked away in the Old Testament of the Bible. Hosea was a prophet. He spoke for God. The book is about his relationship with his wife and children, their love for one another. It’s also a mirror picture of God’s love for us. We’re going to learn some awesome things as we look at this book together.

Hosea lived about 755-715 BC. He had this unique role as a prophet of God. That was a big, big deal. Particularly in Old Testament times. Let’s pick it up in the book of Hosea, Chapter one, beginning in verse one. Here we go: “The word of the Lord that came from 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 and King of Israel.” Now it says, “The word of the Lord came to Hosea.” He was the son of Barrie. It reminds me of a time when I was in college and I had a Hebrew professor. He knew the root meanings of names. He would always tell people what a name means. Our class would stay around after class and he would say, “Pick a name.” Joshua – and he would say, “Strong and courageous.” They would get inspired. I’m standing in line one day after class because I want to find out what my name means. This is going to be cool. I get up there and he says, “What is your full name?” I said, “Judson.” It means, “Son of Jud.” I’m waiting… what else? That’s it. Just great. That’s inspiring. All we really know of Hosea is that he’s the son of Barrie. We don’t know much about his life beyond that except that the little bit the book reveals. He’s the son of Barrie. His name has a very profound meaning. His name means “salvation” in the Hebrew language. He was bringing the word of the Lord to the people of Israel.

The “word of the Lord” is a phrase that is used 438 times in the Old Testament of the Bible. It’s a phrase about God communicating to people through special prophets that He raised up in the Old Testament times. He asked Hosea to do something quite remarkable. You pick it up in verse two: “When the Lord began to speak through Hosea the Lord said to him, ‘Go – take to yourself an adulteress wife and children of unfaithfulness.’” Let’s just stop right there for a minute and rewind. Let’s look at that again. “Take yourself an adulteress wife and children of unfaithfulness.” If I’m Hosea I’m thinking I must have had too much pizza. I need some Tums because I’m not sure I’m hearing God on this whole thing. God basically showed up and said, “Hosea – I want you to marry a prostitute. And you will have children from unfaithfulness in your relationship.” God asked Hosea to do something He has never asked anyone to do, that I’m aware of, in the Old Testament before Hosea and He asked him to do something He never asked anyone to do that I know of after Hosea. This was a completely unique thing. Remember, Hosea had this special role. He was the prophet for God. He was the spokesperson for God during these desperate times. God was looking out and His people, those who were called by His name were denying Him, turning their backs on Him, they were worshiping false gods. They were doing all these things. God was heartbroken about it. God said to him, “Hosea, take yourself an unfaithful wife just like Israel has been unfaithful to me.” Basically what He wanted was Hosea to not only speak His words to the people of Israel but He wanted Hosea to feel the pain that He felt. He wanted him to experience what He felt when He spoke those words.

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Stephen Funderburk

commented on Feb 26, 2009

Pastor Jud, I have always seen Hosea as the one man drama, showing the people their unfaithfulness through his marriage. Your thought on God allowing Hosea to feel or experience God''s pain over Israel''s unfaithfulness is a wonderful thought. Thanks

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