Summary: Gomer's unfaithfulness as a symbol of us, and Hosea's humility in purchasing back his bride as a symbol of Christ's humility to come and suffer for us.
The King Comes for His Bride
If you are a little down, and looking for a pick-me-up, the Minor Prophets are probably not the thing to read. Usually within them are some fantastic nuggets of encouragement, and prophecies about Christ's redemption, however, most of what they have to say can be quite discouraging.
The Books of Amos and Hosea fall into this camp. Amos is written to the northern kingdom of Israel, telling them that since they have abandoned the Lord, the Lord will destroy them. God is so displeased with Israel that he is going to kick them out of the land, and that even if any left alive look for Him, they will not find Him.
The people respond by telling Amos to shut up and go away. We will pick back up with him in next week’s lesson, which includes the oldest Pun known to man!
Hosea is written to both the northern and the southern Kingdom, known as Judah. While it contains the same condemnation of sin, and promise of cleansing of the land, it includes in it more elements of prophecy relating to the redemption of God’s people by Christ. As a review, after Solomon died, the Kingdom of Israel was divided in two, with the southern half renamed Judah. Because the temple was in Judah, the king of Israel set up false gods so that the people weren’t trying to go to Judah and worship, but would stay in the Northern Kingdom.
Both Hosea and Amos put before us the bad news of how sin tears the people of God away from our Creator. The Good news is, however, that, though Israel abandoned God, God came back to redeem his people. This morning I would like to look at what it entailed for Christ to come to us, looking at two examples from the Old Testament where God shows his love for his people.
The first from Genesis 15, and the second from our Old Testament lesson in Hosea, which give us an interesting example of a man who gave of himself to seek after his bride.
Read excerpts from Genesis 15:1-10
The word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.”
2 But Abram said, “Lord GOD, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?”
4 And behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, “This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir.” 5 Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.”
8 And Abram said, “Lord GOD, how shall I know that I will inherit it?”
9 So He said to him, “Bring Me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” 10 Then he brought all these to Him and cut them in two, down the middle, and placed each piece opposite the other; but he did not cut the birds in two.
Why am I bringing this passage up? It seems kind of gross creating a path with dead, bloody animals cut in half.
What we see in the animals is the picture of a covenant in blood. One ancient form of making a binding oath involved two parties cutting animals in half. Beginning by standing back to back, the two parties would walk a figure eight between the slain animals, signifying that if they break the oath on their end, what happened to these animals should happen to them.
We’ll come back to this in a few minutes.
We see clearly, in our Old Testament lesson, however, that that covenant in blood was broken. The people of God have turned away from Him, and before reconciliation can take place between the parties, something has to be done.
In Jeremiah, the Lord likens himself to the position of husband whose wife abandoned him. Jeremiah goes on to tell, however, of the new covenant to come. A covenant that the Lord promises to put upon the hearts of his people, that they would Know the Lord.
He promises to come for them.
With this as background, I would like to look at the first three chapters of Hosea. Here we see a husband who is little talked about because of the specifics of his particular problem with his wife. But I think, as you will see, that his case is a great example of what Jeremiah is talking about, a loving husband seeking after his wayward wife.
And while this is a “Love Story” of the Bible, it is a strange and shocking love story. One you might expect to find as the plot of a strange movie on the Lifetime Channel, but not one you might expect to find in the scriptures. And in this “Love Story”, the Lord uses graphic examples to get our attention