Summary: Sermon 2 in a study in Hosea
“It will come about in that day that I will respond,” declares the LORD. “I will respond to the heavens, and they will respond to the earth, 22 And the earth will respond to the grain, to the new wine and to the oil, And they will respond to Jezreel. 23 “I will sow her for Myself in the land. I will also have compassion on her who had not obtained compassion, And I will say to those who were not My people, ‘You are My people!’ And they will say, ‘You are my God!’ ”
There is a story about a husband who loved his wife more than life itself. She was beautiful in his eyes. She was graceful and delightful and her presence filled his heart with happiness.
Then one day he discovered something about her that broke his heart in pieces. She had been with other men. Not just another man; other men.
It was not for love. He might have been able to stand it if she had fallen out of love with him and in love with someone else. It would have hurt him deeply, but he might have understood on some level. But this he could not understand. She was prostituting herself.
The husband had always provided everything she could ever need. She never had to ask. He was always there for her. He had always been attentive to her and often anticipated her needs and even her whims and met them almost before she was aware that she wanted or needed them.
So knowing that she was going out, leaving the children at home alone and spending herself on strangers was a mystery he could not fathom.
Then it got worse. She stopped coming home at all. She went and lived with other men and acted as though she had forgotten her husband altogether.
Because of his great love for her the husband continued to provide her needs. He took clothing and food and money and jewelry to the place she was staying and, difficult as it was, gave these things to the man she was with and asked him to give them to her.
Then he would watch from a distance and see that the man was pretending he had been the one to give her the gifts, and later the husband would see them out spending the money on evil and harmful things.
As much as it pained him to do so, the husband finally decided that he had to let her go her way and suffer the consequences so that she might realize her folly and return to him.
He stopped providing her with comforts and he stopped trying to make contact with her at all.
Again, from a distance, he watched her diminish. The strangers she had given herself to treated her harshly and had nothing to give her. They took what they wanted and left her to languish alone and uncared for.
He hoped that as her circumstances grew worse she would remember the love and kindness and gentleness with which he had once lavished her and return, but she did not.
Nevertheless, his own love did not diminish and though he knew that she would have to suffer greatly and that her suffering would to a great extent have to be as a result of his withdrawing all comforts from her and even hindering her in her pursuit of evil, he was wise and just and good in his love and those very attributes of his character would eventually be her source of salvation.
LOVE’S PERSISTENT PURSUIT
Now you might be thinking that all I’m doing is paraphrasing the story of Hosea and Gomer. Which I am. But that is not all I am doing. It is not all that is being said in the book of the prophet.
This is the story of God’s love for his people and their spiritual adultery and their abandonment of Him. It is the story of their harlotry with useless idols and their spiritual slide into debasement and poverty and ruin.
It is the story of Love’s persistent pursuit of the wandering, squandering, faithless, which we were, which we sometimes are even as God’s elect, and the pain and deprivation that persistence often requires.
The first thing we need to understand here, is that God does not anger the way that we anger; He does not grieve the way we grieve.
When we are angry it is usually at an offense that we do not feel we deserve, or for a wrong done to us or a loved one that we want to see avenged. Often our anger is selfish and often it is expressed in a burst of emotion that precedes any thought given to the situation.
When we grieve it is out of a sense of helplessness and loss that we could not defend against. Someone we love leaves us, as Gomer left Hosea, and we hurt inside very deeply. Someone we love dies after we’ve watched them slip away while we were unable to hold them back even for a short time. So in helplessness we grieve.