Summary: When God's people as a whole fail to be light, we as individual believers can still SHINE.
God's Tough Love for His Dysfunctional People
[Note: I tossed my original intro for this late-breaking one.]
1. Early this morning I got a call at 2a.m. from the alarm company.
2. We had the police out to check things out, all was well.
3. Terry told me about starting a new job as school custodian. When he came in at 6a.m., he set of the alarm and did not know the code. He had to wait for the police.
4. We all know what it is like to be in a predicament.
5. Hosea was in such a predicament, and God made it even worse by commanding him to marry a woman that was part of the problem, not the solution.
6. So what do you do? You choose to shine.
Main Idea: When God's people as a whole fail to be light, we as individual believers can still SHINE.
I. The CHANGING Times of Hosea (1)
A. Name similar in meaning to JESUS
B. Northern Kingdom (Israel): New Heights, New DEPTHS
C. Israel guilty of SPIRITUAL ADULTERY
Becoming big in the U.S.:
Wiccan churches and other Neopagan institutions are becoming more common in the US. However, estimates of their numbers vary widely. Most of the 1990s studies put the number of US Neopagans between 200,000 and 1 million (0.1% to 0.5% of the total population). A 2008 Pew Forum survey put "New Age" religious believers, including Neopagans, at about 1.2 million.
D. Hosea HIMSELF
1. Only know what the book records (North. dialect)
2. The "word" of the Lord came… (davar = communiction)
3. Preached over 50 years
E. Theme: God's STEADFAST LOVE (hassed) for Unfaithful Israel
II. The LIFE of Hosea as Figurative of Israel (2-10)
A. Hosea's DYSFUNCTIONAL Marriage to Gomer (2-3) [discuss; like military, giving life for country; sacrifice of the individual for the corporate, Hosea makes sacrifice in an attempt to bring Israel to repentance and make God's point]
B. Hosea's Children's NAMES
1. Jezreel = God sows, in this case judgment
2. Lo-Ruhamah = unpitied
3. Lo-Ammi= not my people
C. God holds even dysfunctional people RESPONSIBLE for their choices (6-9)
1. God holds us accountable for what we do, not matter our backgrounds
2. God's longsuffering is limited
3. God always has a remnant (Judah here)
4. God saves/delivers his people by his own invisible might, not ours
5. Who would think that God would provide salvation for mankind by the cross? The idea seems absurd; if it doesn't, it's because you are used to it
D. Despite God's anger at Israel, the future is UNALTERED (10-11)
• In this case, Jezreel implies God sowing blessing
• By using the phrase, "Sand of the Seashore," God reminds Israel that he will ultimately bless them no matter what they do; unconditional announcement
• When Paul writes, "All Israel will be saved" (Rom. 11:26), he refers to the final generation of Jews living at the end of the Tribulation (Zech. 13:8-9)
• They will unite under on leader, the Messiah
E. Our Challenge: Shining ALONE if necessary
1. Hosea was willing to stand alone
2. God has his "remnant"
3. Standing alone is hard, but God sometimes calls us to do so
1. Are you willing to stand among an ungodly people?
2. Where must you stand alone: at work? at home? in church?
3. Do you stand against spiritual enemies, or people with whom you have exaggerated differences? Do you make yourself into the righteous martyr for causes that are not that crucial?
4. Or do you stand when it is important to stand, like Hosea?