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Summary: The message this morning is simple yet quite profound. Some of you may be guilty of spiritual adultery. You've made a covenant with God, a promise to love Him and serve Him...but you've broken that...you no longer have the desire to remain true to Him.

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"GUTSY LOVE"

HOSEA 1:1 11

The main concern of the prophets was to communicate to Israel what it meant to be Israel...or to put it in a better way...they were concerned with the nature and mission of the church.

Israel had vowed to give herself to God and the way they would stay true to Him was through the keeping of the covenant commandments. This was a mutual covenant...which both agreed to keep.

But Israel had turned away from the focus of the covenant and denied the very foundations of her existence. They tried to keep the letter of the Law, but lost the real meaning of God's objective...which was relationship.

God wanted to have an intimate relationship with them, to be the very heart of their existence, and He also wanted them to have a close, loving relationship with each other.

But they were a stiff necked people who went their own way and did their own thing. They wanted to be like all the other nations, and do the things everyone else was doing...yet still have God...much like the majority of people today!

Hosea, more than anyone in Ancient Israel (with the possible exception of Jeremiah) experienced in his own life the separation that took place then between God and His people, and is taking place now in the "church." No one was more involved in and troubled by his contemporary situation than Hosea.

Lets Read 1:1 11

The Word of the Lord came to Hosea...initially around the year 750 B.C. when Jereboam II was king military genius...ruled 41 yrs. Best times for Israel. Outwardly thriving...inward, beginning to crumble...decay.

Following the prosperous years of Jeroboam was a stormy period for Israel. 6 kings during Hosea's lifetime...which shows there were continual troubles...especially when we see four of the kings being assassinated with invasions or threats of invasion from other nations.

These were violent times...unsafe to walk outside your house. Most decadent period in Israel's history. Syncretism...mixture of the worship of God with Baal worship.

Israel encountered Baals way back when she entered Canaan. These gods were regarded as in control of the rain and the fertility of the soil. They were worshiped with sexual rites...which they believed was some sort of magical imitation symbolizing fertility.

And so many in Israel thought that sounded like a lot of fun, so they joined in and began to worship Baal. And along with such deviant worship, Israel was likely to turn toward political alliances rather than trusting in the Lord.

They had confidence in military strength and in leadership that was outside the chosen line of David...which speaks of self reliance and rejection of God.

Israel became a wicked, violent nation that was full of idolatry.

This seemed to be a constant problem with these people...but idolatry is not primarily worship of idols. It is relying on anything other than the true and living God. Israel trusted in their king...in other nations...and even religion...but not in God.

But how much different are we today, as a nation as well as individuals? We don't have a king here in America, but we do still have a nation so dependent upon our leaders and what they can do for us.

We are becoming more and more a people who depend on government to take care of us...!everything „Çis a right. We no longer depend on God and godly principles...where is the Protestant work ethic that once was the very heart of our nation? "Why should I work...let the government keep me"

We're no longer a Christian nation, but one who worships creation rather than the creator.

This whole scenario that we find here in Israel during Hosea's time is a mirror image of the times in which we live...the nation in which we live...the whole concept of life in America can be seen in the pages of the Word of God written so many years ago.

Let's look to this man of God and see if God may be saying something to us today through his life and experience...because there are so many parallels between Israel and America...between us and God.

As you know, Hosea gets married to a woman named Gomer.

We have some information about Hosea, but little about his wife. Some say she was a temple prostitute. But I don't believe so. After much study I find that Gomer was, at the time of their wedding, likely a virgin but who later proved unfaithful.

In chapter 1 she is called an adulterous wife, and in chapter 3 it says she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Hosea is able to look back over this entire situation and see the events as a whole as God takes a situation and shows a striking spiritual parallel.

Gomer had three children...but we can see the progression of Hosea's suspicions about her behavior. Notice in v. 3 she bore !him„Ç a son, but there is no allusion to the father in v. 6 & 8.

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