Summary: How can Jesus love such a sinful Church? Why does He still love a Church that has often failed Him? Will He abandon us forever, or has He given everything to save us from ourselves? Let’s look at a heartwarming story of adultery, divorce and remarriage in Hosea 1-3.
How can Jesus love such a sinful Church? Why does He still love a Church that has often failed Him? Will He abandon us forever, or has He given everything to save us from ourselves? Let’s look at a heartwarming story of adultery, divorce and remarriage in Hosea 1-3.
Hosea 1:2-3 When the Lord first spoke through Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea, “Go, take to yourself a wife of harlotry and have children of harlotry; for the land commits flagrant harlotry, forsaking the Lord.” So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.
The recent distress in the United Methodist Church is widely known, but little understood. The conflict is the same in all churches, the authority of Scripture, God’s standards versus those of the world. The Church has always struggled with idolatry, self-worship and unfaithfulness to what Jesus and the Apostles taught.
Hosea 1:4-5 And the Lord said to him, “Name him Jezreel; for yet a little while, and I will punish the house of Jehu for the bloodshed of Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel. On that day I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel.”
Jezreel, the fertile Valley of Megiddo, is where many battles happen, and a great battle at Christ’s return, Armageddon. Faithful prophets were murdered there by king Jehu’s family, and it was the place of terrible child sacrifices. We are no different with our abortions. God promises punishment for this bloodshed.
Israel was so named because He prevailed with God. Jezreel was so named because Israel had failed to prevail with God and like a sower broadcasts seed, Israel was to be scattered among the nations. The same is true of unfaithful Christians. Unfaithful, worldly churches end up scattered and dying.
The faithful remnant are tempted to become like Pharisees, creating burdensome man-made rules to prevent sin. God wants a change of heart. Like Protestant Reformers, Jesus criticized human traditions and praised Scripture. The Church has always struggled between fads, tradition and scripture. Jesus preached the real answer, changed hearts, repentance.
Hosea 1:6-9 Then she conceived again and gave birth to a daughter. And the Lord said to him, “Name her Lo-ruhamah [no pity], for I will no longer have compassion on the house of Israel...” When she had weaned Lo-ruhamah, she conceived and gave birth to a son. And the Lord said, “Name him Lo-ammi, for you are not My people and I am not your God.”
A wealthy nation forgets God, and fall into sins. Gomer’s second child seems to have been illegitimate. Hosea would have been tempted not to show Gomer pity. The girl’s name prophesies the end of God’s pity. Israel's infidelity is also pictured in the names of her male and female children.
Hosea 1:10-11 Yet the number of the sons of Israel Will be like the sand of the sea, Which cannot be measured or numbered; And in the place Where it is said to them, “You are not My people,” It will be said to them, “You are the sons of the living God.” And the sons of Judah and the sons of Israel will be gathered together, And they will appoint for themselves one leader, And they will go up from the land, For great will be the day of Jezreel.
This may be referring to the Second Coming, another future day in the Valley of Jezreel, the great final battle in the Valley of Megiddo, Armageddon. Instead of Israel being scattered, the enemies of God will be scattered in that great Day of the Lord, including armies from the east.
Hosea 2:14-15 “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, Bring her into the wilderness And speak kindly to her. Then I will give her her vineyards from there, And the valley of Achor as a door of hope. And she will sing there as in the days of her youth, As in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt.”
The punishment of national captivity is also called the wilderness, but there God would speak kindly to His people. This is the ultimate result of our sins, a Church having wandered from the Bible, goes into the wilderness of sin. Like a betrayed husband, Christ will “speak to her heart.”
Hosea 2:16-17 “It will come about in that day,” declares the Lord, “That you will call Me Ishi [Hubby] And will no longer call Me Baali [Lordy]. “For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, So that they will be mentioned by their names no more.”
Calling Him “my Lord” indicates serving God through fear rather than the love He really desires, revealed in calling Him “my husband.” Fear is how they served the idol Baal, which translates as Lord. Even the name Baal will be forgotten. Ishi denotes marriage and the youthful love God desires.