Summary: A sermon on the book of Hosea in a series of messages focusing on the faith journeys of Old Testament characters.
We are in a throw back series, I mean you know the first clue, the disco ball, the platform shoes, the tie dye, the Cyndi Lauper song but really all of those things are just a throwback of the last 20-30 years. This series we are in, it’s really like a couple 1000+ throwback where we are looking at the lives of those who have sort of gone before us and looking at their faith journeys. Their faith journeys by the way that were recorded for our benefit to enrich our lives, to teach us, to give us hope and encouragement. I mean this is what the new testament says about all of these old testament stories or lives that we are going to be looking into which began this last weekend.
Romans Chapter 15, verse 4 about the new testament about the old testament: Such things were written in the scriptures long ago to teach us and the scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled and so we expect today to be taught something, to be filled with hope, to be encouraged, as we look at the book of Hosea, the life of Hosea, and we are going to get to that in just a moment but first I would like to share with you a modern day story. It’s a story about a young man 16 years old who is unusually called of God at the early age, that’s not typical of that age where someone is called of God into full-time ministry but he has a strong sense of that and so he begins to plot his life accordingly and he lives faithfully with God. He’s an example to his friends of what it is to be faithful, particularly at that young age and then when he goes on into college he sets the example again as he just has this life that emanates love for God and love for Jesus Christ and he goes on then to seminary to get his theological training. He graduates from there and at the age of 27 is offered a job at a small church in Toledo to pastor about 100 people. So he takes this job and it seems to b the perfect fit for him and then he begins to think about another stage in his life and that would be marriage.
He is 27, single, he has been saving himself for the right woman and he thinks he knows who it is. There is one woman in the church who he has had his eye on and he’s going to work up the courage to ask her out but before he works up the courage to do that, he has this dream, a rather bizarre dream. In this dream, God speaks to him and tells him to go downtown Toledo to a specific street corner where he will see a prostitute and he will actually know her name, God has given him the name of this prostitute and he is to get down his knee before her and ask for her hand in marriage. Now this is a really bizarre dream. It’s a very strange what I would call leading from God. In fact, if somebody were to come up to me and say hey Lee, I had this dream and God is telling me to go and marry this prostitute downtown, I’d say maybe you took something before you went to bed that you shouldn’t have or you want to check your sources because I’m sure God didn’t say that. I mean I’m not the ultimate judge on leadings from God but I’m pretty sure this is not a leading from God. But this 27-year-old man out of seminary, he is absolutely sure that God has led him to do that and he took days and prayed about it and in fact God spoke it to him again in a dream so he did it. He gets in his car, goes downtown Toledo, goes to the street corner God tells him to go to and there is this woman. He knows her by name, he gets down on his knee and he proposes to her and amazingly she accepts.
Now, this would be the talk of the church, wouldn’t it? I mean this is like reality TV waiting to happen. This is good stuff and it goes well. That is to say the church is initially shocked but after they get over that, they observe this pastor and his wife, this former prostitute, and they observe them in their devotion one to another and they watch as they have children and some eight years later, they are a picture of a great marriage, three children but then things fall apart, completely apart. This woman who has been brought out of this pit of a life, who has devoted herself to her husband for eight years and her children, he has devoted himself to her. She goes back to prostitution, same street corner, same pimp. Can you imagine the heartache of this pastor now 35-years old, after he does this crazy thing, he proposes to a prostitute he doesn’t even know, he learns to love her and to love her deeply, to devote himself to her and then she goes back to where she came, to prostitution. Imagine what’s going on inside of him and what is happening inside his gut and his heart. I can’t imagine. I’m sure his heart was torn in pieces.