Summary: To encourage people to become legends when it comes to telling others about Jesus.
We’ve heard a lot about legends and legacies this month. Everything from the legends of the Olympics and the legacies they’ve left to the legends of politics like Ted Kennedy passing the torch to the next generation, or Senator Barak Obama becoming the first African American in our countries history to be nominated for President by one of the political parties. We heard about legacies at the Services of Celebration and Resurrection for Charlie Cromley and Ruth Weir on Friday morning. One truth that has been driven home to me through all of this is that we will all leave a legacy. We will all be known in this life and remembered for years to come for something. The question is, what will you be remembered for and is that a legacy worth leaving?
To help us answer that question we’ve been entering the world of Scripture to see how God’s word can guide us in this matter. And what we’ve learned is that what God considers to be a worthy legacy is probably different than what most of us would have considered.
For example we’ve learned that God wants us to be known for loving Jesus more than anything, becoming mighty in the Scriptures, and pursuing holiness. Today we conclude the series with the greatest legend and legacy of all times and it’s not about Michael. The greatest legend and legacy of all times centers around a man named Hosea.
[S] “The LORD said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulterous. Love her as the LORD loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.” So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and about a homer and a lethek of barley. Then I told her, “You are to live with me many days; you must not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man, and I will live with you.” For the Israelites will live many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without ephod or idol. 5 Afterward the Israelites will return and seek the LORD their God and David their king. They will come trembling to the LORD and to his blessings in the last days.” [S]
The word of God, for the people of God. Thanks be to God.
Hosea grew up in northern Israel, the region of Gilead. He was a wealthy bachelor, a man of deep compassion, loyal, and apparently politically astute. He was by what I can all accounts a respected community leader. But more importantly he was someone who loved and obeyed God.
One day the Lord God spoke to Hosea. And it wasn’t what Hosea wanted to hear. God couldn’t be serious. Hosea had to have misunderstood something. Surely God wouldn’t ask someone like him to do such a thing. His friends would ridicule him. His family would disown him. The religious leaders would shun him. After a few sentences I could imagine Hosea putting his fingers in his ears and said, “I’m not hearing this, la la, la, la, la.” I suspect that if Hosea came to you for advice on this you’d most likely respond by saying something like, “Surely you’ve misunderstood. I don’t think God would ask anyone to do that.”
What was it that God wanted Hosea to do that was so controversial? Love. God wanted Hosea to marry a woman, named Gomer. As you can all ready tell by her name, Gomer was not your typical woman. Listen to these words from the Old Testament, the Hebrew Scriptures of Hosea 1.2 and you’ll understand. “God said to Hosea, Go and marry a prostitute [New Living Translation] The NIV says, “Go take to yourself an adulterous wife…” God wanted Hosea to provide for, protect, and cherish and commit to a woman who had a history of being sleazy, slept around, sinful, non-committal and unfaithful.
How do you imagine Hosea might have responded? [S] I think he said something like, “No way, Yahweh!” But instead, Hosea obeys and sets out to love a woman who knew little about real love.
Now, how does one go about choosing a mate in this situation? How does one identify which promiscuous woman will make him happiest? How does one go about choosing the right wrong woman to marry? Did he use e-harmony? Did he ask for names from acquaintances? Did he date around? And if so, how awkward is that. I mean what does one talk about on their first date? So, what do you do for a living? What are your work hours? How long have you been in business? Whatever his criteria were, he chose a woman named Gomer. [S]
Hosea proposed and they were married. Over the next several years three children were born. Not one of them fathered by Hosea. Hosea’s fears came true. His wife had been unfaithful to him just like he told God she would, and not just once, but three times!