Summary: This passage focuses our attention on God restoration of His covenant between himself and His people. This becomes a call for us to restore our relationship with the Lord and allow Him to purify our relationships with one another.
A Covenant of Love ~ Promises Made
Scripture Text: Hosea 2.14-20
Is your family-life as chaotic as ours is? Sometimes it’s as though we’re going 10 different directions!
I’m sure that yours is no-different. Juggling work and school and shopping and appointments and other-stuff ~ …you might call it an ‘art’; …or, you might-just call it maddening!
One thing’s for sure, …the stress and pressures on families is greater than it’s ever been. And it takes a toll on marriages. Spouses are worn to a frazzle; …we’re distracted and preoccupied; …we’re over-committed, …over- spent, …over-done! And what-do-we-have-left for our mate!?!
And-then-I-think, “Well, maybe it’s just a sign-of-the-times! “Things are different now.” ~ And that’s true ~ …You see it reflected on T.V. and the family-relationships portrayed on our favorite programs. Desie & Lucy – on the ‘Lucille Ball Show’, Ward and June Cleaver, Archie and Edith – on ‘All in the Family’, Eight Is Enough, The Brady Bunch, Happy Days, …and-then you-get to the more contemporary-versions of married-life: Mad About You, King of Queens, Seventh Heaven, …not-to-mention the plethora of comical portrayals of dysfunctional family-relationships, like Everybody Loves Raymond. T.V. programs give us windows into family-life. …I don’t know if we watch these shows to-laugh-and-cry with-people that look so-different-from-us, …or whether we watch these shows because they make us laugh-and-cry at our-own-lives! I-mean… is there a T.V. couple that you wish that your marriage was more-like?
Or… is there a T.V. couple that you are afraid your marriage is too-much-like!?!
I suspect that there’s not-many Ward and June Cleaver’s among us. But-hopefully, there’s not-many couples that are as dysfunctional as Ray Barone and Deborah, on “Everybody Loves Raymond”.
I know it may seem like I’m rambling ~ …but I’m just-tryin’ to-make-sense of the examples and role-models that we-look-to for our own marriages.
And this isn’t-just for those of us who are married. It’s also for every-teen and everybody that ever-will-be married. Family-life and family-relationships are so fundamental to our daily lives ~ But, there’s a confusing number of examples for us to-learn-from and to-imitate in our own marriages. Some are strong and healthy. Others are weak and barely holding it together. In-some, the husband is a strong authoritarian-type. In-others, the husband-and-wife have more egalitarian roles. In-some, there is emotional and verbal manipulation. In-others, we find respect and tenderness. In-some, we discover that there is unfaithfulness. In-others, we see the couple staying committed to each other and “forsaking all others”. It’s amazing… and bewildering to have so many examples before-us.
But, I’m not just pondering the different-types-of-marital-relations that have been examples to me; …I’m also wondering how these examples, …these windows, …these illustrations of married-life… …I’m just-wondering how these influence my understanding of Scripture when it talks about the relationship between God and His people in terms of a marriage.
Hosea is one of my favorite prophets because he laid-his-heart on-the-line so that God’s message could be heard loud-and-clear. Hosea was someone who carried-a-cross, …and suffered-deeply, and close-to-home.
But-this-morning, as we listened to God’s Word, read from chapter two, …it sounds very much like a love-letter. The Lord God is speaking. He’s writing this letter through Hosea, …and laying-His-heart-bare before Israel… He wants her. He wants things to be better. He wants their relationship to be like it used-to-be.
Hosea was one of many prophets that the Lord used to call Israel back to himself. Over-and-over again, they would tell the people to put away the foreign gods; …over-and-over, they invited the people to turn their hearts back to the Lord; …over-and-over, they reminded Israel of the glorious past ~ …when God did huge-and-wonderful things for them; …but, over-and-over the people hardened their hearts and turned a deaf ear to God’s plea.
The prophets began to warn Israel. They warned the people that if they did not turn their hearts back-to-God, …that their relationship with Him would be broken, …and they could not count on protection or provisions or prosperity. Don’t-ya-know, the blessings of God hinge on faithfulness to the covenant? When that hinge is undone, …the relationship unravels and the blessings are no-more.
Do you find this love-letter interesting?
I think it is fascinating that the Lord would paint-a-picture here using the image of marriage. The relationship between a husband and a wife illustrates the relationship that God seeks between himself and His people. In-painting-this-kinda-picture, …Israel is portrayed as a bride.
I. A Bride and a Husband
‘In that day’, declares the Lord, ‘you will call me “my husband”… I will betroth you to me forever.’
God describes Himself as a husband; …and His people are described as a bride. And what-may-be even-more striking is that this love-letter talks about wooing and courtship. Take a look at the verbs used in the first-couple-of-verses in this passage: