Summary: The Gospel According to Hosea The Anatomy of Spiritual Adultery, part 7
The Gospel According to Hosea
The Anatomy of Spiritual Adultery, part 7
We are midway in our summer series, The Gospel According to Hosea, looking at God's faithful love toward an unfaithful people. Let me recap. The first three chapters set the stage for how we see God responding to Israel's idolatry/adultery. God is described as a faithful and loving husband who has been cast aside by a persistently wayward wife. Last week in chapter six we looked at the Anatomy of Spiritual Hypocrisy, this week we will look at the Anatomy of Spiritual Adultery looking at five characteristics that describe spiritual adultery. Israel is now a nation in decline, losing their position, their power, their wealth, and their military might but are in denial about it,vainly attempting to maintain what God is stripping away from them. So they turn to other nations, looking for political allies only to find greater bondage.
1. Ignores the Truth of God's word (1-3)
Spiritual adultery ignores God's word. It does not happen overnight but is usually a slow drift that before long you realize you are far from God. It never even occurred to Israel that there was even a problem. But God remembers all their evil; it does not escape his presence. If you remember from last week, Israel was religiously devoted but devoid of true faith, religious devotion only blinded them to their need to repent. God was turning them over to their own sin. Maybe they misunderstood Gods mercy, his withholding judgment, as indifference but God remembers all their sin and is ready to act. They ignored that he chose them and made them the particular object of his affections and had become calloused to his word. It no longer penetrated their hearts when they heard it.
In contrast listen to what the psalmist says about his love for the word, “my soul is consumed with longing for your rules at all times or how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day”.
2. Is Fueled by our Passions (4-7)
Hosea describes the heart like a slow burning fire ready to flare up and burn; a heart on fire. Our passion are our desires, our wants, our longings, yearnings. They can't be controlled or contained and determine the decisions we make. When that happens love and loyalty are thrown out the window and the self rules and reigns as king to get what you want. Spiritual adultery is desire on fire, stoked by the choices that reinforce it. Spiritual adultery often comes disguised as good things like marriage and family and work. Remember idol worship is more than bowing to totem poles, it has more to do with the desires of the heart that have gone awry. What do you desire more than Christ? Not the Sunday School answer but truly what is more important than Jesus to you at this stage of life? What are you passionate about? What do you get fired up about? What do you think about? What makes you mad or sad or stressed when you don't get something you want? Where do you violate Scripture to get what you want? Go into debt to get that new thing? Skip church to sleep in or watch sports. Or skip small group to catch a movie. It is the normally the little choices that determine the direction of our lives not the big ones. This is why we are told to wage war against desires of the flesh.
3. Blinds us to Reality (7-9)
We can be engaged in spiritual adultery and things can look normal. You are still going to church, continuing your devotional life, involved in life group, even serving, and your relationships are intact good but soon the desires for God are choked out as these competing desires are fed and become all consuming. This showed up in Israel killing their kings and putting up new ones without consulting God. And they were so enmeshed with the nations around them, they had lost their uniqueness as the people of God that you could not tell they were the people of God. They are described as having grey hair but did not know it. Most of us remember our first grey hairs. Women pluck them out or color their hair to deny it; men purchase grecian formula. Eventually you become spiritually hollow, an empty shell of your former vitality. John calls this losing your first love. This is one way the church is a means of grace for our spiritual health. Others can generally see our sin better than we can. Hebrews 3:12-13 tells us to take community seriously. First, we are warned to be wary of an evil, unbelieving heart that can lead us away from God. It is also described as hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Second, we must speak the truth to one another daily to protect us from a hard heart. And third, we must listen to each other to protect us from developing a hard heart that leads to falling away.