Summary: The Gospel According to Hosea The Lord Will Heal You, part 5
The Gospel According to Hosea
The Lord Will Heal You, part 5
We are a third of the way through our summer series, The Gospel According to Hosea, looking at God's faithful love for an unfaithful people. Let me recap where we have been. The first three chapters set the foundation for how we see God responding to Israel's idolatry. God has been cast aside like a doting husband by a wayward wife. Last week we saw that vicious cycle starts with God's grace, God bringing us into his family. Then comes our disgrace, even though God lavishes us with love we don't deserve, we constantly wander from him. Then comes God's discipline, when he brings circumstances into our lives to induce us to return to him. Last comes God's amazing grace, where he warmly receives us with open arms. So whatever you did last night, last week, last month, or last year, the Lord does not look upon you with disgust when you run back to him but gladly welcomes you back. Your worth and your acceptance before God is not based upon your behavior at any given moment, good or bad, but is based upon what Christ did for you on the cross! Christ paved the path for you to return to him on the cross and then he empowers you to come back to him. God took your sin and unfaithfulness, past, present, and future, and put it on Jesus who willingly received it and then punished Jesus in your place. That means he cannot be indifferent to you. He displayed his love for you when he died on the cross and still loves you the same today. Today I want to look at another picture Hosea gives us of our disgrace and God's amazing grace.
A Picture of Our Disgrace (vs. 9-13)
Our disgrace is our running from God and running to spiritual adultery. It is not unusual for me to hear people say, 'I don't understand why I make the choices I do' when we talk about their sin. Let's look at few. First, we do not take God seriously. Israel had been warned repeatedly of coming judgment yet they ignored his threats. They also took for granted God's mercy, interpreting his being slow to anger as leniency. Then they twisted grace into a license to sin. For us this often comes in the form of, 'God will forgive me or grace covers me.' But grace is God's empowering presence, Jesus himself, there to empower us to overcome our sin. Then the last one we will focus on the rest of our time is that Israel numbed their pain with substitute gods. Israel began to see their problems as problems, sin was rampant and suffering from political instability. But instead of looking at the source of their problems, their hearts and their relationship with God, they looked to Assyria, making an alliance with them to keep them from attacking Israel. Their rebellious hearts did not want to turn to God. So instead of seeking God to rescue them, they sought out Assyria; they looked to Assyria to heal their wounds which only God could do. The fallen sinful heart naturally seeks gods as saviors. In our hearts we know something is terribly wrong and instead of turning to the Lord we turn to something else to heal our wounds. So with our time left I want to explore this with you.
1. All of Us Have Wounds (vs. 12-13)
Hosea helps us to see our sinful hearts. This is not just a picture of Israel but a picture of our sinful condition. There are three aspects to our wounds. There is an internal aspect. Our sins are spiritual sores that only fester and grow if ignored. They are signs of our waywardness. Then there is an external aspect. Hosea highlights Israel's moral and political situation, their sin and their suffering. All of us are sinners and all of us are sufferers. The third aspect is that the moral and political problems are the result of Israel's idolatry. Their political problems are because of their moral problems. Because they did not deal with their sin, they were suffering. There is a relationship between the our sin and our suffering. God was not at the center of their lives and the result is that they suffered from the very sins they were committing. Sin is social and relational. Your sin affects others and others sins affect you; you sin against others and others sin against you. But you also suffer from God's discipline. God gave them over to their immorality which led to their suffering from their social and political problems. Then amazingly they sin in response to their suffering by looking to the king of Assyria rather than looking to God to rescue them. So our suffering at the hands of other sinners like us becomes an occasion for more sin. And not only to sin more but to sin in ways that are related to our suffering. Israel looks to the king of Assyria for healing because they are threatened by the possibility of suffering from Assyria's army attacking Israel. The threat of suffering shaped their response. This is insightful to our fallen human condition. Our sin is usually in some way shaped by how we suffer. Think of your sin and suffering as an engine and tracks of a train. The engine gets its power from your sin. But the tracks determine the route you take. What about you? This is helpful to understand why we do what we do but it also helps us to deal with the root causes which help us overcome our sin. Some of you are trying to overcome your sinful behavior but cannot because you are not looking at the root issues of your heart that are driving your behavior.