Summary: This sermon is second in a series of "Open Doors". The theme is one of God who, no matter how far we think He is from us, no matter how far we have strayed, He is there to open a door of hope.
THE DOOR OF HOPE
Hosea 2:14-23 “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, will bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfort to her. I will give her her vineyards from there, And the Valley of Achor as a door of hope; she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, as in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt. “And it shall be, in that day,” Says the LORD, “That you will call Me ‘My Husband,’ And no longer call Me ‘My Master,’ For I will take from her mouth the names of the Baals, And they shall be remembered by their name no more. In that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, with the birds of the air, And with the creeping things of the ground. Bow and sword of battle I will shatter from the earth, to make them lie down safely. “I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me In righteousness and justice, In lovingkindness and mercy; I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness, And you shall know the LORD. “It hall come to pass in that day that I will answer,” says the LORD; “I will answer the heavens, and they shall answer the earth. The earth shall answer with grain, with new wine, and with oil; they shall answer Jezreel. Then I will sow her for Myself in the earth, And I will have mercy on her who had not obtained mercy; Then I will say to those who were not My people, ‘You are My people!’ And they shall say, ‘You are my God!’ ”
Jezreel means it will be sown of God
The Methods of God
He will bring them into the wilderness
A desert, empty, barren place, Why? Because there, alone with God, she would finally realize that He was her only hope. In that empty place, He would lead her to the vineyards that would satisfy her every thirst – all those longings of her heart that she had tried to satisfy at the dried up wells of idolatry. God uses brokenness to reveal our need of Him. In the desert of our brokenness, we are brought to the place where our emotional, spiritual, and physical reserves are dried up and we are made to see that only God can satisfy our "thirst." God uses wilderness to reveal His ability to meet our needs. Israel was familiar with what it was like to be in the wilderness. They had been there before. At one point, faced with starvation, God gave them manna. When they feared they would die of thirst, God gave them water from a rock. When God led Israel into the wilderness, He knew she would encounter hunger and thirst. He also knew exactly how He would meet those needs. He lovingly arranged the wilderness experiences to demonstrate His ability to completely meet Israel’s needs. In the wilderness, we learn that God is reliable; we learn to be God-reliant instead of self-reliant. It was not anger that motivated God to take these extreme measures, but love. She had to be broken from her independence and submit herself to Him as the One who had the exclusive right to meet her every need. That is exactly where God wants to bring each of us. If necessary, He will take us into the wilderness – the place where nothing seems to work for us, where life becomes joyless and barren. It’s the place of brokenness. It often includes broken dreams, broken health, broken relationships and broken lives. But God only brings us to the place of brokenness so that we can experience greater blessings. When God leads us into the desert, we need to understand He isn't taking good things away from us. He is taking away things that we thought were good for us, so that all we will have left is what really is good for us, and so we will depend on Him. When God delivered Israel out of Egypt he led them into the wilderness, to humble them and prove them, that he might do them good (De 8:2-3,15-16), and so he will do again.
He will then allure them
Speak lovingly to them, will persuade them and speak to their hearts, that is, he will by his word and Spirit incline their hearts to return to him, and encourage them to do so.
He will give her vineyards
Vineyards speak of fruitfulness as well as intimacy with the Lord, “I am the true vine and My Father is the husbandman every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He taketh away and every branch that beareth fruit, He will prune it, that it may bear more fruit; abide in Me, and I in you as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, so neither can ye, except ye abide in Me I am the vine, ye are the branches; he that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit; for without Me ye can do nothing; this is My commandment, that ye love one another, even as I have loved you (John 15:1-5, 12), So God brings us into a place of intimacy with Him which releases the fruitfulness of our lives in Him.