Summary: The Gospel According to Hosea Wooed in the Wilderness, part 3
The Gospel According to Hosea
Wooed in the Wilderness, part 3
We are in our third message of our summer series, The Gospel According to Hosea, looking at God's faithful love for an unfaithful people. Blind to their own spiritual bankruptcy, Israel was coasting along as though nothing was wrong yet God, faithful and loving husband, pursued them despite their continued wanton wandering. The chapter is divided into three sections. God appeals to Israel to come back to him; then three therefore's, the first two, describe God's discipline; and the third therefore, describes God enticing Israel back to himself.
1. God Appeals to His People to Return (vs. 2-5)
Here is a picture of children pleading with their mother to turn from her whoring ways. We have seen that the language of spiritual adultery, whoredom, is used to describe Israel's idolatry because God's relationship to his people is described in terms of a marriage covenant. An idol is anything that absorbs our hearts and imaginations more than God. Idolatry describes the drift of the human heart away from God being the center. Israel's fundamental problem, our fundamental problem, is that our hearts drift toward idolatry. The book of Hosea tells us that we are wired to be lovers and we have the bent to love something or someone more than God. The human heart takes the good things of life like careers, romantic love, a spouse, children, possessions, and turns them into ultimate things. The heart deifies them as central to our lives, thinking they can give us significance and security and safety and fulfillment if we attain them. And those lovers always betray us and can only bring bring temporary joy and satisfaction.
Yet God relentlessly pursues his people. That is the nature of covenantal love. Contrary to how we choose spouses, God chose Israel not because she was beautiful, prosperous, lovely, but just the opposite, Israel was homely, poor, and insignificant. God's love for Israel is described as a husband and wife and as a Father to a child. In both relationships God chose them despite their homeliness and despite knowing that they would be described as both an unfaithful wife and a stubborn and stiff necked child. Yet he chose them anyway. That is the love of God toward his people, including you and me. So because Israel, his wife, is not responsive to his please he goes one step further.
2. God Disciplines His People to Get them to Return (vs. 6-13)
Because she will not tun back to him God will discipline her by obstructing her. Notice all the 'I will's.' God says something will happen because God makes it happen. He hedges her in so she cannot find her path. Resistant to God's discipline, Israel tries harder to get what she wants but all her attempts are frustrated and futile. God's discipline is always loving and gracious. It is as though God is saying, 'I love you so much I am going to do whatever it takes to bring you back to me.
Then she finally gets to the place where she realizes how much better it was at home with her husband. She is described as not knowing that it was God had always provided for her, not Baal. The road to spiritual blindness is slow and gradual and deceptive.