As we all climbed in at 8am and backed out of the driveway we found out the topic of the series of the week, "Marriage, Divorce & Remarriage." This morning sermon began in the book of Hosea. Hosea wasn't an Old Testament book that I knew very much about nor did I ever really hear anyone preach out of this Old Testament book. It instantly captured my interested to hear about Hosea and how this related to marriage, divorce & remarriage.
Hosea was a prophet. Hosea's ministry was from 755 - 710 B.C. His career spanned the last 6 kings of Israel. God called Hosea to marry Gomer.
"When the Lord first spoke through Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea, 'Go, take to yourself a wife of harlotry and have children of harlotry;.....So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son. And the Lord said to him, "Name him Jezreel;
(Hosea 1: 2-4)
Then she conceived again and gave birth to a daughter. And the Lord said to him, Name Her Lo-ruhamah, for I will no longer have compassion on the house of Israel, that I would ever forgive them. But I will have compassion on the house of Judah and deliver them by the Lord their God, and will not deliver them by bow, sword, battle, horses or horsemen." When she weaned Lo-ruhamah, she conceived and gave birth to a son. And the Lord said, 'Name him Loammi, for you are not my people and I am not your God." (Hosea 1:6-9)
I couldn't believe what I was hearing. God had called this prophet to marry a woman who God knew and foretold possibly to Hosea that she would be an adulteress and not be faithful to him. In either case, Hosea obeyed his God unselfishly without complaint knowing the outcome that awaited him. Gomer left her husband and family and pursued her desires and idols that ruled her heart. She pursued what she believed would satisfy her. We don't know how Gomer got to to this point in detail but I am sure of this, in the beginnings of her pursuits I am sure she never thought she'd end up at a slave auction.
God calls Hosea to pursue his estranged wife and buy her back for 15 shekels of silver and 1 1/2 homers of barley. The total may have equaled 30 pieces of silver which what was the price paid for a common slave.
I thought about several people who I wish could hear this message about forgiveness to repair their marriages. I thought about a couple of ladies I knew at church who were struggling with husband who had committed adultery. I thought of a good friend who left her husband and children to live out her desires ....if only her husband could love her like Hosea did and forgive her and take her back.
I dropped the boys off and said my goodbyes. As I drove back home and I began to process what I was hearing. It hit me and it hit me hard. I made a sharp right turn and it came to me as if someone had just flipped a switch and a light turned on!
This story wasn't only about marriage, remarriage and divorce or was it also about how God loved and pursued an idolatrous Israel....this was about ME! Yes! It's about me and what Christ did for ME! It all makes sense now.....
Before I was a Christian I was a slave....a slave to my sin and my desires. I was just like the adulterous Israel and Gomer,pursing the idols of my heart. When I came to my end with nothing to bring or offer, Christ bought me back. He didn't buy me with silver shekels. Christ bought me back with His blood. He sacrificed His life for ME! He obeyed God to the point of death for His beloved, because of His love for ME! God gave us the beautiful picture of unconditional love of Hosea to Gomer....sacrificial and selfless .... to point us the the ultimate selfless love & sacrifice of His son, Jesus.
"But thanks be to God that though you were slaves to sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness."
Romans 7: 17-18
"For when you were slaves to sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed. For the outcome of those things is death. But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
I cannot look at this portrait without thinking of Gomer. What was she thinking when she stood there being sold as a slave. Her pursuits and desires lead her to this place. Gomer believed the lie that we all believed when we allowed the lies of this world to skew our vision of the truth. When we believe fulfilling our fleshly desires will satisfy us but we wake up continually empty. When we think this place, person or thing will fulfill us ....I just want to try one more time.
I was created for my Groom and He and only He is the only one that can satisfy my soul.