Stories, thoughts and reflections on the Bible from the WSFC Staff.
If you don’t know the story of Hosea, it’s pretty crazy. Hosea is asked by God to marry a woman he knows will be unfaithful to him and allow the crushing weight of those emotions to fuel his passion to bring God’s faithless people back to Him. (Hosea 1:2-9) It points to a truth that often goes unspoken: God’s plan for us is not safe. Is it as risky as marrying someone you know will never love you like you want to be loved?
For most: no.
But will it require compassion that goes unanswered?
Will it involve sacrifice that goes unnoticed?
Will it involve both pain and joy?
Part of stepping into God’s call is being willing to risk being hurt by those we want to help. In those moments we turn to God and receive the healing we crave. While the reward far outweighs the risk we must still know what we are getting into and where to go when it happens.
Hosea is as much about the messenger as it is about his message. The line between them is so thin. The book gives as much insight into God’s faithful love to a faithless nation as it does into what it takes to be a servant of God whose life becomes his message.
We are each called to carry the message of the Gospel. While that message must stay true to Gods intended purpose, each of our broken lives brings new dementions to the power of the Gospel. The gospel through us displays the unceasing richness of Gods ability to save and change lives.
HE TURNED HIS PAIN INTO HIS MESSAGE
Hosea shared a bed with the one who hurt him the most. And when they didn’t share that bed, the empty space next to him was a reminder of what she had done and was doing to him. Living in the age and culture he did, where men abandoned women for far less, the temptation to say, “I’ll find something and someone less difficult” would have been great. We face that same temptation with our calling. But He was bound to the call God placed on his life, through thick and thin. Imagine how all this would have shaped his view of his wife, Gomer. Even more, imagine how it could have shaped his view of God. After all, God knew Hosea was being sent into an assignment that would ultimately hurt him greatly. If Hosea had not maintained close relationship to God through this, his perspective of God would have altered his response and his message.
As Hosea experienced the pain of betrayal and then returned to God for comfort, God was able to reveal just some of the pain He was experiencing at the betrayal of His own people. Experiencing this pain was needed as Hosea carried the message of reconciliation to God’s people.
“The Lord said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites…”
But God could only shape Hosea’s heart through that pain because he chose to forgive. What shapes the heart of followers of Christ for good is not the circumstances they go through; it is their response to the joy and pain those circumstances bring. Hosea’s life was becoming a prophetic reflection of God’s heart. This was happening because Hosea was willing to yield his heart to God for healing and direction (Often we only go to God for one or the other. We then end up either stagnant or jaded).
As Israel watched God’s representative fearlessly love his adulteress wife, the Holy Spirit was able to remind them that they could still come back to the arms of their Heavenly Husband. Hosea’s message was validated because his relationships proved it’s power.
SO, WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM HOSEA?
- Extending forgiveness is a vital part of God’s call on our life.
- God’s faithfulness to us must extend to those around us.
- Success is measured in obedience, not ease or image.
- Our greatest pain can fuel our most important message. But only when that pain is taken to God to be dealt with.
- Do not let pain temper our response to our comfort zone. It will change our life message.
- God’s faithfulness far outweighs our unfaithfulness (Hosea 2:20).
Lives were impacted by one man’s willingness to receive a difficult calling, stay true to it, be vulnerable in it, and follow the leading of God.
God wants to use our lives to impact people as well. If we are willing to embrace the grit with the glamour and keep our hearts sensitive to those who cause us pain, our lives will be a shining example of God’s faithfulness to those around us. People will take notice and God will get more glory.