“So Hosea married Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim, and she became pregnant and gave Hosea a son. And the Lord said, ‘Name the child Jezreel, for I am about to punish King Jehu’s dynasty to avenge the murders he committed at Jezreel. In fact, I will put an end to Israel’s independence by breaking its military power in the Jezreel Valley.’ ” Hosea 1:2-5 New Living Testament
I have had the opportunity to experience many challenging circumstances. Some because of choices I have made, or have ignored, then receiving the consequences which resulted by my actions or lack thereof. I’ll admit I have often wished to have someone else to blame for my decisions, my choices.
Remember what happened to Adam and Eve after the fiasco at the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil? They hid themselves from each other and from God. That is so significant; in choosing to believe the lie of the enemy, damage to the husband-wife relationship had been immediate. It was no longer safe to be who they were created to be and to become! Our two parents from the beginning began constructing clothes from leaves to give themselves a physical covering. Somehow they thought this would help cover the emotions, and feelings flooding into their hearts and minds.
As the time passed they became visibly distressed as that part of the day neared when God came to talk with them. Suddenly, they heard the voice well known to them, the voice they had heard when their Creator greeted them on the day when they first experienced life. What a day that had been! There was so much to see, to learn, to know, to explore. The minds of these two had breathed in knowledge with the air of the garden, the first of humanity formed by God’s own hands, with life breathed into them by God’s Holy Breath.
God may have been sitting in Heaven waiting for one of them to cry out to Him seeking help! But the call never came. And God watched as Adam and Eve deserted the kingdom of freedom and became citizens in the kingdom constructed of and for enslavement. It is only as we live in the kingdom of God’s Grace we are allowed freedom. It is only God who offers anyone the free will and freedom to choose. As God approached them through the Garden of Eden, He knew what had happened.
The enemy will lie, cheat, steal, coerce, manipulate, paint lies as the truth, take the truth and make it of no value. Every word the enemy speaks has just enough truth to trip up, even those who had perfect minds. The only way to deal with this enemy is not to deal with this enemy! We do not stand a chance against this ultimate of enemies!
”For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and the authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12 New Living Testament
The foe who seeks to destroy everything connected with God the Creator is a power far superior to us. The enemy is one we are not called to battle. God makes it very clear our responsibility is inviting all who don’t know God to discover His eternal love, grace, and mercy. We also have the commission to warn others there is an enemy who seeks only to destroy them for the sole purpose of causing God pain and grief.
As the story of Hosea unfolds for us, we will observe the struggle between God and the serpent, the dragon, thrown out of heaven because he coveted the throne of God. Once called Lucifer, the one who stood by the throne of his Creator was now the enemy of God and of all who receive God as the authority in their lives. It wasn’t just this fallen leader of angels who was banned from heaven, the enemy, now referred to as Satan, beguiled a third of the heavenly host into joining his cause. This cause was nothing less than the overthrow of God and taking from Him his kingdom, all of creation!
Unfortunately for this enemy of the only real God, somehow Lucifer was so consumed with his delusions of grandeur and self-importance he forgot who God was, what God could do, all God would know, that it was impossible to hide anything from God! And there you have the very first beginnings of insanity, criminal insanity. This desire to usurp from God the throne, the power, and everything that made God who He was, drove Lucifer to commit acts of rebellion. Acts that an angel, or anyone thinking with a clear and sane mind would reject as impossible.
The created cannot become God, the created which relies on the Creator to live, to breathe, have a heart pumping blood, and a brain for thinking, nerves revealing pain, eyes with which we are able to see. All this was provided by the Creator God who formed each and every angel in the vast multitude of Angels.
The power of the lie, Satan’s ability to convince, to charm, to develop his argument, and the charisma that followed him as he sought allies throughout heaven must have been phenomenal. Perfect beings who used their brains to their fullest capacity were taken in by this father of lies.
This is the very reason we are told to put on the armor of God. Then we are told to stand, not charge into a battle we cannot win! God’s armor, as it rests on us, is for defensive purposes; it is a protection from all the enemy will use to attack us. He might come at you head on, from the side, from anywhere. The enemy may come at you through family, friends, someone you trust, someone you never thought would ever cause you pain. Here is what we need to remember, those persons causing you pain, attacking, and being mean are not the focus; it is an enemy who wants nothing more than to destroy you and thereby cause God pain that you and I can never understand or comprehend.
Hosea, whose name means Salvation, accepted the call of God so a people group might understand what was really at stake. Because what we stand to lose is everything, lives, family, friends, any and all relationships which mean anything to us. This story has just as much for us today as it did thousands of years ago. The issues are still the same, lives are still being lost, families destroyed, marriages tossed aside, children and parents causing pain that at times is never healed.
I find myself drawn to this man’s story, his sacrifice of who he was, how he saw himself, what his idea of marriage was, and then what it was as reality. Love is one of the most powerful emotions we experience. How we experience love is very different; how we express love is definitely very different, and the fact that men and women are extremely challenged when we try to talk, to communicate and make sense out of our conversions. We have to be willing to learn each others language, men to women, and take the time to discover what says to you that you are loved. It’s not necessarily easy, but it is worth every effort you put into becoming multi-lingual in love languages. Author Gary Chapman has written several books on The Five Love Languages helpful to discover what those love languages are and their importance.
You can already see the confusion growing out of this bizarre arrangement, Hosea told by God to marry a harlot. I find it intriguing when I hear stories of arranged marriages. It’s not so much the done thing in our culture, in our country. It has been the focus on some documentaries of other people groups where it is still the custom for families to arrange marriages. Personally, I very much like our way of allowing men and women to choose for themselves. However, the divorce rate in this nation of ours isn’t anything to brag about, especially in the Christian communities. I’ll just say this: People, Glass Houses and Stones!
Hosea married Gomer and they had a child. The custom in that time and place was the first born was given a family name, usually taken from the father’s side of the family. In this case, God named Gomer’s firstborn child Jezreel. Now we are exposed to the first question of the child’s parentage. God explains why this name is chosen: “… I am about to punish King Jehu’s dynasty to avenge the murders he committed at Jezreel. In fact, I will put an end to Israel’s independence by breaking its military in the Jezreel Valley.” Hosea 1: 4,5 New Living Translation
What took place in the Jezreel Valley for which God holds King Jehu and his family responsible? Maybe the question to be asked is, what did not happen in that part of Israel? When Jehu was anointed King, God gave him the responsibility to destroy the idols, the places where idolatry flourished. He was to destroy the golden calves Jereboam had placed at sites where the northern kingdom, his kingdom, were to worship. Jereboam did this so he wouldn’t lose his people to the southern kingdom where God told them to worship at the tabernacle located in Jerusalem, the only place made holy by the true God, the only real God.
Jereboam’s actions caused the entire kingdom of Israel to become immersed in idolatry. Jehu was to destroy all the places of idol worship. But he didn’t follow all the instructions God had given him. Jehu destroyed all the places of Baal, the idols Jezebel and Ahab worshiped. However, the high places where Jehu and his family and followers worshipped went untouched. Because of this neglect in carrying out all of God’s instructions, Jehu committed murder, a massacre. This is another example where God gave an assignment requiring extremely tough decisions be made and followed through, because when they are not completed there is nothing but heartache and misery for years to come.
Into the choices made years earlier came Hosea, one who was innocent. Yet this man of innocence has been tapped by God for an assignment no man in his right mind would accept. If this then describes the majority of men in any era and culture, what does it say about Hosea? Men, what would you say about Hosea? Would you envy his circumstances? Husbands, are you ready for your wife to announce to you she is a prostitute, and can’t be certain who is the father of any of your children? She does however absolutely know your firstborn is not your child. What happens now? What do you do now?
The difference between what you just read and what happened to Hosea is Hosea knew it was going to happen, that it was happening. Hosea had already been made aware by God what to expect from his marriage to Gomer. What kind of man was this Hosea? Was he soft? Was he easily manipulated, a wimp in todays vernacular? How could anyone respect such a man? How could anyone even call him a man? Even as the people of the Northern Kingdom were aware of the message God was pointedly directing at them, it was easy enough to ignore the message when they had the entertainment of Hosea and Gomer!
So here we are at the beginning of an unusual marriage, a strange relationship that appears to be a marriage without love. But is it a loveless marriage? Hardly. We know it isn’t loveless because God is using Hosea’s marriage to Gomer as a real life drama of God’s love for Israel with Israel playing the harlot to God as husband.
God even gives Hosea the words to enlighten the peoples of Israel to exactly why God is sending them this message. Over and over God sends warnings, sends messages to make the people aware of what their Idolatry is doing to them! Worshiping what doesn’t exist is foolish, so what or whom are they worshiping?
Remember the God Complex Gene we touched on in earlier posts? Here is another insight into its reality. Idol worship is actually self-worship. Idolatry allows us to fulfill that craving driving us to seek to be the center of the universe. It happens quite below our level of consciousness, nevertheless it is what sin is, what sin has always been, driving a wedge between us and the Creator who loves us unconditionally. It drives a wedge between us and the God who was willing to give everything for us.
As God sent Hosea to Israel of old, He sends Hosea to us today with a message similar to the one delivered by Hosea. God, who has created us, given us life, and gave Himself so we could continue living here and on into eternity, desires us to know that love as our own.
As you read this beginning to Hosea, what speaks to you about God’s instructions? What do you think of Hosea? Do you have any thoughts about Gomer? What would you do? Please tell me what you think in the comment section below.
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