Hosea is probably my favorite Old Testament book in the Bible. In my humble opinion, there may not be a better book of the Bible that accurately portrays our salvific covenant with God. In fact, that’s why God asked Hosea to marry a woman that He knew would break her marital vows and run away after other lovers. Can you imagine God asking you to do that? And we think God calls us to hard things with our work environments, families and service at church! Imagine Him telling you to do this to illustrate our spiritual adultery with God. But the passages we read this morning shows not only why God asked this hard thing from Hosea but the inspiring beauty of redeeming, enduring, forgiving, covenantal love. Because the reconciliation of Hosea and Gomer’s marriage was an ultimate illustration to what God says He would do with His people when they run after other lovers.
First, we see how God allures us back to Him when we run from our vows with Him (v. 14). He doesn’t just condemn us for our spiritual adultery but speaks tenderly to us. He reminds us of our past love and says that everything He had promised us is still true and there for us (v. 15).
When He pursues us back, as the original bride of Christ, we can’t but help to cry out “My Husband” again after calling out after false idols for so long. How sweet and comforting it is to go back to the One who will forever protect, provide, lead and sacrificially love us after experiencing the utter heartbreak and deception from false loves and idols that we ran toward. But God makes us forget those idols and that heartbreak. He’ll remove their names from our lips (v. 17). We don’t need to be stuck in our shame and He won’t keep on bringing up our past. His love is a forever, faithful love, not temporary (v. 19-20), a point I always emphatically make when preaching a marriage sermon. This is the beauty of Covenantal marriage and how it can point to a God who makes that covenant with us in the Gospel. And the children who once were named and identified as having “No Mercy” and “Not God’s People” will have mercy and be God’s people. I can read these few passages over and over again in awe of God’s unique, inspiring love. This moves me and gives me hope for not only my spiritual adultery but also every marriage splattered in sin and on the brink of no hope.
When reading about this beautiful picture of redeeming, faithful love, I am reminded of a previous Sunday school teacher’s story. He had shared with me that decades before his wife was cheating on him and at first unrepentant when caught in the adultery. He had a choice, divorce or fight for that love. Although it wouldn’t be easy, he shared how the story of Hosea stood out and he did everything he could to woo her back to the covenant they made before God and to each other. It wasn’t an instant fix but God did redeem their marriage and 3 adult kids later (who all love the Lord) he is still being used by God because of him choosing the path of Hosea (and Christ) in that tough, tough season of marriage and life. May this story bring hope and life in our marriages, future marriages and most importantly spiritual adultery as God will do the very same with us when we run far away from Him like Gomer.
By: Erik Koliser — West Campus Pastor