Tuesday, January 12, 2016
“Then said the LORD unto me, Go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend, yet an adulteress, according to the love of the LORD toward the children of Israel, who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine.” (Hosea 3:1)
As an illustration of what God’s relationship to Israel was like, God commanded Hosea to find a woman who had ruined her marriage by committing adultery, but not a woman who was so selfish and controlling she couldn’t maintain long term friendships with other people. She would just want to have a good time, Like Israel wanting to enjoy all the parties those who worshipped other Gods had.
“So I bought her to me for fifteen pieces of silver, and for an homer of barley, and an half homer of barley: And I said unto her, Thou shalt abide for me many days; thou shalt not play the harlot, and thou shalt not be for another man: so will I also be for thee.” (Hosea 3:2-3)
Hosea found such a woman, and hired her to serve as his in exchange for providing food and money. In exchange, she agreed not to flirt with other men or run around with them, or prostitute herself for more money while they were together. He promised to do the same for her.
“For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim: Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and shall fear the LORD and his goodness in the latter days.” (Hosea 3:4-5)
Israel was like the woman who had destroyed her marriage by having an affair. The guy she had the affair with wouldn’t step up and marry her and she wound up being alone for many years. When she finally gets desperate enough, she will be willing to settle for a place to live and food, and will turn again to the one she left.
It was crucial for the purpose of the illustration that the woman be able to maintain long term friendships. A person who is so selfish and controlling they will sacrifice their friendships to get their own way would never be satisfied with such an agreement, but would always be looking for something better. God wanted to demonstrate his willingness to take them back despite their wickedness, but it was essential the woman be willing as well. God makes the same offer to every person on earth, to accept them, no matter what they have done, but requires they be willing to make a firm commitment to him in return.
“Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land. By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood. Therefore shall the land mourn, and every one that dwelleth therein shall languish, with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven; yea, the fishes of the sea also shall be taken away.” (Hosea 4:1-3)
There was a serious quarrel between God and Israel, and, like a lot of people, they were not willing to even hear the other side or consider whether the complaints were valid. They would not be honest about what they were doing, or even consider God’s feelings and desires. They were merciless in getting their way, they didn’t consider God’s role in swearing to pay a bill or do a job. They thought nothing of lying or stealing or killing to get their way. They committed adultery and walked away from their responsibilities with no concern. Shootings and stabbings were commonplace and went almost unnoticed, even when they were so close together that the pool of blood from one touched the pool from another. As a result the entire area would weep over the deaths of their young men, and the people would be depressed and struggling economically. They wouldn’t even be able to supply for themselves by hunting or fishing.
“Yet let no man strive, nor reprove another: for thy people are as they that strive with the priest. Therefore shalt thou fall in the day, and the prophet also shall fall with thee in the night, and I will destroy thy mother.” (Hosea 4:4-5)
It had reached a point where hardly anyone would stand up to them or try to show them what was right. They would even fight with the priests who told them what God had said about what was right. Even God’s own words meant nothing to them. As a result, they would lose what they had. The leaders and preachers who encouraged them in what they were doing would be discredited and lose their influence, and the nation that spawned them would be destroyed.