Friday, January 8, 2016

The Consequences of Continued Sin

Hosea 2:1-13

“Say ye unto your brethren, Ammi; and to your sisters, Ruhamah.  Plead with your mother, plead: for she is not my wife, neither am I her husband: let her therefore put away her whoredoms out of her sight, and her adulteries from between her breasts; Lest I strip her naked, and set her as in the day that she was born, and make her as a wilderness, and set her like a dry land, and slay her with thirst.” (Hosea 2:1-3)

Hosea’s marriage to Gomer was a marriage in name only.   She continued in prostitution having children that were not his.  It is a picture of Israel’s relationship with God.  They have continually been involved with other gods and not had time for him, yet like a forgiving husband, he offers to take her back and adopt her children if they will only turn to him but if she continues to refuse, he will take everything from Israel and discard her like a piece of trash. 

“And I will not have mercy upon her children; for they be the children of whoredoms.  For their mother hath played the harlot: she that conceived them hath done shamefully: for she said, I will go after my lovers, that give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, mine oil and my drink.” (Hosea 2:4-5)

Just as a man whose wife has had children by other men may not be willing to take the responsibility for those children when she leaves him, God says he will not take responsibility for Israel’s children if Israel persists in her adulterous ways. , even though he cares about them. 

“Therefore, behold, I will hedge up thy way with thorns, and make a wall, that she shall not find her paths.  And she shall follow after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them; and she shall seek them, but shall not find them: then shall she say, I will go and return to my first husband; for then was it better with me than now.” (Hosea 2:6-7)

One of the first things a person must do whose mate leaves them it to close out joint checking accounts and credit cards and change the locks on the house, because the one leaving still thinks of those things as theirs.  They often don’t hesitate to spend the money in the account or to things without asking as a result.  They may even use those things buy gifts for their lovers.  God is effectively shutting things up so Israel will have to pay their own way, instead of expecting him to do so.    Without the money to spend she will find the lovers are less interested and life is lonely.  She may even conclude she was better off with her husband. 

“For she did not know that I gave her corn, and wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold, which they prepared for Baal.  Therefore will I return, and take away my corn in the time thereof, and my wine in the season thereof, and will recover my wool and my flax given to cover her nakedness.” (Hosea 2:8-9)

A few years ago, several women’s groups complained it was unfair that a study showed that when women divorced their husbands, their standard of living went down while sometimes the men’s went up.   Apparently it had never occurred to them that while they were married to their husband he paid a part, and in some cases all their bills, freeing them to use what they earned as they pleased.  When they left him they had to pay all the bills he had been paying for them.    In the same way, Israel had not understood God was providing the things they offered to other gods.  God would no longer provide those things, insisting on getting back what belonged to him. 

“And now will I discover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers, and none shall deliver her out of mine hand.  I will also cause all her mirth to cease, her feast days, her new moons, and her sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts.  And I will destroy her vines and her fig trees, whereof she hath said, These are my rewards that my lovers have given me: and I will make them a forest, and the beasts of the field shall eat them.  And I will visit upon her the days of Baalim, wherein she burned incense to them, and she decked herself with her earrings and her jewels, and she went after her lovers, and forgat me, saith the LORD.” (Hosea 2:10-13)

A woman I knew regularly spent money her husband had given to pay bills for things she wanted, forcing him to work overtime and go without things he needed to cover her debts, but he kept paying until she had an affair and they split up.   When she spent a bunch of money, he refused to make it good and before long she had destroyed her credit.    God says he is going same thing to Israel, so she has to take responsibility for her actions.  She will no longer be able to claim what she had came from other gods or her own efforts.  She’ll be forced to pay for what she has obtained.   

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