The prophet and the prostitute

betroth
(Photo credit: Pinterest.com)

“When the Lord began to speak by Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea: ‘Go, take yourself a wife of harlotry, And children of harlotry, for the land has committed great harlotry by departing from the Lord.’” – Hosea 1:2

Hosea had kept himself a pure and faithful prophet unto God.  Yet, God one day spoke something which I am confident was not what Hosea wanted to hear; nor could this virgin prophet ever grasp what God was about to command him to do: to go marry a prostitute.

I can’t even imagine what it would have been like to be in Hosea’s shoes and on the receiving end of that directive.  Hosea, a virgin, who I am sure was saving himself for his wife who would be as pure as he was, and have that long-awaited moment of mutually-innocent consummation, instead was to trade in his virginity to a whore.

My New Spirit-Filled Life Bible expounds of this most unusual request “when God directed Hosea to marry an unfaithful woman, He was calling this faithful prophet to be a living illustration of His love for His people.  Similarly, He calls us to exhibit unconditional love to the world around us.  Hosea reveals God’s loving heart.  God’s desire to bless His people far outshines the darkness of their sin.  The Lord puts a premium value on His relationship with us.  Let us seek faithfully to return that love with obedience” (© 2002. Thomas Nelson, Inc.).

Not only did God command Hosea to marry Gomer, the Prostitute, but God also told Hosea to love her.  Imagine with me if you can, God basically says to Hosea “Hosea, I know you are saving yourself for a beautiful wholesome woman, but I have other plans for you.  I want you to marry a whore.  But I don’t want you to just marry her, I want you to love her with all of your heart (Hosea 3:1).  Even though she will continue to sleep with other men for money, I want you to love her and treat her with the same love you would have given to the woman of purity that you thought you would marry.”

My brothers and sisters, I have to tell you that as I am writing this message, I am stupefied, amazed, baffled, blown away, and outdone by how much God loves us.  As unfaithful as we are, God still loves us with a pure love and with a love which makes us pure, as He faithfully searches the streets to take us back over and over again.  Don’t you dare let anyone tell you that God isn’t a God of love, because that is a lie from the pit of hell!  That is exactly what the devil would have you believe because he the biggest whore with no one who will take him back!

The name “Hosea” actually means “deliverer” (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance).  And God said to Hosea “Go again, love a woman who is loved by a lover and is committing adultery, just like the love of the Lord for the children of Israel, who look to other gods and love the raisin cakes of the pagans” (Hosea 3:1).

Many nights, Hosea would have to endure the sheer and utter shame and embarrassment of collecting his wife from another man’s bed.  Hosea endured the ridicule of his wife’s clients as he searched the streets night after night, and sometimes having to even pay one of the men to be able to take his wife and stop her from engaging in this act!  He even had to endure the mockery of his own wife, who would shake her defiant fist in her husband’s faithful face while saying “I won’t stop Hosea.  I am going out again tomorrow to lay up with other men.”

The Hebrew word for “go” as used in this verse, is comprised of the two words “yalak” (yaw-lak) and “owd” (ode), which mean “to go continually, to go again and again, go repeatedly, carry, bear” (Strong’s).  So it is with God concerning us.  Night after night, our Loving Father gets up from His mighty throne, searches for us, and comes to collect us from our adultery.  Whatever we place above our Heavenly Father, whatever or whoever we love more than our God, whatever we are willing to use to compromise our relationship with the One who constantly makes us pure, is the trick we have chosen to turn that causes us to cheat on the Father.

It grieves the heart of God when His children want to debate what they should or shouldn’t do based on splitting hairs: “well, it isn’t in the New Testament, so we don’t have to do it.  No, Jesus did away with that.  We are under grace now, so we don’t have to do this anymore, as that was Old Testament.”  My brothers and sisters, we should be motivated by a much higher calling and a more powerful, compelling, and liberating reason to be obedient to the Father: His Love and His willingness to carry our shame and nail it to the Cross.

The mere thought of our Father, who is so pure and holy, who constantly endures the ridicule of the world by scouring the streets night after night, looking for us to take us back home in the midst of our carousing because of His great love for us, should be all the motivation we need to do right by Him and for Him.

Hosea’s life was a living sermon of God’s immense, unfailing, and tireless love and devotion for His unfaithful people.  Shouldn’t ours be too?

Father, thank you for your undying, unfailing, amazing, and immeasurable love for us.  Even when we are unfaithful to you, because of your great love toward us, you still search for us night after night, collect us, and take us home.  We have no words, Most Holy Father, on how such a magnificent and Holy God can continue to endure the ridicule of the world and love a people who can’t even comprehend what that means.  “Thank you, Father” is all we can muster to an incomprehensible God, who dared to love a people such as us.  Thank you for giving us your heart, Most Loving Father.  Take our hearts and do a new work in them, so that we no longer wander, we no longer cheat, and we arrive at and always stay with our first love, which is You, Most Amazing God.  In Jesus Name, we pray and we thank you for breaking our wandering and turning our hearts permanently toward you.  Amen and Amen.

With warmest regards,
And in service of the Most High King,

Matthew

 

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