Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Hosea and the Heart of God: Lessons for the Church and You

Nathan JonesBy Nathan Jones

We wrap up with our fifteenth and last installment of our faith study of the biblical Minor Prophets book of Hosea. This time the Church and you and me will learn some life lessons.

Lessons for the Church

While God in the book of Hosea compares Himself to a groom and Israel to a bride, His son Jesus Christ compares Himself to a groom and the Church to a bride. The Church, as Ephesians 5:22-33 explains, is the universal body of believers who have accepted Christ Jesus as Savior, from the day of Pentecost up until the coming day when the Church is raptured up to Heaven. This special group of believers, which if Jesus is your Savior you belong to, are set aside by Him and for Him.

Hosea would warn that we must be very careful that in our affluence that we not grow proud and self-reliant, falling into the same trap as Israel, essentially forgetting Jesus and His sustaining hand. The Church today would be wise to heed this warning:

"...a similar situation prevails today in many 'Christian' circles. It is not that God is denied. On the contrary, He is acknowledged, sometimes with great ceremony and by the most beautiful of services. The problem is that worshipers forget that God must be obeyed and that they must therefore live their lives differently."23

Church brethren, remember your condition when you were saved. Heed the command of Jesus in John 8:11 to the woman caught in adultery: "go and sin no more." Never forget how terribly low we had once fallen, and only through salvation in Christ how we are now lifted up to such incredible heights. Only when the Church is fully connected to Christ—the Head—can the Body work wonders.

Lessons for You

Marriage. When it comes to marriage, maybe you find yourself in the same disastrous marriage as Hosea and Gomer had; battered by unfaithfulness, broken hearts and failed trust. Gomer was faithless, but no matter how badly she betrayed Hosea, he remained faithful and loving. Likewise, Israel and all of humanity have been faithless to God, but He has always remained faithful and loving, ready to forgive.

It's all too easy and common to divorce nowadays. So, Hosea would recommend the advice of Dr. Boice concerning staying married:

"You say, 'Do you mean to tell me that if my wife or my husband runs away from me and commits adultery that I am still to be faithful? Do you mean to tell me that I must continue to love someone like that when I have been wronged and the sanctity of our marriage has been violated?' Yes, that is precisely our standard. 'But that is not fair!' True, it is not fair - who said anything about being fair? - it is just the expression of true love."24

Faith. When it comes to your relationship with Jesus, for those times when your faith in Him seems weakened or strained, emulate the example of football star Tim Tebow:

"If you're married, and you have a wife, and you really love your wife, is it good enough to only say to your wife 'I love her' the day you get married? Or should you tell her every single day when you wake up and every opportunity? And that's how I feel about my relationship with Jesus Christ is that it is the most important thing in my life. So any time I get an opportunity to tell Him that I love Him or given an opportunity to shout Him out on national TV, I'm gonna' take that opportunity. And so I look at it as a relationship that I have with Him that I want to give Him the honor and glory anytime I have the opportunity. And then right after I give Him the honor and glory, I always try to give my teammates the honor and glory. And that's how it works because Christ comes first in my life, and then my family, and then my teammates."25

When others are faithless, you remain faithful and committed, just like your Heavenly Father. For when God restores a shattered heart, faith is restored and the blessings will flow.

We'll end here with the knowledge that, "union with Christ is the secret of all fruitfulness, and this means that the essential element is new life."26


23. Ibid. p. 55.

24. Ibid. p. 34-35.

25. Davis, N. (2011, Nov. 22). Tim Tebow responds to Jake Plummer's comments on his faith. USA Today. Retrieved from faith/1#.UtmTz8vnbcc

26. Boice, J.M. (1983). The Minor Prophets: An Expositional Commentary, Volume 1, Hosea-Jonah. Grand Rapids, Michigan: The Zondervan Corporation. p. 71.

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