The Bride and the Call

Written By Cheryl Erasmus

Hosea's Bride

It is a time of prosperity!  It is a time of joy!  It is a time of anticipation and celebration of love!  It is a time of vulnerability as two people somehow become one...they are starting on a new path of life where two diverging paths merge into one—going forward.  As the beautiful bride walks down the aisle to meet her betrothed, she glows as she is dressed in her finery and beauty.  But the young man waiting for her has tears of heartache in his eyes.  His name is Hosea—which means salvation or he saves—and he is a young prophet of God.

He loves the Lord and his life has been destined to become the prophetic word to Israel.  His very life experience was to be the prophecy.  This was a time of material prosperity under king Jeroboam II but spiritual decay had set in as Israel had begun to worship idols and fall into sin.  Hosea looked around him and saw the unfaithfulness of his people who had turned away from God, their Provider, to worthless idols and so becoming worthless themselves.  As he prayed and spent time in the presence of God, he receives his calling.

What a call!  “Go, take to yourself an adulterous wife and children of unfaithfulness, because the land is guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the Lord.” (Hosea 1:2)
How long did he struggle with that directive from God?  How could he marry the beautiful and seductive Gomer when he knew that she would reject him for other lovers?  What is more the children born into his home would not all be his offspring.  What a prospect of heartache and rejection and despair?

Yet the more time he spent with in the presence of the Lord, perhaps he began to experience in his spirit the very heartache of Almighty God as His Chosen People, broke their covenant with Him turned away from their Maker to choose instead the froth and bubble of fleeting lust and pleasure.  I can only think that this intense experience gave rise to his obedience.  The Bible does not spend any time at all on the anguish in the heart of this young man between verse 2 and 3.  It simply states “So he married Gomer daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.”
At times I think we spend so much time and consideration on our personal suffering in this world whereas God is about achieving His good plans and purposes for man.  Will I obey God even if my pain does not benefit me but only others?  How did Hosea reconcile his own broken heart inflicted by a woman for whom he had only done the best?   In fact as the years went by there was no relief or turn around in the home, but only an escalation of more and more disillusionment.  Yet God had instructed him to marry this woman.

It may take suffering but really that is nothing compared to the end result God plans and desires.    Let us get on with following The Spirit of God as He leads and where He directs us, often into and through the desert.  For He promises “I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor (trouble) a door of hope (Hosea 2:15).”  Let us not get stuck on the suffering but go beyond that.

With the birth of every baby God reveals more of His heart to Hosea, as it relates to Israel.  First son is to be named Jezreel.  “… because I will soon punish the house of Jehu for the massacre at Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of Israel.  In that day I will break Israel’s bow in the Valley of Jezreel.”

The little girl is born—probably not his daughter—and named Lo-Ruhamah—not loved.  For God says He will no longer show His love to Israel or forgive them although He would save Judah.  His way of salvation for Judah would not be by way of their own abilities but only through the mercy of God.   (Hosea 1:6-7).

Then finally the last son born in Hosea’s home is little Lo-Ammi, before Gomer leaves to go on her self-centred but openly destructive way.  The boy is named Lo-Ammi “for you are not my people, and I am not your God.”  The covenant with God is finally dissolved and judgement is final.  Israel had abandoned God and He was leaving them alone and without His blessing but not without His commitment.

Gomer goes her own way of sin, adultery and seduction only to find herself desolate and in desperate need.  All the promises of provision in the world are empty and she is left broken.  Even though there is some thought given to going back to Hosea in chapter 2 but restoration is not immediate—there’s a process that needs to be followed to get rid of all the baggage she has picked up.  She is eventually living a life of a prostitute and owned by a pimp.
Has Hosea not suffered enough?  Yet now God tells him “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress.  Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.”  This is an unthinkable instruction from God.  Go buy back your adulterous wife and love her again—like God loves His people!  Hosea 3:4 sums it all up: “For the Israelites will live many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without ephod or idol.  Afterward the Israelites will return and seek the Lord their God and David their king. They will come trembling to the Lord and to His blessings in the last days.

Now consider Jesus and His Calling...

The Bible clearly teaches that He came into the world with a definite purpose and further only did what He heard His Father said.  His calling was given to Him before the creation of the world:
  • Jesus came to call sinners so that they could receive healing in hearts (Matthew 9:13)
  • Jesus came to save the world from condemnation (John 3:14-18)
  • Jesus came into the world to save sinners (1 Tim. 1:15)
  • Jesus came so that we can live in Him because He loved us (1 John 4:9-10)
  • Jesus came to glorify the Father’s Name (John 12:23-33)
  • Jesus came to testify about the truth (John 18:37)
  • Jesus came to take away our sin and lawlessness and our rebellion (1 John 3:5)
  • Jesus came to destroy the devil’s work (1 John 3:8)
  • Jesus came to complete His mission and only then gave up His Spirit (John 19:30)

These were His instructions received before the foundation of the earth.  His calling and purpose infiltrated every aspect of His life.  Everything Jesus said and did contributed to accomplishing His Calling received from Father God.  He lived a dedicated life, He prayed, He travelled, He preached, He performed miracles, and finally He gave His life to accomplish His full Calling.

Now let us consider our Calling...

  • Jesus issued the Great Invitation (Matthew 11:28): Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden light.
  • Jesus gave us the Great Command (Matthew 22:37-40): Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.  This the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’.  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commands.
  • Then Jesus gave us the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20): Go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

We as His disciples are His learner-followers, doing as He directs in every way on every day and wherever we are at.  We have been called to complete His mission. Our calling has been determined and established.  Just as Hosea’s life became the prophecy to the Israelites so that they could repent and be restored, just so our lives must count for the Kingdom of God.  He has promised over and over again “Go in the strength you have for I am with you always”.

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