Waiting Day 5 Surrendered Love Story: Digging Deeper

Digging Deeper Days

Finding the original intent of Scripture and making good application to our everyday lives as we become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

Today is 2-for-1 Friday!
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The Questions

1) What do the king names tell us about the timeline of Hosea and Israel’s story? (verse 1)

2) Why would God give such an outrageous command? (verse 2)

3) Why is abandonment connected to “blatant acts of promiscuity”? (verse 2)

Hosea 1:1-2

The word of the Lord that came to Hosea son of Beeri during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and of Jeroboam son of Jehoash, king of Israel.

2 When the Lord first spoke to Hosea, He said this to him:
“Go and marry a woman of promiscuity,
and have children of promiscuity,
for the land is committing blatant acts of promiscuity
by abandoning the Lord.”

Original Intent

1) What do the king names tell us about the timeline of Hosea and Israel’s story? (verse 1)
Hosea was an ordinary man to whom was given an extraordinary calling, to speak on the Lord’s behalf to Israel. Hosea’s book is short, but his ministry as a prophet was not. Verse 1 says it spanned the reign of 4 Judean kings, which accounts for around 65+ years. This tells us Hosea was a fairly young man “when the Lord first spoke” to him. Young Hosea couldn’t see the years of learned obedience, faithful following, and intent listening to the Lord that stretched before him. He couldn’t see the heartache that would wrench his gut and shatter his insides as he was betrayed by the wife he loved again and again. During this time in Israel’s history, they had already been living as a divided kingdom (as a result of their sin) for over 200 years. From King Saul, Israel’s first king, to their second king, David, and into their third king, Solomon, Israel was one nation, birthed and set apart by God in order to display His glory through them to the whole world. However, Israel continued rebelling and sinning against God during these years, which eventually resulted in a split kingdom around 931 BC. Israel became the Northern Kingdom and Judah took the Southern Kingdom. Eventually, the Northern Kingdom was obliterated by the Assyrians in 721 BC, again as a result of their prideful hearts and continued choice to reject God. Hosea’s story jumps in about 61 years before Assyrian captivity of Israel around the year 782 BC.

2) Why would God give such an outrageous command? (verse 2)
Because God is holy and completely righteous, utterly without sin, even a hint of sin cannot be in His presence. (Psalm 22:3, Psalm 130:3) This leaves every single person exiled from Him and suffering the consequence of sin, which is eternal separation from God and all of His good attributes that we currently experience like His love, grace, kindness, and favor. (Romans 6:23) When every soul breathes their last, if they have not repented (turned away and renounced) from their sin, asked God’s forgiveness, and chosen to surrender themselves entirely to Him, they will be eternally separated from Him, forever condemned to Hell. (Hebrews 3:12-19) For centuries, Israel, the beloved nation God had hand-crafted, chosen, and loved as His own, turned their back on the God who rescued them and chose to whore after other gods and a thousand lesser loves. This sin broke their relationship with God while also breaking God’s heart. Despite their rebellion, God still loved them and called them back to Himself time and time again through wise judges and prophets. God didn’t just send His audible word through prophets, He almost always commanded the prophet to live in such a way as to physically demonstrate the message He wanted Israel to understand. Such was the case with Hosea and Gomer. Gomer was a known prostitute, and everyone knew that when Hosea took her as his wife, she would undoubtedly return to her old ways. Whenever a Jew saw Hosea in the marketplace or on city streets, they witnessed the hurt in his eyes from Gomer’s repeated departure. They saw the injustice of her unfaithfulness and the wreckage it caused Hosea. Seeing Gomer was like looking at themselves in a mirror; the connection between Israel’s idolatry and Gomer’s prostitution couldn’t be ignored by anyone.

3) Why is abandonment connected to “blatant acts of promiscuity”? (verse 2)
The word choices of this verse can leave us a little confused, but we don’t need to ignore the struggle. It’s worth it to do a little extra digging and discover richer truths than a surface level reading. The Lord is explaining to Hosea the reason for His strange command to marry a known prostitute, “for the land is committing blatant acts of promiscuity by abandoning the Lord.” (verse 2) The land actually references the “inhabitants” of the land, but uses “land” to make it clear that it is a singular “whole body”. It wasn’t just a few groups of Israelites, but the entire nation that had defiled the covenant with God by their sin. About 75 years after Hosea’s prophecy to the Northern Kingdom, Israel, the prophet Jeremiah, who proclaimed God’s Word to the Southern Kingdom of Judah, describes the people’s unfaithfulness like this, “If a man divorces his wife and she leaves him to marry another, can he ever return to her? Wouldn’t such a land become totally defiled? But you (Judah)! You have prostituted yourself with many partners—can you return to Me?” (Jeremiah 3:1) Like Hosea, Jeremiah also used the illustration of a husband and wife’s marriage commitment to relay the severity of breaking the oneness covenant between God and Israel. God had remained faithful, but His people continued to abandon Him and His ways as they chased after other substitute “partners”.  

Everyday Application

1) What do the king names tell us about the timeline of Hosea and Israel’s story? (verse 1)
We read off names of Old Testament prophets, or skim them on our Bible’s table of contents, but rarely might we consider their faces, their families, dreams, and personal struggles. Just because we can read Hosea’s story beginning to end, doesn’t mean he knew it. We must keep this perspective if we are to truly feel the ragged edges of Hosea’s heart as he learned what it meant to wait on the Lord in the midst of a culture hell-bent on choosing sin and self. The centuries are different between Hosea’s culture and ours, but sin’s presence is just as prevalent, and our sin-seeking hearts are just as quick to abandon God and His one-of-a-kind love for us as Israel was. Challenge yourself to read all of Hosea this weekend, making special note of both the depth of sin and its affront to the Holy God, as well as the relentless pursuit of God for His people. As you read, don’t forget about Hosea’s personal story, and remember God has not forgotten yours. He purposefully brought Hosea into a work that lasted his lifetime but stretched all the way into our own century. Every surrendered story results in unimaginable love on display!

2) Why would God give such an outrageous command? (verse 2)
When we read Hosea’s love story, we can be reminded of our own and be encouraged that the same Lord authors them both. Though Hosea suffered deep betrayal, hurt, and rejection, never once did the Lord abandon him. The Lord chose Gomer as Hosea’s wife because He knew she would clearly demonstrate Israel’s unfaithfulness, and He also knew that Hosea’s humble, obedient surrender to the Lord would allow God to equip him to remain faithful to his wife. God didn’t call Hosea to an easy job, but in his surrender, Hosea vividly experienced not only the absolute heartbreak of our sin against God, but also the extravagant love of the God who chose to love Israel. Though Hosea’s calling was difficult, he was able to see, understand, and experience God’s heart better and more clearly in the face of his own painful relationship with his unfaithful wife. Sin became all the more putrid because Hosea felt its effects firsthand. As Hosea pursued his unfaithful wife again and again, and as God grew his heart to love her deeply, Hosea also felt the pull of intentional disciplined love that chooses another, even when rebellion has broken what was once whole. Consider what love looks like in your own varied relationships. Where has sin affected yourself or those you love? How has your sin hurt others? Bring these to the Lord, who knows the pain you suffer, and ask Him to redeem you just as He longed to do with ancient Israel and faithless Gomer.

3) Why is abandonment connected to “blatant acts of promiscuity”? (verse 2)
Israel’s “lesser loves” became more and more consuming the more Israel pursued them. The nations around them lured them away with cult-like practices and worshipping a plethora of false deities. To keep up with the flow of culture, Israel was swept away with their love of money and peer pressure, they exchanged worship to the One True God for the convenience of ludicrous act of bowing down to blocks of wood or stones. (Isaiah 44:15-19) As foolish as it is to worship inanimate objects, we do the same today in different forms. More personally, I do the same. I know I bow down to frenzied lust of hurry and busy as I sacrifice family time, personal sanity, and even deeper relationships all to the “god of hurry up and move”. I also have allowed the god of “my control” dictate the when, where, and how of not only my life, but as many other lives and relationships as I can manage to attempt to control as well. Distractions are everywhere, and the god of apathy slowly slides us away into “feeling too far behind” to even try to go to church or read my Bible. Fear pervades, and I find myself worshipping it too. Again and again, every single day, I ask the Lord to first help me identify the idols I am loving more than Him, and then I ask Him to cause my heart to loathe the attention I’m giving these false gods. Finally, I plead with the Lord to ruthlessly tear out these idols. I want to abandon my idols, not the One True God! Lord, give me an undivided heart so I can enjoy the fullness of Your presence in my everyday life!

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Digging Deeper is for Everyone!

1) Take this passage (or any other passage).
2) Read it, and the verses around it,
several times
3) Write down your questions
as you think of them.
4) Ask specific culture related questions and be ready to dig around for your answers. Google them, use www.studylight.org, or look them up in a study Bible and read the footnotes (click on the little letters next to a word and it will show you
other related verses!). (www.esvbible.org)
5) Check your applications with other trusted Christians that you are in community with and embrace the fullness of God
in your everyday!

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Why Dig Deeper?

Finding the original meaning is a huge deal when we study Scripture and can make all the difference in our understanding as we apply God’s truths to our everyday lives.

In our modern-day relationships, we want people to understand our original intention as we communicate; how much more so between God and humanity?!

Here’s a little bit more on why we take Digging Deeper so seriously.

Study Tools

We love getting help while we study and www.studylight.org is one of many excellent resources, providing the original Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament) with an English translation.

Want to know more about a specific word in a verse? Click on “Strong’s Interlinear Bible” then click the word you’d like to study. Discover “origin”, “definition” and hear the original pronunciation – That Is Awesome!

Want more background? Click “Study Tools”, then pick a few commentaries to read their scholarly approach, keeping in mind that just because a commentary says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. (just like the internet :-))

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