June 27, 2022 Pastor Steve Behlke

The price of a lasting relationship

The price of a lasting relationship

Part III in the Hosea Sermon Series


The OT prophet Hosea called God’s people to turn from their infatuation with the counterfeit gods and sinful identities and godless idols and beliefs of the people around them. He did not portray God as an angry ruler or an angry, by-the-book Judge, but as a spurned husband who loves his wife.


God literally had Hosea live out His pain. Hosea’s name means salvation. God picked out a girl for him; he fell in love with her; but she didn’t know how to be loved. Hosea married a gal who didn’t know how to be a wife. 


Her name was Gomer, let's call her Gomere. Gomer means to complete—but Gomer or Gomere did not complete Hosea. She just kept breaking his heart! Getting picked up by men who bought and gave her things but used and abused her, which reflected how Israel’s gods (our idols) use and abuse us.


By chapter three, the street walking wife of Hosea the prophet of God was living in sin with another man. But months later, her most recent lover was done with her...


News comes to Hosea that she’s “for sale” in one of the big cities nearby. Maybe the guy kicked her out and she’s destitute, so she’s putting herself up as a common slave. Or she married the guy and he’s selling her. Or maybe he lost her to another seller in a card game...


However it happened she’s got no money, no control, no hope. And Hosea may be wrestling with what to do?


Hosea 3:1 Then the LORD said to me, 


Sometimes we have these really hard—what should I do—conversations with ourselves. We know what we want to do. We don't want to be hurt again. We want to protect ourselves. We want the easiest path to happiness. And it’s not that we don’t consider what the Lord wants but we want what we want…


Just knowing the right thing to do is hard enough, yet doing it is even harder. If you know what God says to do but you don’t plan to do it, it’s just your flesh talking to you. Even if you think about God's Word, if you refuse to do it you are not "face-to-face" talking with God as Hosea. You are in your flesh considering it, but you are not listening to the Lord speak to your heart.


It's like light breaking through when God speaks and we hear Him with faith. God spoke! It wasn’t what anything like Hosea's friends said to do,


Hosea 3:1 Then the LORD said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by her husband, yet an adulteress...

 

Go again, love her. This isn’t the first time she was stranded outside a guy’s house at 4:00 AM. This isn’t the first time he’s had to forgive her. “Go again, love her” find her and bring her home. Go again, love the wife you love, who breaks your heart, and humiliates you, by committing adultery.


But how could Hosea still love her? How could anyone still love their spouse after this? It’s in the next phrase in v1, "even as the LORD loves [us]."


Hosea 3:1 Go again, love even as the LORD loves the sons of Israel, though they turn to other gods...”


In other words, love as Christ has loved you. So know His love, number 1.


Just as we set our desires over God, we chase after idols, beliefs we set over God—Gomer moved in with one of her lover's. But that relationship failed her. She for sale but nobody’s buying what she was selling. 


And she is in the proverbial wilderness. No money, no control, no hope. 

And last week, God said that’s where He’d meet us: “I will meet you in the wilderness and will speak kindly to your heart there… win back your love.”


So like God, Hosea searched the wilderness and found his wife. Looking worse for the wear. It’s one thing to read it, another thing to see her. A new low. Hosea may have thought about ending it now. But he loved her. 


And God encouraged him, “Go again, love her as the LORD loves you.”


God is never the voice that tells you, “Go ahead, get the divorce. I want you out of this crazy marriage. I’ve done all that I can! I can’t help you any more.”


God’s voice is, “Go again, love her just as the LORD loves YOU despite your sin and unfaithfulness.


God knows we are selfish, prone to wander, susceptible to temptation. Yet He loves you. He knows we are all too human! And we should extend that same reality, that same grace to each other. In our homes. Our church.


Unlike God, you are not the perfect husband and your wife is not the perfect wife. Like you, she’s human. She won’t always love you how you want to be loved. He won’t get you completely. He’ll let you down. She’ll do things that hurt. Too much of our frustration is from expecting them to love us just as we want, be everything we need, give us everything we need. But only God is capable of that. And He does.


When we get that it is easier to drop our expectations. Easier. Not easy. But it’s at least a possibility. And Christ is in us—so it’s doable. 


Christian husbands, we are commanded to love our wives as Christ loved the Church. Hosea is an outstanding example of that kind of love. More than anything it is marked by faithful forgiveness for every act. Forgiveness for not loving him. Forgiveness for being the only way she knows how to be.

 

So, like God, Hosea searched for her with a love that bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. When Hosea found her, 


Hosea 3:2 So I purchased her for myself for fifteen shekels of silver, and a homer and a half of barley. [Hosea only had half the cash, so he paid the rest with barley, which totaled 30 pieces of silver, the price for a common slave.]


Hosea is living out God’s love for us, and he has the opportunity to love her again. She is at her pathetic worst. Nobody wants her. And he was not wealthy. It’s a huge sacrifice to buy her back but such is God’s love for us,


1 John 4:10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 


Romans 5:6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly… 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 


Sometimes love doesn’t really begin until we are at our worst. This is when love is tested. This is when the glory and the transforming power of love, grace, shine brightest... against the darkness of sin. 


When Adam sinned is the when God first showed His grace. Because of our sin, Christ died. And in our daily failures, big sins, hurtful words, unloving actions, He reveals His grace. When we need God’s love most, He never fails.


Gomere never trusted, so she never experienced Hosea’s love until her sin otherwise destroyed her. Her marriage, her children. Her longing for love. 


While the glory of God’s love is grace, the glory of grace is forgiveness.


Hosea paid the price to get his wife back. That’s the price of forgiveness. Forgiveness is the cost of love, redemption, restoration. Without forgiveness there will be no redemption nor restoration. Without Christ’s payment, without Hosea’s redemptive sacrifice there is no redemption nor restoration. 


We learn from Jesus that forgiveness is paying for the other person’s offense. Because we all sin, this is the cost of maintaining the relationship and without forgiveness, the relationship dies. As does joy. Love. Hope.


After he pays, there is no price tag attached to His forgiveness. We don't owe Jesus for the rest of our lives. We're not indebted to Him forever. Hosea’s not like, “She owes me for the rest of her life!” Hosea wanted his wife’s love, just as God wants yours. May we know the price Jesus paid and know God’s love. 


Hosea paid for her. Then he drove home with her in the passenger seat. Silent? Weeping? Fearful? Hopeful? How will he treat me? What’ll he say?


Hosea 3:3 Then I said to her, “You shall live with me for many days. You shall not play the prostitute, nor shall you have another man; so I will also be toward you.” [More than saying He will be faithful to her, he’s saying he will not have sexual relations with her during this time either.] 


This is love. This is patient, compassionate, healing love. 


God wants to protect your vulnerability and earn your trust so that He can love you and our love and trust in Him grows. 


Hosea and his wife won’t have sexual relations for a while after she returns because Gomere knew men only as users. They used her body without loving her. She tried to believe in love but it never lasted. They all used me and then got sick of me. Hosea says, and God says, His love is different.


God cares deeply for you and for the choices you make. BUT No matter what mess you’ve gotten yourself into, you matter to God. “I lay my life down for you. I love you with an everlasting always giving love. I forgive your sins over and over: 70 x 7 for those who count, then I start all over again. There is never ever condemnation for those who are in Christ. If your sin doubles, God’s grace triples…


Let’s wrap up Hosea 3,


Hosea 3:1 Then the LORD said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by her husband, yet an adulteress, even as the LORD loves the sons of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love raisin cakes.” 2 So I bought her for myself for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a half of barley. 3 Then I said to her, “You shall stay with me for many days. You shall not play the harlot, nor shall you have a man; so I will also be toward you." 4 For the sons of Israel will live for many days without a king or leader, without sacrifice or memorial stone, and without ephod or household idols.


To this day, Israel remains without a king, a temple, priests or sacrifices. And she still doesn’t know the God who loves her. 


BUT God’s covenants are eternal: Romans 9 and 11! God’s plans for Israel remain. Although they are out of fellowship, they will trust Jesus one day. He will restore them. God’s promises to them will be realized in that day.


Hosea 3:5 Afterward the sons of Israel will return and seek the LORD their God and David their king [who represents Jesus Christ, the Son of David]; and they will come trembling to the LORD and to His goodness in the last days.


“Afterward,” Hosea says, following the great tribulation, God will cause light to shine in the darkness, Jesus shall return and Israel will see Him in a new light. Even though she’ll come trembling before Him in fear and guilt, those who survive the tribulation will trust Him and find God’s goodness. 


And the Lord will be her husband. Her God. And they will enter His rest.


And the church? The bride of Christ. His purposes for us remain. His destiny for us remains. We will know and share in His love and His holiness and His goodness forever. We shall reign with Christ over the kingdom. Even over the angels. Establishing true justice and mercy and goodness. 


And right now we can trust His love and submit ourselves and honor Him.