How would you describe a “Bad Marriage”? For some men it might be described as “Having a wife that does not do what I tell her”. That would be domineering, power crazed husband. To some women it could be having a husband who “doesn’t put his dirty clothes in the dirty clothes hamper”. Men, how would you feel if you had an unfaithful wife? How would you feel if every time you turned around she was hanging out at the brothel, and participating with the prostitutes?
Most men would cry “Foul!” on that one I am sure. Women frown on a husband who takes on multiple women too. Women like their men to be faithful too. It is, as a matter of fact, part of the Marriage vows, to have no other. That goes for the husband and the wife.
My reading this morning was Hosea 3 – 14 and Joel 1-3. Hosea was a prophet who was told by God to marry “wife of whoredoms”. Now this is a little difficult to understand seeing how God forbade his men from marrying unclean women. However, we do see God in some places telling His prophets to do strange, and unusual things. Isaiah was to parade “naked” through the streets (Isaiah 20). He had Ezekiel laying on his side for several days eating food prepared with cow dung, and had first told him to use human dung (Ezekiel 4). Now God tells Hosea to marry a whore.
Hosea is to be a picture of Israel’s departure from the LORD. Israel has committed adultery, whoredom against God, and God in His love, mercy and grace calls out for them to come back to Him.
“Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her. And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.” Hosea 2:14-15 (KJV)
I realize this was not part of my reading today, but it is part of Hosea. If you will, remember the “valley of Achor”. It was the place where Achan had hidden contraband under his tent and brought judgment upon the nation of Israel after they had conquered Jericho (Joshua 7 and look at verse 26). You could even say of the word “allure” above that God had in mind, “romancing” Israel back to Himself. He has loved her with an everlasting love. What better romance can that be?
I have heard the prophecy of Hosea referred to as the Old Testament’s “gospel of John”, particularly “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
One of the things we can see in the reading of Hosea is that God does not love blindly. You have heard the phrase, “Love is blind”. God’s love is not blind. I believe it is in front of our National Justice Department that there is an statue of what is often referred to as “Lady Justice” (Probably showing my ignorance here), and it is of a woman holding scales in her hands while blind folded; giving us a picture of justice being blind. God’s love nor justice is blind. He loves seeing clearly the sins, faults and failures of the one He loves. He judges justly as well without a blind fold.
That is what makes His love so powerful and wonderful. He loves despite our sin.
God says to Israel through the prophet Hosea,
“I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for Mine anger is turned away from him. I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon. His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon. They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon.” 14:4-7
Yes! You could say Hosea had a “Bad Marriage”, but he also followed God’s plan and restored that marriage. It was based on open eyes, seeing clearly, and loving his bride anyway; alluring her back to himself. What a wonderful, holy, love.
The gift of Christ on the cross is the marvelous gift of God’s wonderful love. Jesus Christ bore our iniquities on His cross, took our sins upon Himself, and paid the price that was owed to God for our sins. By His bodily resurrection we are justified by God forever. You cannot find a stronger love than that.
-Tim A. Blankenship