The Threatened Marriage
One of the greatest moments in my life was when Mary’s dad, who helped officiate our wedding almost forty-nine years ago, asked, “Will you take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife?” I said, “I will.” And then Mary gave the same response.
Down through the years I’ve had the privilege of officiating a lot of weddings and seeing a man and woman enter into this divine covenant still thrills me. But one of my greatest discouragements is seeing a couple enter a court after all the counseling has failed and seeing them reverse their wedding vows.
What flabbergasts me as I read the Book of Hosea is that it takes us into a courtroom where God is the husband whose wife has committed adultery against him and had children from her multiple illicit partners. He’s the maligned husband and he’s also the Judge who will decide the fate of his former wife.
Our text today introduces the conflict between God and Israel, his wife. She has abandoned him, but the Lord is imploring his legitimate children to plead with their immoral mother to return to him before it’s too late.
“Contend with your mother! Contend! For she is not my wife, and I am not her husband. Let her remove her immorality from her face and her adulteries from between her breasts, lest I strip her naked and make her as bare as the day she was born. I will make her like the wilderness. I will turn her into parched ground and slay her with thirst.” Hosea 2:2-3
It’s God’s marriage to Israel, not Hosea’s marriage to Gomer, that’s the main focus. In the narrative of Exodus God and Israel entered into a covenant at Mt. Sinai, but by Hosea’s time, the majority of the population in the Northern Kingdom are worshiping Baal and the goddess Astarte, powerful Canaanite false gods.
They have broken the First and Second Commandment and the death penalty for this high treason is threatened. At this point, however, the people can still listen to what Hosea and his followers are saying. Individuals can turn away from their traitorous acts against the LORD and escape the threatened end of the Kingdom of Israel (Hosea 1:4).
LORD, help me to recognize that you’re justly jealous of my loyal devotion. You deserve my heart and I’m thankful that in Jesus’ gift of a new life you have made it possible for me to love you. I pray for friends who are seeking to turn their children away from immorality and apostasy towards you. Move these young adults to realize that the wages of sin is still death before it’s too late. Move them to come back to your love.
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