This is a message through Pastor Danny Ninal delivered in the afternoon service of City Cross Link on 02 February 2020. From the Book of Hosea.
I would share with you something that I am sure you as husband and wife can think of and discuss. And I want to kick it off with the most absurd or unusual love story of all. But before we dive in there, let be start with a backgrounder.
The last 12 books of the Old Testament are known as the Minor Prophets. It’s not that their message is minor, they’re just shorter than others. The first of these minor prophets is a man named Hosea.
Many of these prophets had to go through lots of trials and difficulties; lots of strange things, lots of painful things in life.
But no prophet preached a more painful sermon than Hosea. His was the strangest message I have ever seen.
He was instructed to marry a prostitute named Gomer, who gave him three children, and he wasn’t even sure that the last two children were his. Let’s watch a short clip about this Strange Love story.
(click on this link to see the video clip)
Brothers and sisters, if that is not a strange love story, I don’t know what is. Gomer left Hosea for another man, and Hosea had the humiliating responsibility of buying back his own wife. There must be some lessons to this, otherwise, this is just simply crazy. And God doesn’t just put stories in the bible, because they are unusual. They are strange because there is a lesson on it. And that is what we are going to discuss this afternoon.
I would like to start of with the words of Hosea himself, in the clip.
GOD’S LOVE IS NOT DEPENDENT ON US
And this concept of true love which is not dependent upon the other, is entrenched deeply into the concept of COVENANT. The story here reflects the love story between God and Israel. God made a covenant with Israel. God saved Israel countless of times. We can think of Slavery from Egypt. God saved Israel from the Egyptians by dividing the sea so they can cross and escape from the Egyptians. God gave them Manna from heaven so the Israelites didn’t starve in the desert.
And, like Gomer, Israel continued to disobey God. They continued to worship Idols and the god Baal. They continue to disregard blatantly the love of God, by looking for other means of enjoyment. They even crucified His only Son, Jesus Christ.
And yet, God continues to love his people.
Let’s look at the mirror and ask ourselves. Are we better than the Israelites, or the Jews? No, we are not. Like them, and like Gomer, we continue to disobey him, and search for other worldly means of pleasure. Yet God continues to love us. He even purchased us back with the blood of His own Son, Jesus Christ. He bought us back, not just with 15 silvers and barley, but with the life of His only Son.
What is the lesson here? Let us look at that first point again.
GOD’S LOVE IS NOT DEPENDENT ON US.
Here is how it works. He made a covenant with us. A Covenant not a contract. Do you know what is the difference?
A Contract by legal definition means: An agreement between private parties creating mutual obligations enforceable by law.
In simple terms, it means “I will give you this, if you give me that.” An exchange of a valid offer and acceptance with adequate consideration or payment. For example, Armand and I will go into a contract agreement that Armand will supply me with 10,000 kilograms of “almost ripe” mangoes every month, and in return I will give him a contract of P12Million a year.
If Armand supplies that, I am bound by law to pay him. However, if he fails to do so, then I am not bound to pay. For instance, the requirement in the contract is 10,000 kilos of “almost ripe” mangoes. If he supplies only 5,000 kilograms, I am not obliged to pay, because he is short. Or if he supplies over-ripe mangoes, then I am not obliged to pay, because the contract says “almost ripe.”
That is the mechanics of a contract.
On the other hand, a Covenant is different, in a sense that the one who makes the covenant does so no matter what the performance of the other is. The covenant is not dependent on the other person.
An illustration of this could be a person’s Last Will and Testament. The person who signs the Will does not require the beneficiary to sign. In fact, the beneficiary, if of legal age, will receive the inheritance mentioned in the Will.
Let us take a look at Genesis 17:7
“I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants… TO BE YOUR GOD AND THE GOD OF YOUR DESCENDANT AFTER YOU.”
And then look at Judges 2:1 this is the angel of the Lord telling the people
“I WILL NEVER BREAK MY COVENANT WITH YOU.”
So, this is how God love is. IT IS NOT DEPENDENT ON US. No matter what we do, God will continue to love us. There is nothing too good that we do which will make God love us more. There is nothing too bad that we do which will make God love us less.
GOD’S LOVE IS NOT DEPENDENT ON US.
Ah. Let’s go back to Hosea and Gomer. Do you remember what Hosea did after he realized that God’s love is not dependent on man? He went and looked for Gomer, this time willing to pay more than what was required, just to get her back.
But let us go one step back, and read Hosea 1:2
When the LORD first began speaking to Israel through Hosea, he said to him, “Go and marry a prostitute, so that some of her children will be conceived in prostitution. This will illustrate how Israel has acted like a prostitute by turning against the LORD and worshiping other gods.” New Living Translation
The first thing you’ll see is this. As this man married a prostitute, some people must have watched him with pity. Or others with confusion. Perhaps indifference. Perhaps, somebody stood on the street and said to him “Hosea, we love you, we respect you, we admire you. You’re a man of integrity. But we do have a question for you. ‘How can a holy man like you, be in love with such an adulterous woman like that.’”
And Hosea said, “I’m really glad you ask because I have an answer for you. Now I’m beginning to wonder, how a Holy God like that can love such an adulterous nation like us?” Or better yet, “How can a Holy God like that can love such an undeserving man like me?” This is the second point, of today’s message:
GOD’S LOVE IS UNDESERVED, UNMERITED.
The story of Hosea and Gomes is not just a strange love story. In this story you see a microscopic image of the heart of God. And if we look closer at the image, zoom it out, see God’s heart, we will understand better, how this Holy God can love an underserving people like us.
Let us go even further back. Let us to the time God was looking for a nation. A nation through whom He would reveal Himself.
GREECE. Why did He not go to Greece? Greece was the land of philosophers, great minds like Socrates, Plato, Aristotle. Contemporary philosophers are nothing compared to these brilliant minds of Greece. Greece looked like a logical option for a nation through whom God can reveal Himself. But no.
ROME. Why did he not go to Rome? That glorious city which was not built in a day? The majesty of the Caesars. The organizational skills of the Romans. But no, God did not choose Rome, nor the Romans.
BABYLON. Nor did God go to Babylon, which was renowned in building its palaces of splendour. Why not? Greece, Rome, Babylon. No. He did not.
God went instead to a little tiny nation of people, LAUGHED AT BY GREECE, ABUSED BY ROME, ENSLAVED BY BABYLON. And God said to this little nation, “You are the apple of my eye.”
Do you know that the original word used in this phrase was “Maiden” and not “Apple”.? The original quote was “You are the maiden of my eye.”
It is so deeply touching. It is like this. For instance, you are telling the woman you love, “Come close. Come closer. Come very close, and look into my eyes. When you see that miniature reflection of yourself, you will know that you alone are that little maiden in my eye.
God took that love to the maiden of His eye. He chose the most undeserving group of people.