God's Amazing Love
God's Amazing Love
Hosea 3:4, 5: "For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince,
and without sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim:
Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord of their God, and David their king;
and shall fear the Lord and his goodness in the latter days."
In the first two chapters of the prophecy of Hosea we see the account of a broken home
which was a broken relationship between a man and his wife.
And we also see a broken nation a broken relationship between a people and their God.
Yet there is something unique about this broken home.
First, the tragedy is heightened in that the one sinned against is a prophet of God,
charged with the responsibility of preaching to a nation.
Second, the Lord God knew what was going to happen in the home of Hosea even before
He commanded His prophet to marry this woman named Gomer.
In God sovereign purpose, He used this heart breaking tragedy to add a dimension of compassion
and love to Hosea's life and ministry which he could never have had otherwise.
It enabled Hosea to catch a fleeting glimpse of the unfathomable suffering God experiences
when His people sin against Him.
In the first five verses comprising Hosea chapter 3, the love of God is described and demonstrated in four ways.
We might compare God's love here with a finely cut diamond, having four, distinct facets,
each of which flashes its fire in a different color or hue.
God's Seeking Love
Verse 1 reflects the heart of Hosea's entire message which is God's love toward those who are not worthy of it.
It was a revolutionary concept of the love of God which Hosea was being shown,
and was being commanded to demonstrate.
Throughout the Old Testament era, God's people had placed a confining limitation up on God's love.
They believed that God's mercy, His love, was limited to those who feared Him,
and to those who remembered His commandments; or, in other words,
God's mercy was for those who merited it.
When Jesus came, He redefined love.
Paul expressed it like this in Romans 5:7,: "For scarcely for a righteous man will one die:
yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
So through Hosea's experience with his unfaithful wife, Gomer, God was revealing the love
of His "new covenant," a love which seeks bought people, regardless of their moral, social, or spiritual condition.
There is no way, Hosea could have obeyed God's command to "go again, love the same woman, Gomer
[Now] an adulteress
" with human love.
By every human standard, Gomer had forfeited her right to any degree of acceptance by her fellow-man.
Yet in this command, God was giving Hosea the first and basic lesson of New Testament evangelism.
God's love goes out to man not because man is lovely, but because God is love.
So, when we say that God loves man, we are not saying anything about man and his moral qualifications,
but God is saying volumes about Himself and His seeking love.
So this is the kind of love which Hosea went out seeking Gomer, and it is the kind of love
with which God seeks sinful man.
God's Redeeming Love
As we gently turn the diamond of God's love another facet of that diamond sparkles:
"So I bought her for me for 15 pieces of silver, and for an homer of barley, and at half homer of barley." (Verse 2)
Here is the redeeming love of God.
Gomer had become a slave a concubine.
She had voluntarily sold herself.
So Hosea bought her back for the price of a slave.
This is the love that seeks not its own, that takes no account of evil, that "bears all things,
believes all things, hopes all things" it is a redeeming love.
When Hosea bought Gomer back from the slave market here was a woman who had defiled herself
in prostitution Hosea saw her in a way that he had never seen her before.
He saw her through the eyes of God, and he loved her with the heart of God.
Again, that is New Testament evangelism.
What kind of man was Hosea?
He was gentle, sensitive, a man of unquestioned integrity, and whose personal life was above reproach.
This makes his redemptive act, his willingness to take Gomer to himself again, all the more meaningful.
Had Gomer been of questionable character himself had he compromised with sin in his own life
he might have lightly brushed aside the sin of Gomer.
Instead, Hosea suffered agony because of her sin.
This is part of our redemption which we often do not see.
That is why Jesus, in Gethsemane, sweat "as it were great drops of blood." (Luke 22:44)
It was the agony, the suffering involved in taking to Himself our sins.
Hosea was not Jesus.
He was not perfect and sinless, nor did he take on himself the sins of Gomer, as Jesus did with our sins.
Yet there was within his situation the human counterpart of the relationship between Jesus Christ
and sinful humanity.
God's Disciplining Love
Verse 3 describes a love that disciplines: "And I said to her, you shall be [betrothed to me for many days,
you shall not play the harlot and you shall not belonged to another man.
So will I also be to you [until you have proved your loyalty to me and our marital relations may be resumed]."
Gomer was the prodigal wife who had been bought out of the slave market.
The beautiful and pure flower of chastity and godly womanhood had been torn from its stem
and trodden in the dirt.
Now she is told that she must remain for a time in seclusion.
That time will be a time of discipline.
She is not to enter her new relationship with Hosea in a flippant way.
She needs time for reflection, and for a realization of where she had been, where she was at the moment,
and where she must go from there.
Jesus told of a man who, in the heat of enthusiasm and excitement, began to build a tower.
But he had to abandon the project before it was finished because he had not counted the cost.
That are doubtless many Christians who spiritual growth and development have been aborted
because there was no discipline following their conversion.
They needed to have been taught, nurtured, and instructed.
Hosea instituted this program of discipline for Gomer, just as the church should consider it itself
the spiritual custodian of the new believer who comes into its midst.
This is the discipline of love which is more than sentimentality and emotion.
God's Triumphant Love
The fourth facet of our diamond is: "Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God,
inquiring of and requiring Him [from the line of] David, their King [of Kings]; and they shall come in [anxious] fear
to the Lord, and to His goodness and His good things in the latter days." (Verse 5, Amplified Bible)
Here is that which is always typical of our God: the last word is love, not wrath.
It is grace not judgment.
It is return, not exile.
To fear God is not to be afraid of Him as one would fear a tyrant.
That kind of fear "hath torment."
Rather it is to stand in awe of Him, and to bow reverently before His majesty and holiness.
For God's goodness places a person under much heavier obligation than evil.
If the father of the prodigal son had been hard or cruel, then the far country would not have been
nearly as tormenting to the wayward prodigal.
But to sin against love, to return evil for good, is a heavy burden for man to bear.
So how shall we respond to this irresistible level God?
We must remember that a good God is far more to be feared and reverenced and held in awe.
For a "good" God requires goodness of His people, and it is a goodness which is found
in His righteousness which is imputed to them "by grace, through faith
not of works,
lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:8, 9)
"Amazing love, how can it be
That you my king would die for me
Amazing love, I know it's true
It's my joy to honor you
Amazing love, how can it be
That you My king would die for me
Amazing love, I know it's true
It's my joy to honor you
In all I do I honor you."
By Charles Wesley
Sermon was adapted from several sources by Dr. Harold L. White