Let’s take a glimpse into the past for moment…imagine you are a Jew, or even a prophet living in Israel in the time of Hosea. Can you imagine the scene in Samaria during this time? You get to where Hosea is. You finally get up the nerve to ask,” does your wife work at one of the brothels at the red light district? How do you call yourself a man of God? And how are you still married to her? How come you don’t divorce her?” Then Hosea turns slowly to you…with fire in his eyes. He says,” first let me ask you a question. How is that you who belong to the Lord, still worship Baal? How is that you claim you love Adonai, but rarely show up at the place of worship? How is that you say you love Adonai, but you are more concerned about your career, your money, women, or anything but the living God? Then Hosea says,” God himself told me to marry Gomer. It was to show the people of Israel how unfaithful they have been to the Lord, and to show how he loves them in spite of their spiritual adultery.”
Isn’t it amazing how God loves us in spite of our spiritual inconsistency? I think there is nothing wrong with getting a spiritual check up every now and then. We can never get enough reminders of the power and grace contained in the Gospel of Christ Jesus.
In spite of the people of Israel straying away, and in spite of our straying away, Christ has still purchased us forever. He bought us back folks….he bought us back.
Hosea 3 (NLT) 3 Then the Lord said to me, “Go and love your wife again, even though she commits adultery with another lover. This will illustrate that the Lord still loves Israel, even though the people have turned to other gods and love to worship them.”2 So I bought her back for fifteen pieces of silver and five bushels of barley and a measure of wine.
As he had done previously in taking Gomer as his wife, so Hosea again follows God’s command and secures Gomer—this time from another man. Last Sunday when we looked at Hosea, we learned that Gomer had gone off with another man in an adulterous relationship. Despite her sin, Hosea is to demonstrate his abiding love for her and take her back as his wife. In so doing Hosea will symbolize the Lord’s unending love and concern for Israel despite its flirtations with Baal and other pagan deities and despite his need to punish his people.
Having brought Gomer back to his house, Hosea instructs her that she must live in total sexual abstinence for a period of time before her full family status is restored. Hosea, however, will remain faithful to her (cf. 2:19-20). After Gomer turns to him in loving commitment, she will again receive all the blessings of full family privileges.
It’s the same with us….we must fully commit to our covenant with Christ.
So for us as Christians, the Son of God has purchased us, and the covenant has been drawn up in blood. However, the consummation and celebration has not taken place yet. We will finally finish the wedding when we see Christ! But for now, just take great pleasure in the fact that we are blood bought!
Let’s live like we’ve been bought back
See Christ doesn’t care who you used to be. He doesn’t care about your past. When you put your faith in him, he buys you back. What do I mean? Well ever since our father Adam and our mother Havah (Eve) sinned against the Lord and violated his commands, a physical and spiritual separation was created between us and the presence of God, a breach was created.
When you understand the magnitude and gravity of sin and you see why the Son of God had to die for our sin. So sin is the reason Christ had to post bail for us. And he paid with his own blood, not to the devil, but to the Father. But if you are a believer then you are free! And because of this freedom, we should live lives of gratitude!!
1 Corinthians 6:19-20New Living Translation (NLT) 19 Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.
So to the Christian…your body is a temple. You’ve been redeemed, you been bought back. The price was the blood of the eternal Son of God. Since our bodies are the temple of the Spirit, we have unlimited access to the presence of the Spirit of God. And because of this, we as God’s people should have unlimited intimacy with God. But yet we still struggle with that. But this is nothing new; Hosea talks about this as well….
Hosea 4:6 (NLT)6 My people are being destroyed because they don’t know me. Since you priests refuse to know me, I refuse to recognize you as my priests. Since you have forgotten the laws of your God, I will forget to bless your children.
Hosea says that God’s people are being destroyed because they don’t know Him. Some translations say that we are destroyed for a lack of knowledge. And because the priests don’t know him, he will refuse to recognize them as priests. And since we have forgotten God’s laws, he will forget our children .
This is powerful, powerful, powerful! This is challenging but we need it. I need it. Let’s break down this verse into different parts:
Hosea 4:6 (NLT)6 My people are being destroyed because they don’t know me. — The first thing I thought of when I read this was the famous hymn, “What A Friend We Have In Jesus.”
What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.
Joseph Medlicott Scriven(1819-1886) is best known for his world-famous hymn, ‘What a Friend We Have in Jesus’. 1855. Scriven wrote this hymn to comfort his mother, who was across the sea from him in Ireland. It was originally published anonymously, and Scriven did not receive full credit for almost 30 years.
Even though he suffered great tragedy in his personal life, Scrivens’ words stand the test of time. Oh what peace we often forfeit. Oh what needless pain we bear? All because we do not carry; everything to God in prayer! Oh church, there are so many promises in the Bible that are tied to intimacy! That word for knowledge in this passage is “ya’da,” and it’s a word for intimacy! It’s the same word that is used in the Old Testament that says Adam “knew” his wife Eve and she conceived Cain and Abel. We are being destroyed because we don’t KNOW HIM!
Since you priests refuse to know me, I refuse to recognize you as my priests —- And another part of this is very sobering. Now in the Old Testament there was a handful of designated priests, but in the New Testament, every believer becomes a priest:
1 Peter 2:9 (NLT) But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.
In Revelation, the words of Christ himself are that we are a kingdom of priests. We are a royal priesthood, he has called us out of darkness into his marvelous light in some translations. But we need to take that priesthood very seriously. What does it mean today that every Christian is a priest?
Having sanctified and perfected us in His Father’s sight forevermore through His offering of Himself (Heb. 10:10–14), Christ Jesus has made all who are in Him the priesthood that God always intended His people to be. No longer need we rely on an intermediary who is a sinner like us; rather, the Lord has become the mediator between Himself and His own in the person of the God-man Jesus Christ (9:15).
Since we are priests, let us remember our responsibility according to Malachi:
Malachi 2:7 (NLT0 “The words of a priest’s lips should preserve knowledge of God, and people should go to him for instruction, for the priest is the messenger of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
Since we are all priests, we all have a responsibility. We are students of the Spirit of God. You need to be people of the Book. Study our Lord’s life, his parables, his words. You are the messenger of the Lord of Hosts in some translations; our lips are supposed to preserve knowledge of God, guard the knowledge of God, preach and proclaim Christ to the world…don’t let us be like the people in Hosea 4:6…which we will reexamine
Since you have forgotten the laws of your God, I will forget to bless your children.
You know….our choices and especially our attitude about Jesus Christ will directly affect our children’s attitudes about Jesus Christ. If we take him seriously, our children will be more likely to take Him seriously. If we take Him for a joke, through our actions, because it doesn’t matter what we say, then our children are less likely to take him seriously. But remember that knowing Jesus and telling others about Him, and then bringing those who we tell about Jesus to maturity in Him so that they produce disciples, is our most important job in life. And in the coming weeks we are going to learn specifically how we can do that. How we can share Christ with anybody from any country or background.
Knowing Jesus is our priority in life
Here it is folks…this rabbi walked in a foreign country 2,000 years ago. He was probably olive-skinned, probably had curly hair, a big nose, and a long thick beard. He spoke at least two languages, Greek when he was around the Greeks and Romans, and he probably spoke Aramaic when he was with family and friends, which sounds a lot like Arabic. Many people today, especially westerners, would be uncomfortable around Jesus if we put him in his Middle Eastern, Jewish shoes. But yet this is the guy that the Father saw fit to send to the Earth. He claimed he was God in the flesh, God in an earth suit. If you really sit and think about it, it seems crazy that the Son of God would come to a tiny little country on the Mediterranean coast, and then live only 33 years, and then die. And then die in the most horrendous fashion invented by human beings. No form of death or torture even today can match crucifixion in cruelty and brutality. But yet, this is the man who said he was the Bread of Life. He said he was the light of the world. He is the most controversial and yet most influential person who has ever lived. But I believe he was much more than just a man, and much more than just a prophet. I believe with everything I AM that Jesus Christ IS the Son of God and he lives today!! And this truth, this eclipses all other life pursuits.
There is nothing else on earth more important than getting to know Jesus, and getting other people onto the team, Team Jesus. So we must start by knowing him, by ya’da, intimacy. Also….I think when Hosea says that the Lord could forget to bless our children, this goes back to Genesis. When Cain killed Abel in the book of Genesis, what did God say to Cain? He said, your brother’s blood cries out from the ground? What on Earth did that mean? Abel’s bloodline was forever wiped out. My point is…..God warned Cain about his actions before he killed his brother. The results were disastrous. However, many people have taken their mantle as priests of the Lord very seriously. And God is warning us through Hosea, let’s not let our inconsistency and any spiritual cheating that we do on Jesus, affect our generations. All of our choices will bear fruit, good or bad, they will bear fruit.
We have to decide today if we are going to take our status as priests seriously, and let our lips guard and preserve the knowledge of God like Micah 2 says. And in order to do this, repentance, meaning a change of mind and a change of heart, must take place in us. And if we do this, I promise you that 2017 will be the most powerful year of your lives. It will be the most joyous, hopeful, Spirit-led, Spirit-filled and miraculous year of your lives! So as we transition into a new year, let’s return to the Lord.
Hosea 6New Living Translation (NLT) “Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces; now he will heal us. He has injured us; now he will bandage our wounds. 2 In just a short time he will restore us, so that we may live in his presence. 3 Oh, that we might know the Lord! Let us press on to know him. He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring.”
God spoke through Hosea and told the people to return to the Lord. He had torn the people to pieces through the preaching of the prophets but now he would heal them. He injured them, but would bandage their wounds. In a short time he would restore them so they could live in his presence. Oh! He says we should press on to know the Lord. He would respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in the early spring.
Let’s break down these verses and explore them further!
Hosea 6New Living Translation (NLT) 6 “Come, let us return to the Lord.
He has torn us to pieces; now he will heal us.
The Lord has challenged us with his Word. He has sometimes said no to our prayers about getting out of certain situations. But now he wants to heal us. He wants us to return to Him.
He has injured us;
now he will bandage our wounds.
I pray Isaiah 61 before every sermon. It talks about the Spirit of the Lord being upon the preacher, and anointing them to proclaim the good news. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted, it says, and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. 2 He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord’s favor has come; and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies. To all who mourn in Neighborhood Church, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks; that the Lord has planted for his own glory.
2 In just a short time he will restore us,
so that we may live in his presence.
In just a short time he will restore us, so that we may live in his presence. He doesn’t want us just to vacation with Him every so often, or have a once a week, 1-hour relationship with Him. But we will live in His presence.
3 Oh, that we might know the Lord!
Let us press on to know him.
Oh that we would know the Lord, not know about Him, but know Him! Know how he would respond to situations, know how he would want us to pray, and where to go.
He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn
or the coming of rains in early spring.”
He will respond to us, as surely as the sun rises, and as surely as April showers bring may flowers.
In the rest of the book, God reveals to his audience God’s powerful and passionate commitment to his people, in spite of their unfaithfulness.
He is as faithful as the sunrise & season changes –
He will come to us, as surely as the dawn, and the spring rains. Neighborhood Church, God has blessed us tremendously. But let’s not be satisfied! You know what I see? I see churches starting in all these tiny northern towns where there are no churches. I see churches starting on the Hokkaido Island like Rishiri and Okushiri where there are no churches, if there aren’t any. I see those small islands near Okinawa having communities of believers. I believe a vision sometimes has to stretch beyond an individual lifetime. But folks, let’s not be satisfied if you’re feeling blessed, and if you’re discouraged, be encouraged. God is so moved when his people cry out to Him that his coming is described like the dawn. His coming is like the spring rains, meaning GUARANTEED. Let’s refocus, recalibrate and be intentional again about drawing close to Him and then moving on to maturity in Him, and then moving on enlisting more people into the armies of Heaven, the armies of Christ, the Commander in Chief.