What do you do with someone who has been unfaithful to you? Imagine the heartache and wreckage that Hosea had do deal with. Every time he looked at Gomer, his wife, he saw her unfaithfulness and adultery. Every he crossed paths with the children in his house two of them reminded him of Gomer’s unfaithfulness. So what do you do? How do you respond?
Take this a step further. When God looks and sees his people living as spiritual adulterers what does He do? How should a holy, perfect, righteous God deal with the people who have failed to keep covenant with Him? What does God do with His own, faithless people? This is the picture that unfolds in Hosea chapter 2. The way God responds to his spiritually adulterous people is not to be a passive, reluctant victim. Instead He confronts and pursues His people so that he might win them back and reconcile them to Himself. That’s how the second chapter of Hosea could be summed up:
When confronted with spiritual adulterous people, God actively works to reconcile and redeem them to himself.
How does God do this? Over the next few weeks we will explore this but today let’s look at the first way. The first way that God pursues His spiritually adulterous people is by pleading for their repentance (vv. 2–5).
The language of chapter two isn’t that of a home dispute or quarrel, its of a courtroom. The word “plead” is a legal word that can mean that God contends or pleads his case. Furthermore chapter two is written in the first person, straight from God. God has brought his unfaithful people into the courtroom and is laying out for them serious charges against them. His case is airtight.
Verse 5 gives us a clue of how in day-to-day life Israel has been unfaithful to God:
For their mother has played the whore; she who conceived them has acted shamefully. For she said, ‘I will go after my lovers, who give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.’
Israel acted like a prostitute. She acted in a manner that was shameful and disgraceful. And we must ask what was her great sin? What did she do? Essentially Israel pursued false gods, false idols and attributed everything good that God had given to them as coming from these false sources.
We might not think of ourselves as spiritual adulterers but we often do the same thing. Instead of giving God glory for our wealth, our daily provisions, our happy circumstances we attribute these things to any other number of sources. We like to think that we were industrious enough in and of ourselves to earn the promotion. We look at happen to believe that our good fortune are a product of our financial insight and wisdom. We believe we deserve from God good things because we are such good people.
We need to let Israel’s spiritual adultery be a lesson for us. At the root of the issue we must recognize that Israel’s unfaithfulness was really her unwillingness to glorify God for all that He had given them. They failed to worship God as the source of everything good they had. Paul describes this unfaithfulness in this way:
”For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but became futile in their thinking… and exchanged the glory of God for images.”
Are you unthankful? Do you attribute the wealth, prosperity and relative peace of your life to nature, luck, your own wisdom, or some other source? Do you fail to glorify God and in so doing demonstrate yourself as a spiritual adulterer? If so God has a word for you. Repent!
Verse 2–4 reveal a side of God that many Christians are uncomfortable with. It’s the side of God that we’d rather ignore. God promises punishment against his unfaithful people. Essentially, God is saying “if you do not repent, then I will bring disaster upon you.” All the prosperity, peace and fortune that Israel now enjoyed God promises to remove and do it quickly. He will bring shame, barrenness and death.
Lest we see this as God being capricious and petty we must remember that this is God pleading for covenant-faithfulness in his people. His goal is to win back his bride. He wants to be reconciled with the very people he has made a covenant with. He wants to see us come back to him. The message of Hosea speaks directly to Christians today who are running away from God. We need not debate about when and if their profession is real. If anyone calls themselves a Christian and yet lives as spiritual adulterers this call is for you, repent! Come back to Jesus and believe the good news that he alone is the source of every good thing we have. Will you hear the pleading of God today for your repentance and life?