Here’s the transcript of the message I spoke on Mother’s Day at Bridge Community Church this past Sunday.
I have the terrible disadvantage of speaking after Pastor E and before Alex Benjamin on this month series, the book of Hosea. So pray for me! If you were not here with us last week, Pastor E shared from Hosea chapter 1. Pastor E’s theme was “radical obedience vs. cultural expectations’ and it was such a different perspective to hear b/c generally when we read Hosea or hear sermons about Hosea, the focus is on Hosea’s marriage and the parallel image it shows to God & his relationship with his people. Pastor E, however, focused on Hosea’s obedience to God despite his personal loss (marrying a harlot, facing social opposition, etc.) He challenged us to look at our own ability to obey God above all else. If you have a chance, go check out last week’s message online.
Today, I will share from Hosea 6:1-3 and my heart’s goal is talk about the “knowing God” Let’s read:
Verse 1: “Come, let us return to the Lord! He has torn us in pieces; now he will heal us. He has injured us; now he will bandage our wounds.
Verse 2: After two days, he will revive (restore) us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before Him // so we can live in His presence.
Verse 3: Oh that we might know the Lord! Let us press on to know him! Then he will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in the early spring.
For me to do these verses justice, I must give a brief history on what came before these verses. Hosea, as previously mentioned, is broken into 2 main parts, chapter 1-3 is about the relationship between Hosea & Gomer and how it illustrates God loves for His people despite their unfaithfulness. It goes into details about the depths of Gomer’s unfaithfulness (i.e. going out with her other lovers, profiting from her prostitution by getting vineyards and even possibly having children with these other lovers – her focus was not Hosea. We see God’s response to all of this – anguish/ punishment over the explicit / no remorse behavior and for a season this is how He will deal with it – He will turn away. Let’s be honest, no one would blame Hosea for not wanting to have anything to do with Gomer. She treated him poorly would be an understatement. God through Hosea however did not stay in that place of anguish, God looked at Gomer in all her sinfulness and said I still want to love her and pursue a relationship with her / Israel. With one condition, if she would return to God and let go of all other lovers. This is when true restoration can occur.
Chapters 4-14, takes this message and relates it back to Israel and their relationship with God.
Chapter 6 is Hosea pleading with Israel to come back to God.
POINT 1: There is always a price for sin. Thank God for Jesus!
Verse 1: “..He has torn us in pieces…. He has injured us….”
In the Old Testament, we, as His people, had to atone for our sins by sacrifices or work. Old Testament is full of stories of the people of God falling away and paying a price. Even in the beginning, Adam did not obey God, Adam was asked to leave the garden, the punishment for his disobedience. We need to understand there is always a price for sin. The beauty of the gospel is, God even had a plan for that. God knows sin cannot go without being punished, God in His great love for us, gave us Jesus. He tore Jesus, He injured Jesus, so we could be healed and He could bandage our wounds. He put the penalty of sin on Jesus.
Verse 1 is speaking to the people of God, pleading with them to come back to a God who is not a Task Master or a King or a Lor, who we give acts of service and money to. That is a work based relationship. God wants intimacy and trust, companionship. He wants oneness but with only Him. He can provide everything you need and so much more.
I personally believe Gomer cheated on Hosea b/c she failed to see who she was married to. She was looking for love in all the wrong place. She only viewed Hosea as this Holy Prophet, she did not really know Him. We have the same tendencies. We at times fail to see God for who He and all things He can be. We should pursue knowing Him.
Personal Story — Shobi & I met in high school and our story was as typical as any other Christian relationship. Until Shobi decided to devote his late teen years & early 20s to be solely focused on Jesus. He believed God when God said dedicating those years to Him then pursuing an earthly relationship, he, Shobi, would never regret. Shobi has no regrets and it has shaped who He is today. We, as a married couple today, see the fruits of that choice.
POINT 2: Forgiveness was bought with the precious blood of Jesus Christ.
Verse 2: Continuing this theme of being without God (consequences of sin) – This verse speaks of that time period after, we’ve been without God, we realize how different / empty our life is. Similar to the prodigal son, who squandered his life and possessions on things less than what He was made for. Gomer squandered her time and attention on things less. We have all moments when we realized we wandered away from God, we dethroned God from the rightful spot. As a result, we deal with the consequences of that – loneliness, impossible thoughts, depression, poverty not just of physical possession but something deeper. We face these things alone.
What I love about the story of Hosea and Gomer which I think testifies so much about our God and who He is, at his core. He is faithful and worthy of the spot of our first spot love. Before Gomer or Israel or even us thought about God (Hosea), God, Hosea, had a plan of restoring their relationship, to woo her, to get her understand what She is really missing out. Our God is hopeful to us, nothing or no one is impossible or behind His GREAT encompassing love. He is worth the pursuit. God had a plan for the Israelites, for us – that plan was and is Jesus. The forgiveness of our sins for our unfaithfulness was bought for us by the blood of Jesus. The promise was of Hope was fulfilled on the third day, HE rose again. Jesus did not rise up alone, HE took all of us with HIM. We no longer bear the burden and weight of our sin. When we walk around this world with that weight of our sin and shame, it is a result of us not knowing Him and HIS great love for us. We are restored people, we are made whole again because of his blood. He pursued us. He wooed us in the places the enemy or ourselves thought was full of destruction. There is no place of darkness where His presence cannot go and shine HIS light. Let us return to Him.
We were not created or designed to live life on this world without Him. Our God is not a God who wants to meet us on Sunday morning. He wants all day every day. He wants his light to shine on our faces, daily. He wants us to awake and know we are still with Him. He wants us to hear that song He is singing over us. We have a God who is our biggest supporter and fights our battles not behind us but in front of us. He is the wall of fire around us. The glory in the midst of us. Church, what would we it look like if we lived before God, aware of Him always.
I feel most of us would be quick to say that is impossible, I am not holy like that. I can do that. That is not practical but can I challenge us not to think of God as this Holy Fire alone – let’s not segment this amazing God. He is all things. He is the same God who walked with Adam. Psalms declare how good of a Father He is, our great is compassion is. How he is slow to anger. Abounding in Love. His grace and mercy are new EVERY DAY. We search the whole world to be accepted, to find a people group to be real with. Yet, we have this HOLY GOD saying, I am that…be transparent with me, do life with me, choose me because when you do. YOU will never regret that decision.
POINT 3: If He has your heart, He has everything.
Verse 3: Hosea continues to speak to the Israelites to urge and encourage them to know and press on to know God. To remind them as I want to remind us — He is worth knowing. He is more than a figure head, he is not another deity. He is different. He is personal. I can promise you He is better than any friend you have now. I have great friends. He is more faithful and in love with me than even my Shobi. Guys, I know I am loved by Shobi. He is a great man. May I speak to every person here, whether you came full or empty. Weary or full of life, press in to know Him. This world is a tough place, so many things pulling at us,
He want us to do life with Him, because when we do, a life with him becomes a life for Him.
God does not want you to return to him and say, “Yes, Sir,” and set about your duties. He wants you to come into the wilderness, to listen to him speak tenderly, and to respond to him.
God wants your heart, not just your hands, because if he has your heart, he has everything.