The Things We Do For Love (Hosea)

#29 in 66in52: A One-Year Journey Through The Bible

July 23, 2023, Glynwood Baptist Church

Good morning! Please open your Bibles to the book of Hosea. Hosea is the first of the Minor prophets [explain minor prophets] so it is at the end of the Old Testament. So find Ezekiel, then Daniel, and you’ll get to Hosea right after Daniel.

To help you understand where Hosea fits in to the timeline, we are still in the time of the Divided Kingdom, a period of about 350 years with —north / south, Israel /Judah. 19 kings / 20 kings, 0 Good Kings / 8 Good Kings. [hand signs ] And with all these evil kings, both kingdoms, but especially the northern kingdom of Israel had fallen into idolatry and had forgotten God. So God sent prophets to both kingdoms, and all of them had a consistent message—repent, return to the Lord, or you’re gonna face judgment. So we add two more hand signs:

  • Prophets speak
  • Shape Up or ship out

So this is where Hosea comes into the timeline. And so Hosea prophesied in the Northern Kingdom. Israel was also referred to as Ephraim, because the largest territory within the northern kingdom was for the tribe of Ephraim. So when you see Ephraim in Hoses, he’s talking about Israel. And his life and ministry spanned 40 years, from around 755-715 BC We know this because Hosea 1:1 says that

1 The word of the Lord that came to Hosea, the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel.

So why does this matter? Well, remember the message of all the prophets: Prophets speak: Shape Up or Ship out. And in 722, that message was fulfilled when the king of Assyria overthrew the capital city of Samaria, took the inhabitants of Samaria captive, and scattered them all over the Assyrian empire. That’s the purple line on the map.

This is getting ahead in the story, but once Israel was overthrown, the Assyrians resettled the land with other people groups from all over the empire. That’s the red line on the map. Those Gentiles intermarried with the Israelites that were left. And that’s why, hundreds of years later, there was such prejudice against Samaritans in Jesus’ day, because the Jews of Judea considered them half breeds and pagans.

So let’s add three more hand signs to our storyline. [Assyria / Israel / Scatter ]

[Review from Divided Kingdom] Now, there’s one more incredibly important thing I need you to know about Hosea. Hosea’s name means “Salvation.” It is a variation of the Hebrew name “Yeshua,” or Yahweh saves.

So with that in mind, let’s look at the story of Hosea. Let’s just read chapter one together. [Read chapter 1]

May God bless the reading of His word. Let’s pray. [Pray]

Intro: When you were growing up, did you ever play Cowboys and Indians? A lot of us did. I’m not sure if kids play Cowboys and Indians today or not. If they do, then Cowboys and Indians is probably politically incorrect. You would probably have to call it “Gender exclusive anti vegans and Indigenous Peoples of North America.” Which just isn’t as much fun. When we played, it was Cowboys and Indians. Which one did you want to be? Who ever had an argument with his big brother about why he always got to be the cowboy?

When you get to Hosea, though, I’m not sure you would want to be either character. On one hand, you’ve got the prophet Hosea. whom God tells to go marry a prostitute. None of us, when we asked God to help us find the woman he had for us, would expect God to say, “See her? On the street corner? That’s the one! But there’s an important part of the story to emphasize here. God never promised anyone that following Him would be easy. When you surrender yourself to God’s Lordship, You give him a blank check.

Sometimes, God Calls You to be Hosea (Hosea 1)

  • A son: Jezreel (1:4-5)
  • A daughter: No Mercy (1:6-7)
  • A son: Not my people (1:8-9)

More Often, We Act Like Gomer (Hosea 3) 

3 And the Lord said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress, even as the Lord loves the children of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love cakes of raisins.” So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a lethech[a] of barley. And I said to her, “You must dwell as mine for many days. You shall not play the whore, or belong to another man; so will I also be to you.” For the children of Israel shall dwell many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or pillar, without ephod or household gods.

  • Faithless (3:1a)
  • Distractible (3:1b)
  • Directionless (3:4)

 But forgiveness is always available… (Hosea 6:1-3) 
6 “Come, let us return to the Lord;
    for he has torn us, that he may heal us;
    he has struck us down, and he will bind us up.
After two days he will revive us;
    on the third day he will raise us up,
    that we may live before him.
Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord;
    his going out is sure as the dawn;
he will come to us as the showers,
    as the spring rains that water the earth.” …Because God is always God (Hosea 11:1-8)  

Some people have argued that if the story of Hosea really did happen (that it wasn’t just a parable), then Gomer must have been a fine lady with a good reputation at first, because otherwise God would never tell Hosea to marry her. But that ignores what the text says. And if that was the case, the story of Hosea wouldn’t be an accurate picture of who God is.

The analogy doesn’t work if Hosea didn’t know exactly who Gomer was, but pursued her anyway. Because that is what God does with us.

I worked at LifeWay with a guy named Neal. One day at lunch, a bunch of us were talking about our dream car. What would you drive if you could have any car you wanted. Most of us shared what you would expect- Corvette, Porsche, etc. When it was Neal’s turn, he said, I actually already had my dream car. It was a 1980 Jeep Wagoneer. At first I laughed. I don’t know a lot about cars, but I was pretty sure that “1980” and “dream car” don’t show up very often in the same sentence. But Neal was serious. I messaged him yesterday to make sure I had the details right, but this was his story:

Neal was living in Birmingham and was playing around on this brand new website called eBay (kids, you can ask your parents about it) when he found a 1980 Jeep Wagoneer that was in his price range.

It was in Bayonne, NJ. After getting the thumbs up from his wife, he hit the “buy it now” button. A couple of weeks later, Neal and a friend flew one way to Newark so they could the car and drive it home. They got there in time for dinner with the seller, and then hit the road. But they didn’t even make it out of Jersey before the problems started.

After one stop, they y had trouble getting it started again, and then every time they came to an idle, it would die. So they were able to get into Pennsylvania without stopping, and coasted into a motel within walking distance of a mechanic.

The next morning the mechanic looked at it, gave me a long list of everything that was wrong with my new car, and gave me 50/50 odds of making it back to Birmingham. At that point, I’m thinking, “And that’s when you drove it back to Jersey, got your money back, and used it for two plane tickets back to Birmingham, right?” That would have been the sensible thing. But Neal said something I’ll never forget. “No. I still loved that car. I knew what I was getting myself into when I bought it, and it was worth it to me.”

They got back on the Interstate. Whenever they needed to stop, Neal learned to shift the Wagoneer into neutral on off ramps and give it a little gas while braking at the same time to keep the engine from dying. Eventually, they made it back to Birmingham.

Over the next few years, Neal had to replace nearly everything on that Wagoneer, until finally one afternoon, white smoke started pouring out of the steering column and the car died. The electrical system had shorted and caught on fire. Neal sold it to my neighbor’s brother for a dollar, and he hauled it to his farm to tinker with.

To me, Neal’s dream car sounded like a nightmare. I couldn’t understand why anyone would want a 1970 Jeep Wagoneer in the first place. But remember what Neal said: I loved that car. I knew what I was getting into. It was worth it. And even after everything, its still my favorite car I’ve ever owned. Now, think about what Neal did, and see if it reminds you of anyone else.

  • He found the car, and was willing to do whatever it took to purchase it.
  • He left his home and came to an alien, hostile world (Newark) in order to buy the car and bring it home.
  • The car never stopped giving him problems, but no matter how many parts needed fixing, Neal took the time to fix them all.

Because when you love something. That’s what you do.

This is what God did for each and every one of us. Jesus knew what He was getting into with you. He’d gotten the CarFax report. But He also saw the value in you. He knew how beautiful you would be when you were fully restored to factory condition. And so He left His home in heaven, made the journey to our world, and gave all He could give to purchase you.

And you know what? We still give Him problems. Every single day. There is no shortage of parts that need to be repaired and replaced. But you mattered enough to Jesus for Him to purchase you in the first place, and He isn’t going to give up on you now. Because once He redeemed you, He began the work of rebuilding you. Repairing you. Restoring you. And He will continue to do that all your life. Because you are worth it to Him.

And the most important thing to Him is to bring you home. Because when you love someone. That’s what you do.




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