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Love is a Promise Part 5

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In our nation, a divorce is granted every 26 seconds. Slightly more than half of all marriages, and nearly 60% of all remarriages end in divorce. Divorces are granted for all kinds of reasons, but the most common rationalization for why marriages end is, "We just don’t love each other as we once did." As a society, we have come to believe that when the romantic feelings of love have cooled, the relationship is no longer valid.

Author Thornton Wilder gives us a different perspective. He writes:

·  "I married you because you gave me a promise. That promise made up for your faults. And the promise I gave you made up for mine. Two imperfect people got married, and it was the promise that made the marriage. And when our children were growing up, it wasn’t a house that protected them; and it wasn’t our love that protected them – it was that promise." (Quoted in Grow Up! How Taking Responsibility Can Make You a Happy Adult, published by Golden Books.)

Wilder understood that relationships are built upon a promise, not a passion. Should the passion die, relationships can continue because of the promise.

That is what Hosea is all about. When we pick up the story in chapter three, Gomer has hit bottom. She has been transported from the "exciting" world of adultery into the living hell of prostitution. She is swapped on the open market of the sex trade like a piece of common stock. Hosea has every legal and moral right to divorce her, and, under God’s law, to have her killed. But Hosea is not about law. In love, Hosea does the unthinkable. Following God’s instructions, he goes to the slave market, purchases this woman with whom he exchanged wedding vows, takes her home, and says to her, "I will be for thee." (Verse 3)

I am certain that Hosea didn’t "feel" much affection for Gomer at that moment. How could he? She had wrecked his home and publicly shamed and humiliated him. Yet, in obedience to the Lord he was able to "love" her "yet." (Verse 1)

What we learn from this is that love is not about passion, but about a promise. It is not something we feel, but something we do no matter how we feel. It is a commitment that must endure the inconsistency of human emotions. It must withstand insensitivity, neglect, and betrayal. It must weather changes in personality, behavior, and physical attraction. That kind of love can last a lifetime.

I. Love is a Promise that Endures – Verse 1

A.     

A.      

B.    The timing of God’s command to Hosea

1.       

2.       

3.       

1.        

2.       The word "Then" reminds us that this took place after Hosea had taken the following steps (see 2:1-13)

a.        

b.       

c.        

a.        

b.      He had confronted Gomer with her infidelity

c.        

d.      He had issued an ultimatum – give up her affairs or get out

e.        

f.        He had backed up the ultimatum by letting her go and cutting off his financial and emotional support. (See 2:8-12)

·  It is important to remember that Hosea didn’t take these steps in anger, or as an act of reprisal. It was his loving, confident response to a serious problem in his relationship. Hosea didn’t try to hang on to Gomer by overlooking her affairs, manipulating her with guilt, or making empty threats. He simply said to her, "If you want to stay, I want you to stay – but with the understanding that you take whatever steps are necessary to end these affairs. If you want to go, you may go, but things cannot continue as they are. I want you to know that I’m not giving up on you, but I am willing to give you up if that is what you want."

2.        

3.        

4.        

1.        

2.       The verses that follow clearly indicate that Hosea didn’t take the steps of restoration until Gomer had reached the point of brokenness.

a.        

b.       

c.        

a.        

b.      It is probable that many months, and possibly years, passed between Hosea chapters 2 and 3.

c.        

d.      Like the boy in the parable of the prodigal son, Gomer had to reach the end of the road before she would see the value in returning home.

  1.  
    1.  
    2. The terms of God’s command to Hosea

1.       

2.       

3.       

1.        

2.       Although I believe that Gomer was inwardly broken, outwardly her condition was the same. "yet an adulteress"

a.        

b.        

c.        

a.        

b.      I think it safe to conclude that Gomer no longer enjoyed her present condition – a common prostitute sold to anyone willing to pay the price of a slave.

c.        

d.      But neither had she attempted to return to Hosea. I think there are at least two possible reasons for this:

·          

·          

·          

·          

·          

o         

o        She couldn’t. She had already sunk so low that she was no longer free to make such choices. She was a slave, the property of the one who owned her.

o         

o        She didn’t know that she could return. So much time had passed and she had sinned so greatly that she couldn’t imagine Hosea taking her back.

2.        

3.        

4.        

1.        

2.       Hosea, after the manner of God, was to show Gomer that a relationship was still possible, not on the terms of her character, but of his commitment. "according to the love of the Lord"

·  To understand this kind of love, we must look to its source – God. He didn’t wait until we cleaned up to offer us salvation. "While we were yet sinners," God demonstrated His love for us through Calvary. He didn’t wait until we came crawling back to Him before He reached out to us. Instead, He came "to seek and to save that which was lost." He showed us how low we could fall; then He offered to lift us up higher than we have ever been. And it had nothing to do with feelings, but with a promise made to a broken, fallen couple in the Garden of Eden – a promise of redemption.

God is the one who teaches us that love is a promise, not a passion. Marriage is not about "being in love," but agreeing to love. It is not something we feel, but something we do no matter how we feel. This is what we have to remember when, like Hosea, the one we love has hurt us. If we wait for a "feeling," we may never get around to showing love.

II. Love is a Promise that Gives – Verse 2

A.     

A.      

B.    It involves sacrifice

·  God’s Word is too important for Him to be wasteful with words. I believe that everything God has to say is important. It is up to us to discover its importance. God has recorded the exact cost Hosea paid to buy back his own wife – fifteen shekels of silver, and one and one-half homers of barley. I believe there is a reason for these precise figures.

1.        

2.        

3.        

1.        

2.       In the Old Testament, the established price of a slave was 30 shekels of silver. See Exodus 21:32.

a.        

b.       

c.        

a.        

b.      One homer was equal to 10 ephahs. One and a half homers would be 15 ephahs. The normal price for barley was 1 shekel per ephah.

c.        

d.      Thus, Hosea paid a total of 30 shekels in cash and barley.

2.        

3.        

4.        

1.        

2.       Since Hosea could not pay the total amount in cash, it indicates that paying Gomer’s redemption price involved a great personal sacrifice.

·  Visualize Hosea getting ready to go redeem his wife from the slave market. He checks his wallet and looks in his checkbook. He digs in the cushions of the couch, and all he can come up with is 15 shekels of silver, only HALF of what he needs. Imagine getting ready to pay your house payment, and only being able to scrape together half of it! So, Hosea begins to go through his things, looking for something of value to make up the difference. Finally, he reaches the conclusion that it’s the barley or nothing.

I believe that Hosea’s payment was equivalent to the widow’s mite – it was all he had. It represented a TOTAL SACRIFICE, the very best he had to offer.

  1.  
    1.  
    2. It imparts significance

·  Imagine what Hosea’s sacrifice communicated to Gomer. She was brought home to an empty bank account and an empty pantry – together a symbol of her worth to Hosea. It told Gomer that she was worth more than anything he possessed, and everything he possessed. It told her that his love was not based upon her character, charm, or charisma, but upon his commitment. And it told her that she could expect more of the same in the days to come.

Romans 8:32 asks, "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" We don’t have to earn God’s love, or earn His blessings. We are loved. Calvary is the proof. He wants to give us all things, freely, because we belong to Him. But too often, like Gomer, we go outside of our relationship to God, seeking to earn our value from other things. A career. A relationship. An addiction. Or we try to earn it among Christians through service or sacrifice. Yet the only sacrifice that matters is the one God made for us upon the cross. That alone determines your worth to God.

III. Love is a Promise that Secures – Verses 3-5

In verse 3, Hosea renews his wedding vow. He says to Gomer, "You’re coming home, and you will live with me for many days. Everything you need, you will find in me. You won’t have to go outside this relationship to find love, acceptance, worth, or anything else. I will be for thee."

Hosea’s solution to Gomer’s shameful past was to give her a brand new, secure start in their marriage. He was telling her that the past didn’t matter. They were going to begin working on their future, and there was only one rule – she had to let Hosea love her exclusively. She had to depend upon him for all her love needs. He alone was to be the source of her security in their relationship.

That is God’s desire for all His people. He wants us to be dependent upon Him for every kind of need we have.

·          

    •  
    • He tells us that we accepted in the beloved.
    •  
    • He tells us that we are new creatures in Christ Jesus, having received a brand new start in life.
    •  
    • He tells us that we don’t have to go outside of our relationship to Him to meet any need we have. We are to cast our cares upon Him because He cares for us.
    •  
    • We are to walk in newness of life, not the shame of our past.
    •  
    • He alone is to be the source of security in our relationship to Him. We are not hanging on to Him, but He is hanging on to us.

·  Conclusion

Although we are not told how the story ends, I imagine that Gomer cautiously, hopefully, took it all in. After all, she had given life her best shot, and it had led to shame and disappointment. She had tried to find fulfillment from everyone but Hosea, and had come home empty. And now, love was being lavished on her and pledged to her anew. Personally, I think Hosea’s love broke Gomer’s heart and won her loyalty for the rest of their days. I believe that because Hosea stood by his promise of love, he and Gomer eventually shared the passion of love. It didn’t happen overnight. It took time for Gomer to learn that Hosea’s pledge was genuine. Trust had to be built. Hurts had to be healed. But I can picture Hosea and Gomer walking hand in hand, laughing and enjoying each other’s company. It becomes evident to everyone that Hosea is not just performing a duty. He and Gomer are truly and completely "in love." Do you understand how it empowered his message when he would use himself and Gomer as an example and say, "There, that’s how much God loves you!"

In light of verses 4-5, I don’t think this picture is too far off. God says to his people that for many days they would live without the outward symbols of their relationship to Him. They would be driven out of the land, deprived of their king, their temple, and their access to God. Essentially, it would look like the relationship was over, beyond recovery. But what Hosea did for Gomer, God was going to do for Israel. He was going to bring them home and pledge Himself to them anew. Verse 5 makes it clear that there would be complete restoration. One day, Israel is going to get a brand new start in her relationship with God.

·  For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. Romans 11:25-27

Hosea – Meet The God Who Loves You

Lesson Five: Love is a Promise

·  Hosea 3:1-5

In our nation, a divorce is granted every 26 seconds. Slightly more than half of all marriages, and nearly 60% of all remarriages end in divorce. Divorces are granted for all kinds of reasons, but the most common rationalization for why marriages end is, "We just don’t love each other as we once did." As a society, we have come to believe that when the romantic feelings of love have cooled, the relationship is no longer valid.

Author Thornton Wilder gives us a different perspective. He writes:

·  "I married you because you gave me a promise. That promise made up for your faults. And the promise I gave you made up for mine. Two imperfect people got married, and it was the promise that made the marriage. And when our children were growing up, it wasn’t a house that protected them; and it wasn’t our love that protected them – it was that promise." (Quoted in Grow Up! How Taking Responsibility Can Make You a Happy Adult, published by Golden Books.)

Wilder understood that relationships are built upon a promise, not a passion. Should the passion die, relationships can continue because of the promise.

That is what Hosea is all about. When we pick up the story in chapter three, Gomer has hit bottom. She has been transported from the "exciting" world of adultery into the living hell of prostitution. She is swapped on the open market of the sex trade like a piece of common stock. Hosea has every legal and moral right to divorce her, and, under God’s law, to have her killed. But Hosea is not about law. In love, Hosea does the unthinkable. Following God’s instructions, he goes to the slave market, purchases this woman with whom he exchanged wedding vows, takes her home, and says to her, "I will be for thee." (Verse 3)

I am certain that Hosea didn’t "feel" much affection for Gomer at that moment. How could he? She had wrecked his home and publicly shamed and humiliated him. Yet, in obedience to the Lord he was able to "love" her "yet." (Verse 1)

What we learn from this is that love is not about passion, but about a promise. It is not something we feel, but something we do no matter how we feel. It is a commitment that must endure the inconsistency of human emotions. It must withstand insensitivity, neglect, and betrayal. It must weather changes in personality, behavior, and physical attraction. That kind of love can last a lifetime.

I. Love is a Promise that Endures – Verse 1

A.     

A.      

B.    The timing of God’s command to Hosea

1.       

2.       

3.       

1.        

2.       The word "Then" reminds us that this took place after Hosea had taken the following steps (see 2:1-13)

a.        

b.       

c.        

a.        

b.      He had confronted Gomer with her infidelity

c.        

d.      He had issued an ultimatum – give up her affairs or get out

e.        

f.        He had backed up the ultimatum by letting her go and cutting off his financial and emotional support. (See 2:8-12)

·  It is important to remember that Hosea didn’t take these steps in anger, or as an act of reprisal. It was his loving, confident response to a serious problem in his relationship. Hosea didn’t try to hang on to Gomer by overlooking her affairs, manipulating her with guilt, or making empty threats. He simply said to her, "If you want to stay, I want you to stay – but with the understanding that you take whatever steps are necessary to end these affairs. If you want to go, you may go, but things cannot continue as they are. I want you to know that I’m not giving up on you, but I am willing to give you up if that is what you want."

2.        

3.        

4.        

1.        

2.       The verses that follow clearly indicate that Hosea didn’t take the steps of restoration until Gomer had reached the point of brokenness.

a.        

b.       

c.        

a.        

b.      It is probable that many months, and possibly years, passed between Hosea chapters 2 and 3.

c.        

d.      Like the boy in the parable of the prodigal son, Gomer had to reach the end of the road before she would see the value in returning home.

  1.  
    1.   #. The terms of God’s command to Hosea

1.       

2.       

3.       

1.        

2.       Although I believe that Gomer was inwardly broken, outwardly her condition was the same. "yet an adulteress"

a.        

b.        

c.        

a.        

b.      I think it safe to conclude that Gomer no longer enjoyed her present condition – a common prostitute sold to anyone willing to pay the price of a slave.

c.        

d.      But neither had she attempted to return to Hosea. I think there are at least two possible reasons for this:

·          

·          

·          

·          

·          

o         

o        She couldn’t. She had already sunk so low that she was no longer free to make such choices. She was a slave, the property of the one who owned her.

o         

o        She didn’t know that she could return. So much time had passed and she had sinned so greatly that she couldn’t imagine Hosea taking her back.

2.        

3.        

4.        

1.        

2.       Hosea, after the manner of God, was to show Gomer that a relationship was still possible, not on the terms of her character, but of his commitment. "according to the love of the Lord"

·  To understand this kind of love, we must look to its source – God. He didn’t wait until we cleaned up to offer us salvation. "While we were yet sinners," God demonstrated His love for us through Calvary. He didn’t wait until we came crawling back to Him before He reached out to us. Instead, He came "to seek and to save that which was lost." He showed us how low we could fall; then He offered to lift us up higher than we have ever been. And it had nothing to do with feelings, but with a promise made to a broken, fallen couple in the Garden of Eden – a promise of redemption.

God is the one who teaches us that love is a promise, not a passion. Marriage is not about "being in love," but agreeing to love. It is not something we feel, but something we do no matter how we feel. This is what we have to remember when, like Hosea, the one we love has hurt us. If we wait for a "feeling," we may never get around to showing love.

II. Love is a Promise that Gives – Verse 2

A.     

A.      

B.    It involves sacrifice

·  God’s Word is too important for Him to be wasteful with words. I believe that everything God has to say is important. It is up to us to discover its importance. God has recorded the exact cost Hosea paid to buy back his own wife – fifteen shekels of silver, and one and one-half homers of barley. I believe there is a reason for these precise figures.

1.        

2.        

3.        

1.        

2.       In the Old Testament, the established price of a slave was 30 shekels of silver. See Exodus 21:32.

a.        

b.       

c.        

a.        

b.      One homer was equal to 10 ephahs. One and a half homers would be 15 ephahs. The normal price for barley was 1 shekel per ephah.

c.        

d.      Thus, Hosea paid a total of 30 shekels in cash and barley.

2.        

3.        

4.        

1.        

2.       Since Hosea could not pay the total amount in cash, it indicates that paying Gomer’s redemption price involved a great personal sacrifice.

·  Visualize Hosea getting ready to go redeem his wife from the slave market. He checks his wallet and looks in his checkbook. He digs in the cushions of the couch, and all he can come up with is 15 shekels of silver, only HALF of what he needs. Imagine getting ready to pay your house payment, and only being able to scrape together half of it! So, Hosea begins to go through his things, looking for something of value to make up the difference. Finally, he reaches the conclusion that it’s the barley or nothing.

I believe that Hosea’s payment was equivalent to the widow’s mite – it was all he had. It represented a TOTAL SACRIFICE, the very best he had to offer.

  1.  
    1.  
    2. It imparts significance

·  Imagine what Hosea’s sacrifice communicated to Gomer. She was brought home to an empty bank account and an empty pantry – together a symbol of her worth to Hosea. It told Gomer that she was worth more than anything he possessed, and everything he possessed. It told her that his love was not based upon her character, charm, or charisma, but upon his commitment. And it told her that she could expect more of the same in the days to come.

Romans 8:32 asks, "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" We don’t have to earn God’s love, or earn His blessings. We are loved. Calvary is the proof. He wants to give us all things, freely, because we belong to Him. But too often, like Gomer, we go outside of our relationship to God, seeking to earn our value from other things. A career. A relationship. An addiction. Or we try to earn it among Christians through service or sacrifice. Yet the only sacrifice that matters is the one God made for us upon the cross. That alone determines your worth to God.

III. Love is a Promise that Secures – Verses 3-5

In verse 3, Hosea renews his wedding vow. He says to Gomer, "You’re coming home, and you will live with me for many days. Everything you need, you will find in me. You won’t have to go outside this relationship to find love, acceptance, worth, or anything else. I will be for thee."

Hosea’s solution to Gomer’s shameful past was to give her a brand new, secure start in their marriage. He was telling her that the past didn’t matter. They were going to begin working on their future, and there was only one rule – she had to let Hosea love her exclusively. She had to depend upon him for all her love needs. He alone was to be the source of her security in their relationship.

That is God’s desire for all His people. He wants us to be dependent upon Him for every kind of need we have.

·          

    •  
    • He tells us that we accepted in the beloved.
    •  
    • He tells us that we are new creatures in Christ Jesus, having received a brand new start in life.
    •  
    • He tells us that we don’t have to go outside of our relationship to Him to meet any need we have. We are to cast our cares upon Him because He cares for us.
    •  
    • We are to walk in newness of life, not the shame of our past.
    •  
    • He alone is to be the source of security in our relationship to Him. We are not hanging on to Him, but He is hanging on to us.

·  Conclusion

Although we are not told how the story ends, I imagine that Gomer cautiously, hopefully, took it all in. After all, she had given life her best shot, and it had led to shame and disappointment. She had tried to find fulfillment from everyone but Hosea, and had come home empty. And now, love was being lavished on her and pledged to her anew. Personally, I think Hosea’s love broke Gomer’s heart and won her loyalty for the rest of their days. I believe that because Hosea stood by his promise of love, he and Gomer eventually shared the passion of love. It didn’t happen overnight. It took time for Gomer to learn that Hosea’s pledge was genuine. Trust had to be built. Hurts had to be healed. But I can picture Hosea and Gomer walking hand in hand, laughing and enjoying each other’s company. It becomes evident to everyone that Hosea is not just performing a duty. He and Gomer are truly and completely "in love." Do you understand how it empowered his message when he would use himself and Gomer as an example and say, "There, that’s how much God loves you!"

In light of verses 4-5, I don’t think this picture is too far off. God says to his people that for many days they would live without the outward symbols of their relationship to Him. They would be driven out of the land, deprived of their king, their temple, and their access to God. Essentially, it would look like the relationship was over, beyond recovery. But what Hosea did for Gomer, God was going to do for Israel. He was going to bring them home and pledge Himself to them anew. Verse 5 makes it clear that there would be complete restoration. One day, Israel is going to get a brand new start in her relationship with God.

·  For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. Romans 11:25-27

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