LESSON 7 — January 17, 2016
“An Unfaithful Bride”
TIME: 758 B.C.
The Prophet Hosea lived in Israel, the northern kingdom, during its last years as a nation. Israel had rejected God and embraced pagan deities. God’s judgment on Israel’s idolatry was about to begin, but first God has a final message to give the nation through Hosea. Being a prophet in Old Testament times was a tough job. People knew it and were not exactly lining up for the job. Tradition says that Isaiah was put into a hollow log and sawed in two alive. Jeremiah twice tried to resign from being a prophet. His enemies put him into a cistern in deep mud. It was so bad that when they brought him out they had to put padding under the ropes under his armpits. It is still a tough job being a prophet. The likelihood of our following the word of the Lord is not a lot greater, and the impact the church has on the culture may be minimal. itis just that the issues, temptation, and circumstances have changed somewhat.
BIBLE BASIS: Hosea 1:11 KJV (Read Hosea 1:1–3:5).
“It shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God” (Hosea 1:10).
BIBLE TRUTH: Israel’s alienation from God and His plans for restoration is experienced in the marriage of Hosea and Gomer and their children.
MEMORY VERSE: “The beginning of the word of the Lord by Hosea. And the LORD said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms; for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the LORD” Hosea 1:2 KJV.
LESSON AIM: To LEARN how God commanded Hosea to marry Gomer as a model for His love for Israel, despite their unfaithfulness; to REFLECT on the meaning of marriage and unfaithfulness and God’’s desire for the restoration of broken relationships; and to DEMONSTRATE faithfulness to God through a commitment to maintain faithful friendships, relationships, and marriages.
Most weddings are joyous occasions. Both bride and groom, deeply in love, look forward to a long, happy, and fulfilling life together. Their families and invited guests have gathered to share their joy, shower them with gifts, and wish them the best for years ahead. Wedding celebrations vary greatly according to culture and over the passage of time. But they all have one feature in common. They share the joy of a man and a woman starting a new life together. But imagine a marriage that the bridegroom anticipated with utter dread. He knows in advance that it will go badly, no matter how diligently he tries to make it a success. He is absolutely certain that his bride will be unfaithful to him in the future and that even their children’s names will express her shame. This was the unenviable plight of Hoses the prophet. The Lord told him in advance that his marriage was to be an object lesson to the nation of Israel regarding their spiritual adultery. His wife would illustrate a people unfaithful to the One who loved them.
Some of your students may relate to Hosea because his message is his life and his life is his message. All the experiences through which God put him have meaning. We need to look at our own lives in the same way. We should not agonize over the meaning of every little experience, but every major event in life is meant to teach us something about ourselves and God. We can see His goodness and grace through it all if we look.
The story of Hosea is very “human” and touching. God asked him to do some very difficult deeds. It must have stretched Hosea’s faith to marry an unfaithful woman. We all promise to be faithful “until death do us part,” but against all religious and social convention, Hosea was directly told to go marry a prostitute. What must his family and friends have thought? What would they have said when Hosea said, :God told me to do it”? What would you and I have said?
How many couples think through the vows they take as they stand before God and witnesses? The typical vows used in Christian ceremonies are far reaching and long lasting. There is no wiggle room to bow out of a marriage because of unforeseen sickness, economic hardship, or fading physical beauty when compared with others. Premarital counseling should take place for all marriages, and part of that counseling should be devoted to going over the vows with an explanation of the seriousness of taking those vows before God and man. Vows are a commitment, a promise, and should never be taken lightly. If more participants would take their vows seriously, more marriages would be preserved and receive God’s blessing. It would not be a bad thing if married couples reviewed and renewed their vows on the anniversaries of their union.
- A fateful command — An unusual instruction (Hosea 1:1–2).
- A faithful obedience — A doomed marriage (Hosea 1:3–9).
- A future by grace — The day of hope (Hosea 1:10–11).
Marriage is a commitment that is supposed to last until death claims the husband or the wife. Sadly, not all who enter into the covenant of marriage keep this promise to each other, and divorce is often the result. The breaking of vows, whatever the reason, brings heartbreak and trouble to a marriage. The Prophet Hosea learned that truth the hard way in so doing became an object lesson that revealed spiritual truth to the nation of Israel.
We should not even bother to question the ways of the Lord. It is pointless to ask why God would command a righteous man to marry a prostitute. The whole scenario was an illustration saying the nation had been unfaithful to God and that the result of this would be DISASTROUS. Hosea’s wife bore him children whose names were messages from God’s coming judgment. We have no idea of whatever happened to the children or whether they lived to see all these prophecies come to pass. Our lives are illustrations to the world at large of the grace of God in saving us. We need not be rich and famous, nor do we need to be persons of influence. We need to be faithful to God, and He will decide what our lives are meant to display of His love and saving grace to mankind. Even if we were to decide on some legacy, something for which we wished to be remembered, the Lord might bring some entirely different message out of our life’s experiences. It is best to simply be faithful to Him and let Him bring from our lives what will most glorify Him.
FACTS: to see God’s hand at work in the lives of His people.
PRINCIPLE: to find the way God brings blessing and good out of trying situations.
APPLICATION: to order our lives before Him in willingness and to surrender to His will, even when its against all reason and common sense.
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In His Service,
Dr. Danette M. Verchér, Ph.D.
Treasures of the Heart International Ministries
Superintendent of Christian Education