Dear Members and Friends of IBCZ,
Last Sunday we looked at the seventh commandment “You shall not commit adultery.” As we saw, this commandment tells us not only what we are not to do, but also what we are to do, which is to be faithful in our marriage relationship, as well as in our other relationships. One of the reasons for this is that God is faithful to us, and having been created in His image, we should become like Him.
One of the most fascinating, and in some ways mysterious books in the Bible is Hosea. This Old Testament prophet was called by God to do what seems unimaginable – he was to marry a prostitute named Gomer. Even after marrying Hosea, she left him to continue her promiscuous life, and Hosea had to buy her back from another man.
You can imagine what people said about Hosea behind his back, or even to his face. “How can you call yourself a prophet of God, a holy man, and be married to a woman like this?”
In calling Hosea to marry Gomer, God was giving the Israelites a visual demonstration of their own scandalous behavior. For the Israelites had committed spiritual adultery, abandoning the God who gave Himself to them in love and faithfulness in order to serve false gods instead.
But God did not abandon His people. God said in Hos. 2:19-20, “I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the Lord.” Although God gave Himself to the Israelites just as a husband gives himself to his wife (betroth), the Israelites turned from God and His love. Hosea 5:4 sums it up: “A spirit of prostitution is in their heart; they do not acknowledge the Lord.”
Yet God in His mercy refused to give up on His people. He chases after them. He woos them. He wins them back. God says in Hosea 2:23, “I will say to those called ‘Not my people,’ ‘You are my people’; and they will say, ‘You are my God.’”
God is eternally faithful in His love for us and His commitment to us. Though we all like sheep have turned from God, in Jesus God went all the way to the cross to win us back. Each day and in every circumstance, we can be confident of God’s faithfulness to us. And because He is faithful, we as His people are to be faithful. May God give us grace to be so.
Grace and peace,