Today: [Hosea 2] God Chastens His Bride. In chapter 2 of Hosea the prophet speaks over his bride as a reflection of God speaking over His people. In v. 1-13 the unfaithful bride is chastised for her adulteries and in v. 14-23 in her chastening God speaks comfortably to her promising restoration and renewal. All of this speaks to us in our day of the lovingkindness of God to woo His people and His church back from the abyss of false dependencies into a renewed bridal relationship with Him.
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[Hos 2:1-23 KJV] 1 Say ye unto your brethren, Ammi; and to your sisters, Ruhamah. 2 Plead with your mother, plead: for she [is] not my wife, neither [am] I her husband: let her therefore put away her whoredoms out of her sight, and her adulteries from between her breasts; 3 Lest I strip her naked, and set her as in the day that she was born, and make her as a wilderness, and set her like a dry land, and slay her with thirst. 4 And I will not have mercy upon her children; for they [be] the children of whoredoms. 5 For their mother hath played the harlot: she that conceived them hath done shamefully: for she said, I will go after my lovers, that give [me] my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, mine oil and my drink. 6 Therefore, behold, I will hedge up thy way with thorns, and make a wall, that she shall not find her paths. 7 And she shall follow after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them; and she shall seek them, but shall not find [them]: then shall she say, I will go and return to my first husband; for then [was it] better with me than now. 8 For she did not know that I gave her corn, and wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold, [which] they prepared for Baal. 9 Therefore will I return, and take away my corn in the time thereof, and my wine in the season thereof, and will recover my wool and my flax [given] to cover her nakedness. 10 And now will I discover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers, and none shall deliver her out of mine hand. 11 I will also cause all her mirth to cease, her feast days, her new moons, and her sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts. 12 And I will destroy her vines and her fig trees, whereof she hath said, These [are] my rewards that my lovers have given me: and I will make them a forest, and the beasts of the field shall eat them. 13 And I will visit upon her the days of Baalim, wherein she burned incense to them, and she decked herself with her earrings and her jewels, and she went after her lovers, and forgat me, saith the LORD.
The book of Hosea when studied properly reveals the heart of the bridegroom for a bride in preparation. In Hosea, the prophet is a type of the bridegroom who takes an unfit bride and pours his love and grace upon her until she obtains for herself and her children the entitlement of her betrothal.
Out of the betrothal of Hosea and Gomer come two children – “Ammi” and “Ruhamah”. Ammi is a name that means “associated” or “in relationship” and Ruhamah means “having obtained mercy”. If Gomer is a type of the bride of Christ, then her children represent two companies or groups of people in the body of Christ that God is calling out. These two companies or groups are:
1. Those who are relational,
2. Those who walk in the mercy of God.
To Ammi: “associated” – people not merely in fellowship but those who are walking in covenantal relationship. Acts chapter 2 tells us that the early Christians were not only in fellowship with one another – they were walking in intimate relationship to one another as spiritual family. Malachi predicted the end of the intertestamental period as being marked by the emergence of relational people, committed to one another and focused upon the throne: (Mal. 3:16)
Malachi 3:16 KJV
Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it , and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord , and that thought upon his name.
The difference between those who are relational and those who are not is that relational people never quit communicating. They talk often with one another. Not despising but cherishing one another. They are not only in fellowship (passive connection based on commonality) but in active, living relationship that cannot be easily shaken or broken apart.
To Ruhamah: “to touch – love deeply, have compassion, to show mercy…” (Matt. 5:7) – those doing the love thing.
Matthew 5:7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Jesus’ statement here is a direct reference to Hosea’s daughter. In Hebrew, He would have said “blessed is Ruhamah – for Ruhamah (or the merciful) will obtain mercy. He is creating a pointer by which he defines for us the parameters of God’s mercy as revealed in the character of those who choose to look at one another through the eye of compassion. Unfortunately, this is not the character of Christian culture today. Rather than being focused upon one another and upon the person of the Lord Jesus Christ we have bought in to the false narrative of the political as though political gains are the measure of Christian culture rather than as Jesus said in John 13:35 “they will know you are My disciples by your love one for another…”.
Verse 2 shows that God did not consider Himself married, or in covenant with the Jewish people. There are two emphases in the Old Testament narrative where God speaks of Himself being estranged and even in a state of “putting away” or divorce from the people of God – one applying to the ten northern tribes and one applying to Judah and the southern kingdom. This is remarkable and largely marginalized in modern Christian teaching – much of which obliquely implies that divorce is tantamount to a social unpardonable sin, by which standard of judgment even God Himself would be excluded.
Through Hosea God calls his people to put away their adulteries lest (v. 3) they be stripped naked and left in the wilderness where she would die of thirst. For us we read this as spiritual thirst. What were the adulteries of the southern kingdom of Judah?
1. The people continued to secretly practice pagan ritual worship in the high places where secret groves had never been torn down.
2. They had gone so far as to institutionalizing their pagan adulteries by moving statues to Baal, Ashteroth, Chemosh and Molech into the temple alongside the altar of incense, the table of showbread and the lampstand.
3. They took the doors off of the Holy Place in order to demonstrate to Egypt and to Ethiopia how inclusive they were of foreign cultures.
4. They consistently looked to political and military alliances with Egypt and Ethiopia as the solution to foreign threats rather than trusting in the living God.
What the people of Judah called expedient political policy – God (v. 5) calls playing the harlot. Unfortunately, this type of behavior is sadly reflected in much of Christian culture today that has given in to a policy of inclusiveness and political expediency deemed necessary for accomplishing the end goal of preserving our way of life in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation. What Christian culture calls expedient and prudent policy in v. 5 of Hosea God calls something else – but unfortunately few seem willing to listen.
14 Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her. 15 And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt. 16 And it shall be at that day, saith the LORD, [that] thou shalt call me Ishi; and shalt call me no more Baali. 17 For I will take away the names of Baalim out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name. 18 And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven, and [with] the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely. 19 And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies. 20 I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the LORD. 21 And it shall come to pass in that day, I will hear, saith the LORD, I will hear the heavens, and they shall hear the earth; 22 And the earth shall hear the corn, and the wine, and the oil; and they shall hear Jezreel. 23 And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to [them which were] not my people, Thou [art] my people; and they shall say, [Thou art] my God.
Having chastened His people in verses 1-14 God now seeks out His people in the wilderness, in captivity and speaks comfortably to her. He has estranged Himself from her but promises that the day will come (v. 15) that her vineyards and ancestral possessions will be restored. This is a strong word of comfort to those of us in the modern day who realize that something has died in our way of life that seemed in danger of never being restored. To that God says, “speak comfortably” to the church in exile, to His people in the wilderness, hedged in with thorns (cares of life, deceitfulness of riches) that even at this late hour when godliness and testimony seem unrecoverable, restoration is at hand.
This is very positive, but we also need to understand how God works His will. He says that He will recover us – the body of Christ using the valley of Achor for a door of hope. This is very sobering because the only thing ever known to have happened in the valley of Achor was the stoning of Achan and his entire family in Joshua’s time after they stole a wedge of gold and a Babylonian garment from Jericho. In the early church the valley of Achor principal was seen in the case of Ananias and Sapphira who colluded to lie to the Holy Spirit, and fell down dead as a result. This is sobering beyond our ability to express. We must treat very carefully here and not resort to any hyperbole or exaggeration. Ananias and his wife died because they got in the way of something God was doing. They were moving at cross purposes to the work of God and God is saying in this verse prophetically that this situation though astounding to us however constitutes a hope for us that God will not leave us where we are but will by His dread and sovereign purposes bring up back to a place of holiness, and purity and separation with an inexorable and unswerving determination whose implications may result in outcomes of a nature so ominous for the casual and insincere as to be absolutely terrifying to us.
V. 16 says in that day He would not be known as “Baali” or “dominative father” but as “Ishi” – or “husband”. The names of Baalim – the dominative fathers will be taken out of our mouths. The people would no longer (in Hosea’s day) be clamoring for Ethiopia or Egypt or Pharaoh or some other populist leader to set them free or solve their problem but they will have learned by experience to look to the Lord not only for a mere salve of a problem but for absolute widespread solution to the evils of society at a bone deep level brought about by a living God and not by any confederacy with any external dependency.
As far off as what Hosea prophesied may be in terms of renewal, revival and awakening the promise of v. 21 is “in that day” God will hear the heavens, the heavens will hear the earth and corn, wine, and oil (provision, joy and anointing) would be restored to His people. What day is that? When His people as Hosea’s bride forsake the adulteries of false decency on anything or anyone other than the living God Himself.
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