Posted by: Brad Beaman | September 25, 2010

An Unusual Call of God

                                                                  

Meggedo Armageddon

Jezreel

Late one evening I received a phone call from parents of a teenager. Andrew is gone they said, he has run away.

When I arrived at their house they told me about Andrew’s sudden change in friends. There was recent change in his behavior and how they knew he ran away and they thought that he was in a nightclub or a bar. I searched the entire town until midnight looking for Andrew, but I did not find him.

Andrew had been the most faithful member of the Christian youth program. His parents were brokenhearted and weeping.  When I got home that night I started weeping too. I was not crying for Andrew or his parents. I was crying because this incident made me realize how deeply I hurt others when I went through a period of rebellion, much like what Andrew was doing.   

Our rebellion causes others heartache and it grieves the heart of God. Of all the prophets of the Old Testament Hosea is the most grieved. The woman he loves, his wife Gomer is unfaithful. She is an adulterous and even the three children that come during their marriage are not all Hosea’s. Two of their children are a result of Gomer’s adultery.

So Hosea knew pain and grief. What is the greatest pain of all? It is love trampled. Hosea poured out his live to Gomer, only to have his trust betrayed. But that is what made Hosea such a unique and powerful prophet.

Hosea understood the heart of God. He felt what God felt, the pain, the agony of love betrayed. Hosea’s wife played the harlot. There was an analogy there. Israel was playing the harlot spiritually.

Hosea’s wife plunged into the uttermost depths of degradation, adultery, harlotry. She even became a slave. The property of someone else and Hosea bought her back.  

Israel too had hit the depths of degradation.  After the period of Judges there was the United Kingdom with kings Saul, David and Solomen. After the death of Solomen the kingdom divided North and South. The Southern Kingdom was Judah and contained the city of Jerusalem and the Temple. The Northern Kingdom Israel had the area of ten tribes and Israel sank to an incredible spiritual low.

During the period of the Kings of Israel there was a re-occurring phrase to capsulate the condition, “and he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord”

The Northern Kingdom set up places of worship for the golden calf. Ahab and Jezebel brought unrestrained Baal worship to Israel. They worshiped fertility gods.  They believed that their fertility gods would bring them fruitful crops if they had intercourse with the temple prostitutes.

God’s heart grieved for his people like a man whose beloved wife betrayed him in adultery. It shows how much sin hurts God.

Ironically under King Jeroboam II the threat of military invasion was low and economic prosperity was high.

That’s why conditions in Israel in Hosea’s day have been likened to America today. There was an economic prosperity for the upper class, the poor class oppressed and a widespread spiritual bankruptcy.

Hosea grieved, but preached hope for those who forsake the spiritual adultery of sin and truly seek God. That is the hope for the troubled times of our day. 

 Read the unusual call in Hosea Chapter 1 verse 2. When the LORD first spoke to Hosea, the LORD told him, “Marry a prostitute, and have children with that prostitute. The people in this land have acted like prostitutes and abandoned the LORD.”

 Hosea was to marry a woman who would ultimately betray him and trample his heart. The parallel of course is, the unusual call God has given to his people Israel who betrayed God. It is also a parallel to the call God has given to His bride the church. Read the seven letters to the churches in Revelation. It is a parallel to a Christian who slides into a life of sin.

Look at the second part of Chapter 1verse 2, “The people in this land have acted like prostitutes and abandoned the LORD.” What an indictment on Israel.

God told Hosea to marry a woman of unfaithfulness. It is very possible that when Hosea married her she was faithful in the beginning and things degenerated steadily, to unthinkable lows. 

Three children came into the marriage of Hosae and Gomer. So far a lot of details of this story are not included, but the names of the children are the names that are part of Hosea’s prophetic ministry.

Names can be very significant. My wife and I gave our three children names that had significance for us and where we were and what was happening in our lives at the time. The names of the Old Testament could be prophetic. Hannah named her son Samuel, she said, “because I asked the Lord for him” The firstborn to Hosea and Gomer was fathered by Hosea and was a boy.

Hosea 1:3  “So Hosea married Gomer, daughter of Diblaim. She became pregnant and had a son.”

The first son was named Jezreel. Jezreel is a place on the plain of Meggedo (Armageddon). It was the place were Jezabel killed Naboth (1 Kings 21 and 2 Kings 9-10). The explanation of the name of their son Jezreel is given in Hosea Chapter 1 verses 4-5.  (after four generation from Jehu, King Jeraboam II died in Jezreel and his son Zechariah lasted 6 months and the Kingdom of Israel dynasty came to an end.) 

 “The LORD told Hosea, “Name him Jezreel. In a little while I will punish Jehu’s family for the people they slaughtered at Jezreel. Then I will put an end to the kingdom of Israel.

On that day I will break Israel’s bows and arrows in the valley of Jezreel.”

The end will come to the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Jehu was the king anointed and commissioned to destroy the house of Ahab and purge Israel of Baalism (2 Kings 9:1-10). Breaking Israel’s bow is to break their military might. Jezreel is a symbol of vindicative justice. The message to Israel, your sin will catch up to you.

The second child was a daughter named Lo-ruhamah. (verse 6) The name means not pitied. This child may have been conceived of an adulterous relationship. Probably not pitied because they did not know who the father was. God’s mercy withdrew from Israel. Sin to the point of such hardness like certain addictive behavior is not receptive to God’s grace and mercy. Offering God’s grace to such people is like casting pearls before swine.   

The Southern Kingdom of Judah will recieve compassion (vs 7)

The third child Lo-Ammi means not mine. What a name. Not mine. Israel is not my people God is saying. He is not their God. Jesus told the Pharisees your father is the devil. This is the message that God has for Israel.

There is no further reference to Hosea’s home life until chapter 3. In verses Hosea Chapter 1:10 through 2:1 God tells how he will work through Israel.

“Yet, the Israelites will become as numerous as the grains of sand on the seashore. No one will be able to measure them or count them. Wherever they were told, ‘You are not my people,’ they will be told, ‘You are the children of the living God.’

The people of Judah and Israel will be gathered together. They will appoint one leader for themselves, and they will grow in the land. The day of Jezreel will be a great day.

“So call your brothers Ammi [My People], and call your sisters Ruhamah [Loved].

They will be united under the 2nd King David, Jesus. In verse 11 Jezreel takes a new meaning blessing. Ammi –be my people. 

Sin is an affront to God. Our sin grieves God. Our sin destroys relationships. God’s offers hope to the wayward. Hosea foresaw that hope in Jesus Christ.

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