You Want Me to Do What?

Ever feel like God is pulling you in a direction you don’t want to go? Ever feel like the way He’s leading you just doesn’t make sense? In times like those, it’s hard to respond in faith to His leading. It’s really easy to respond when we believe God is taking us where we want to go. But when He tells us to go left and we want to go right, that’s a whole different story. Why do we struggle so? Because it’s a question of who is in charge. We want to be in charge. And when God tells us to go left and we want to go right, in essence what we’re saying is, “God, I know the direction I want my life to go. I know better than you.” Except we don’t know better than God. No one knows better than Him.

When the LORD first spoke through Hosea, the LORD said to Hosea, “Go, take to yourself a wife of harlotry and have children of harlotry; for the land commits flagrant harlotry, forsaking the LORD.” So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son. – Hosea 1:2-3, NASB

God gives Hosea what seems to be a very unusual command. The majority view here says God is telling Hosea to take a wife who will later turn to being a prostitute. The passage also tells us that the children they have may not all be fathered by Hosea (children of harlotry). The reason for this majority view is that God is going to use the relationship of Hosea and Gomer as a testimony towards His people. That’s why God says, “for the land commits flagrant harlotry.” Israel started pure, for God made it so. Then the people turned away from Him and pursued other gods. Therefore, the marriage between Hosea and Gomer reflects the relationship between Israel and the Lord.

Now, we can read those two verses and understand where God’s coming from. We see the parallel and we can definitely see God’s hand in all of this. If we’re familiar with the story of Hosea and Gomer and what the two of them go through, we might even respond back with, “This is a beautiful story that reminds us of God’s faithfulness even when we’re not faithful. What a promise we have in the Lord!” But how many of us have looked at it from Hosea’s position? How many of us would want to be Hosea here? Would you want to marry someone who will do the things Gomer will? Do you want to enter into a relationship with someone who has that kind of future and who be unfaithful and cause you heartache and grief? How many of us, if we were in Hosea’s shoes, would want to say to God, “Look, Lord, I know Your Word says Your ways are best. But this just isn’t for me. I mean, look at what will come of my life if I go down this road. This is a mess!” I think most all of us would respond that way, or in a similar manner.

Then the LORD said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by her husband, yet an adulteress, even as the LORD loves the sons of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love raisin cakes.” So I bought her for myself for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a half of barley. – Hosea 3:1-2, NASB

Hosea 3 reveals a lot of things about God’s prophet and his wife. First, Gomer has gone off and put herself in a position where she must be bought back by her husband, Hosea. What God has said about Gomer has come to pass. But focus a minute on Hosea. We also learn that Hosea loved his wife, despite her unfaithfulness. Gomer has become a wife of harlotry, a prostitute. Yet God says she is a woman “who is loved by her husband” in spite of that unfaithfulness. And God’s called Hosea to continue loving her. If you were one of the few who would have been on board with God before as Hosea, are you still that way now? Are you willing to put the past pains and hurts aside, the betrayal of adultery and take that cheating spouse back? Actually, it’s worse, because Hosea has to go in pursuit of Gomer and it costs him silver and barley. Not a great amount, mind you, but still it’s not as simple a matter as the cheating spouse coming crawling back home and asking for forgiveness. How many of us would be willing to be Hosea in this set of circumstances? But really, if God is the Master, we must be. Maybe we don’t see how God is going to make such a situation work out for the best. I’m not sure that Hosea did. Even if he did, surely Hosea went through tremendous suffering over the relationship. If he loved Gomer, and 3:1 tells us he did, her actions would surely have caused him great pain. Yet he responded according to God’s command and carried through. Even when the situation was certainly one he wouldn’t have picked for himself, Hosea was faithful. He gave up control over his life and handing that control over to God.

And this is why Hosea is a model for us. We don’t see the world as God sees it. We can’t see the events of the future like God does. We can’t truly know where the choices God is asking us to make will take us and will take others. We may think we have an idea, but do we really? No. It’s absolutely impossible. There are too many possibilities, too many permutations, too many different variables for our brains to be able to figure it all out. The greatest supercomputers we could ever make couldn’t figure it all out, either. You would need the intelligence of God to make sense of it all. That’s the logical conclusion. And given that logical conclusion, how can we not respond by faith? How can we not act on God’s commands just as Hosea did? Because God has figured it out. We just need to trust Him, even if we don’t get it.

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