Today when the word “harlotry” is heard one thinks of prostitution, sexual favors, maybe even sex slavery. But harlotry has a much broader meaning. First of all we must establish that harlotry is sin. Sin is anything that does not honor God, worship God, or comes before God in our lives; that is harlotry. Sin has no color, it is not designated to one group of people or to a class of society that deems itself better than another. It has no financial boundaries. Sin has no regard for God’s love or commandments. Worst of all, this sin, this harlotry has no regard for other people. It is selfish, it is rooted in fleshly desires and is poison. It destroys individuals, families, communities, government, countries, all of humanity. While it brings division and hatred among people, the root of it has no bias; it is pure evil.
We stand on that brink of destruction today...we have to choose God or choose evil. There is no middle ground, neutral is choosing evil. How many so called “believers” watch movies, read books, listen to secular music, participate in “r” rated computer games that hint of, or worse yet, promote harlotry and hatred and violence? We do not have to commit harlotry physically to be guilty of it. “but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28) Please take a moment and reread what some of the activities of today that have become common among our population and then substitute that activity into the verse of what that lust that is being created in one’s soul is truly doing in your life!
"No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” (Matthew 6:24, Luke 16:13) You may be saying, wealth has nothing to do with what we are talking about, but wealth does not need to be financial. Some are so wrapped up in their own identity that it takes on power and they feed off that until it becomes their “wealth” or their way of living or achieving what they want out of life. Just like someone uses money to “buy” positions, houses, status, etc., this “identity” can do the same by using “race cards” or “religious cards” or “sexual identity” cards. No longer is it about God or loving your neighbor! “AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.' The second is this, `YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.' There is no other commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:30-31)
Let scripture state it in another way so that there will be no misunderstanding. “He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8) - Then he said to me, "This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel saying, `Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' says the LORD of hosts.” ( Zechariah 4:6) Unless we are on our knees allowing the Holy Spirit to move to change hearts, we are serving another master other than God! And that other master is the god of self! As the well known song “I Did It My Way”, in the last stanza, says it all with these words:
If not himself, then he has naught
To say the things he truly feels
And not the words of one who kneels
The record shows I took the blows
And did it my way, Yes, it was my way.”
Remember that God was called the Israelites “husband”. "For your husband is your Maker, Whose name is the LORD of hosts; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, Who is called the God of all the earth.” ( Isaiah 54:5) Because the people were so far away from God in their relationship He now was going to give them a living example to demonstrate the cruel realities of sin in their lives and to warn them of the judgment that they would experience if they did not turn back from their sin, repent, and worship the One True God. He loved his fallen Israel, His harlot wife, so much that He declared that if they would repent He would see them as His virgin wife, not just His “forgiven” wife. “Again I will build you, and you shall be rebuilt, O virgin of Israel!...” (Jeremiah 31:4) God does the miracle and they will be His virgin wife again.
I am overwhelmed as I think on the love relationship between Hosea and God. Hosea was so intimate with the Lord that he felt God’s heartache and was willing to be the vessel for God to demonstrate His amazing love to the lost. Like Jesus, personal thought of humiliation was not a hindrance. Obedience to God was primary. So Hosea married Gomer whose name means “over” in Hebrew. Her life was over, no hope for a future, but then the one who can redeem her steps in to make her his own! She conceived and bore a son and God said to name him Jezreel. Does that name sound familiar? It is the place where the battle of Armageddon will take place, the final battle of judgment against each one who never turned to God. Even before that great day, there would be judgment and punishment for the harlotry of the people. “And the LORD said to him, "Name him Jezreel; for yet a little while, and I will punish the house of Jehu for the bloodshed of Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel. On that day I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel." (Hosea 1:4-5)
Gomer became pregnant again two more times. Each pregnancy had another message for the people. Some people want to take these passages regarding the prophecy of the children as God’s rejection of the Jewish people. That is definitely not so! “…I HAVE LOVED YOU WITH AN EVERLASTING LOVE…” (Jeremiah 31:3) He would have to severely discipline them at times but never reject them. “Yet the number of the sons of Israel Will be like the sand of the sea, Which cannot be measured or numbered; And in the place Where it is said to them, ‘You are not My people,’ It will be said to them, ‘You are the sons of the living God.’ And the sons of Judah and the sons of Israel will be gathered together, And they will appoint for themselves one leader, And they will go up from the land, For great will be the day of Jezreel.” (Hosea 1:10-11) (emphasis mine) Who is the leader they will appoint? Messiah Yeshua! He will rule in HIS city, Zion!
But before that great day judgment would again fall because of their stubbornness and great sin! Are we any different today? In those days that Hosea declared God’s word, the people were living in prosperity and were not under persecution. Oh how easy it is to depend on oneself when things are going in the manner we desire them to go! That is where the modern Laodicea church is today “…'Because you say, "I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing…" ( Revelation 3:17) As I read Hosea it is like looking in a mirror and seeing the world today reflected in it! There are a few cracks appearing in that mirror but as long as they don’t affect us personally we continue to live the way we want, whether or not it is appealing or obedient to God. We easily justify our actions by saying we pray for those being persecuted, we might even self-righteously post things on Facebook or other social media declaring the injustice or declaring our loyalty to some cause that soon becomes a driving force in our lives and replaces the word of the Lord. His love is to reign in our lives and lead us where He would have us go, not where WE think we should go. Unfortunately, those who are believers are so blended in with the non-believers it is hard to separate them. Hearts have become hard and cold towards God because in the recesses of our hearts we blame God for the injustice that is happening. Oh, we would never say such a thing out loud! No, we have the church language down too pat to ever let such a thing, but we don’t need words, our actions speak more loudly than any words could ever say, but any words spoken are like daggers meant to divide and conquer our hearts, not love and heal!
This is exactly as it was in Noah’s day and Hosea’s day. As King Solomon lamented, “That which has been is that which will be, And that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun.” ( Ecclesiastes 1:9)
Hosea loved Gomer with unconditional love, just as God’s love is unconditional, but Gomer never received the gift into her heart, she did not change. And she could only hold up the “good appearances” for so long before she returned to her old way of life. Hosea’s heart was broken, as was God’s. But God wasn’t finished, He again instructed Hosea to go get her back. “So I bought her for myself for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a half of barley.” (Hosea 3:2) Do you notice anything unusual in the above verse? Yes, he “bought” her back! She was already his wife, why did he pay a price for her? There are several significant implications we need to examine in this verse. First of all, Jesus paid an extremely high price for our freedom from slavery/sin, He gave His life! Father God also sacrificed because He had to witness His Son become the sin of the world and had to turn His face away while Jesus suffered on that cross! Never had there been a separation between them! The third thing we learn in this scripture is the actual price that Hosea paid for her release on the slave’s block. It is actually the same price that Judas was paid to turn the Messiah over to the Pharisees. What God meant for good to Hosea to pay the price for his bride, the enemy turned to evil for Judas to betray Jesus!
There is a cost to those who are willing to walk God’s narrow road. "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14) Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” (Matthew 16:24) I also am reminded that this “buying back” of Gomer was also an act of worship on Hosea’s part. And King David gave us a standard to live by when he made the following statement, But King David said to Ornan, "No, but I will surely buy it for the full price; for I will not take what is yours for the LORD, or offer a burnt offering which costs me nothing." (1 Chronicles 21:24) Your life, and my life, just like Gomer’s had value to God, and Hosea is representing Messiah here and saying that there is no price too high to pay to redeem My bride!
So let me ask you a question, how do you treat that gift? Is it precious in your sight? Do you cherish it? Did you receive it? Do you allow it to transform you? Have you laid down your life and allowed the Lord of All to become your Lord to lead you where He chooses? Are you submitted to His ways? I know these are challenging questions. No one expects you to be perfect, God knows your heart, however, and He knows what your desires are. He is calling you today to come to Him, meet with Him, LISTEN to Him.
My dear brothers and sisters, we do not know what tomorrow will bring, tomorrow may be too late. Come join me today at the fountain of living water. I know that I need His refreshing love each and every moment. The trials of this world can be overwhelming even when we are not in the direct line of persecution where our lives depend on it. But unless we learn surrender and submission in the trials of today, we won’t know His voice when the larger trials come. I see that all around me today with believers already. They have become consumed with the world views and making sure their opinions are heard. Sadly, they have not gone to the Lord to hear His heart in all of this. He is calling you and me today, "Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; And you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk Without money and without cost.” (Isaiah 55:1) "For he will be like a tree planted by the water, That extends its roots by a stream And will not fear when the heat comes; But its leaves will be green, And it will not be anxious in a year of drought Nor cease to yield fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:8)
Almighty Father, thank You for Your covenant love which we do not deserve. Thank You for Your free give of salvation that only comes through Your Son Messiah Yeshua. Your heart of love is so vivid through the prophet Hosea, it screams I LOVE YOU WITH ALL MY HEART! Forgive us for treating Your love so carelessly. Speak to each one’s heart today who is coming to Your well of living water for refreshing and renewal. We come before You desiring to be Your bondservants, to be who You created us to be. We love You with all of our hearts! This we pray in the blessed name of Your Son Messiah Yeshua! Amen.