UNFAITHFULNESS to GOD will result in ‘SPIRITUAL ADULTERY’
September 15 Bible Reading: Hosea Chapters 1-3
When the Lord began to speak by Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea: "Go, take yourself a wife of harlotry and children of harlotry, for the land has committed great harlotry by departing from the Lord." (Hosea 1:2)
The prophetical book of Hosea is the first of the last twelve books of the Old Testament known as the ‘Minor Prophets’. However, there is nothing minor about these books since they play a major role in declaring God’s Word not only to the Israelites and other nations of the ancient world, but to us today. Through these books, we gain additional perspective on the sins that God hates and the faith that He honors.
Hosea (“salvation”) prophesied concerning the salvation of Jehovah which will come when Christ returns to set up His kingdom. Hosea also foretold the Assyrian invasion of the Northern Kingdom and the fall of Samaria. However, more importantly, we have a unique message from the book of Hosea that was pointed out by G. Campbell Morgan, who wrote this beautifully: “We have in the Book of Hosea one of the most arresting revelations of the real nature of sin, and one of the clearest interpretations of the strength of the Divine love. No one can read the story of Hosea without realizing the agony of his heart. Then, lift the human to the level of the Infinite, and know this, that sin wounds the heart of God.”
The story behind the prophetical message of Hosea illustrates the amazing grace of God toward sinful, straying Israel, and by application, to all sinners who turn from their evil ways to a God of love. In order to live out his message, God directed the prophet Hosea to marry an unfaithful woman named Gomer in order to illustrate Israel’s unfaithfulness toward God (v. 2). Bible scholars are of the view that Gomer was chaste at the time of marriage, and she was referred to as a “wife of harlotry” to represent how she will behave in the future. In all probability Gomer was morally pure prior to her marriage to Hosea, but subsequently became discontented, unfaithful and went into harlotry, from which Hosea by his love reclaimed her!
Thus, Hosea describes the real-life stories of Gomer, his prodigal wife, and of Israel, the Lord’s prodigal people. Gomer’s marital infidelity is a picture of Israel’s idolatry and unfaithfulness to its covenant with God. The nation had departed almost entirely from worship as prescribed in the Law. Instead, the people had adopted the religions of the cultures around them, particularly the Canaanites, Phoenicians, and Moabites. God utterly rejected these practices, calling them what they were—“harlotries”. Just as Gomer has sinned, so Israel has sinned. Just as Hosea loves Gomer and will restore her in spite of her sin, so God loves Israel and will restore her in spite of her sin. Today, God loves us as well and wishes to restore us back into fellowship with Him!
Spiritual adultery is a danger for God’s people today. The New Testament likens the relationship between believers and Christ to marriage (Eph. 5:25–33). When Christians turn away from Christ and adopt beliefs, values, practices, and rituals that are unworthy of Him, they commit the same sort of “harlotries” as ancient Israel committed against the Lord. Apostle Paul caught the essence of godliness when he wrote, “Therefore be imitators of God as dear children” (Eph. 5:1). Just as God called Hosea to live out His undying, eternal love for His people by instructing him to marry an unfaithful woman, He calls us to illustrate His Word and His very character in the way we live. Remember, unfaithfulness to God will result in spiritual adultery!