The inspiration for today’s teaching will come from the book of Hosea. The name Hosea means salvation. Joshua and Jesus are derivative names that discloses the key Person responsible for salvation “Yahwey Is Salvation.”
If you recall, Hosea was commanded by God to marry a known prostitute revealing the unfaithfulness of Israel. The nation had played the harlot once again and gone a whoring after other gods. Though the Lord is patient, loving, long suffering, and merciful, He is also a jealous God that desires we walk in fidelity to Him and our covenant brethren.
The two great commandments given by God to His fallen creatures are to love Him with all our hearts, souls, mind, and strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:37-39). Jesus explained that all the law and the prophets are summarized in these two great commandments.
It is important to note that our Creator, Lawgiver, and Savior commands love. This means love is not centered in romance, feelings, or sentiment. Love is centered in our will. This helps to reveal the significance of the wedding vow. When challenged to be faithful to our spouses till death do us part, the expected response is “I do, I shall, and/or I will.”
Human passion and love can only go so far, it is ultimately the love of God governed by the Word of God in a Christ centered marriage that establishes the faithfulness to keep the covenant. A three-fold cord is not easily broken (Ecclesiastes 4:12).
Interestingly, God promised through Hosea that He would wean His people from the lovers of this world and His people would return to their rightful “Husband.” The Valley of Achor would become that door of hope. This is tremendously significant since Achor was a huge blight upon Israel during the Exodus.
Achan and his family had disobeyed the command of God by taking the spoils of Jericho. This sin in the camp made Israel vulnerable to military defeat, though God promised them victory. Huge lessons are to be learned from this Biblical narrative. Psalms 81:13, 14 concurs, “Oh, that My people would listen to Me, that Israel would walk in My ways! I would soon subdue their enemies, and turn My hand against their adversaries.” The Biblical lesson is clear, obedience to God leads to victory, while disobedience ends with defeat.
It is there (The Valley of Achor) God promised to woo us, “I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me In righteousness and justice, in lovingkindness and mercy; I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness, and you shall know the LORD” (Hosea 2:19, 20). He stated right before this precious promise that the day would come when we would no longer call Him Master, but Husband (Hosea 2:16).
In Hosea 4, however, the Lord presented His case against Israel that is so relevant to America today. Using Hosea, the prophet, as His prosecuting attorney, God brought charges from Heaven against them. Pay close attention to the divine accusations and how they relate to our nation.
“There is no truth or mercy or knowledge of God in the land. By swearing and lying, killing and stealing and committing adultery, they break all restraint, with bloodshed upon bloodshed. Therefore, the land will mourn” (Hosea 4:1b-3a).
Notice the progression is very similar to Romans 1:18-32 as nations spiral downward in rebellion to God. There is also one very telling allegation. God did not mention there was “no knowledge of God” in the church. That was not His concern. His issue was there was no knowledge of God in the land. No fear of God in the public life of the nation.
The consequences of that godless void are what put Israel and now our nation in much jeopardy. Vulgarity, profanity, lying, stealing, sexual immorality that leads to child sacrifice and the shedding of innocent blood has produced the bitter fruit afflicting our broken, defiled, and mourning land.
Supreme Court decision after Supreme Court decision expunged God from our government, schools, and culture. They proceeded to unleash bloodlust and perversion through their wicked decrees. They demanded the church privatize their faith and God’s people were willing to cooperate to our own detriment.
Fulfilling the Great Commission and being salt and light to the world were minimized as a priority amongst God’s people and what are the terrible results? Our tyrannical government and the culture of death is God’s report card. Jesus warned if the church ever lost its saltiness, “It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men” (Matthew 5:13). Or to put in in post Covid-19 terms, the church is “non-essential.”
Considering this, what was Hosea admonishment to Israel to make amends? He declared, “O Israel, (America) return to the LORD your God, for you have stumbled because of your iniquity; Take words with you, and return to the LORD. Say to Him, take away all iniquity; Receive us graciously, for we will offer the sacrifices of our lips. Assyria shall not save us, we will not ride on horses, nor will we say anymore to the work of our hands, ‘You are our gods.’ For in You the fatherless finds mercy” (Hosea 14:1-3).
This prayer is rare amongst the prayers of the Bible. The Lord is actually providing the words that he longs to hear from His people. God calls them to not trust in the governments of men, their military might, the work of their own hands, (their economic prowess) nor the idolatry that put them in this precarious situation in the first place. He desires for them to return and find mercy.
This coming week is Holy Week where the church celebrates the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It is therefore fitting and proper to end this article with another passage from Hosea that sums up our only hope in a hopeless, panic-stricken world.
“Come, and let us return to the LORD; For He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up. After two days He will revive us; On the third day He will raise us up, that we may live in His sight. Let us know, let us pursue the knowledge of the LORD. His going forth is established as the morning; He will come to us like the rain, like the latter and former rain to the earth” (Hosea 6:1-3).