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A Long-Term View

I have often taught that one of the key steps to personal growth is “pay attention to God’s word.” What I mean by this is we focus on verses that stand out and make us feel better because God is using these passages to encourage us as we wrestle with the realities of life. It also means we pay attention to verses that bother us because they point at an area in our lives God wants to strengthen or change. Hosea 1 is one of those portions of the Bible that consistently “bothers me.”
“When the LORD began to speak through Hosea, the LORD said to him, ‘Go, marry a promiscuous woman and have children with her, for like an adulterous wife this land is guilty of unfaithfulness to the LORD.’” (Hosea 1:2) It seems almost unbelievable that God would ask anyone, let alone a prophet, to marry someone whom He knew would become unfaithful. It would be hard enough if the request stopped there but the plan of using Hosea and Gomer’s experience as an example to the nation of Israel included their three children. “. . . she conceived and bore him a son. Then the LORD said to Hosea, ‘Call him Jezreel, because I will soon punish the house of Jehu for the massacre at Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of Israel.’ . . . Gomer conceived again and gave birth to a daughter. Then the LORD said to Hosea, ‘Call her Lo-Ruhamah (which means “not loved”), for I will no longer show love to Israel.’ . . . After she had weaned Lo-Ruhamah, Gomer had another son. Then the LORD said, ‘Call him Lo-Ammi (which means “not my people”), for you are not my people, and I am not your God.’” (vs. 3-9)
From a personal fulfillment point of view, it is impossible to accept this as a good plan for anyone. Under normal circumstances, everyone in the family would be discouraged, bitter and resentful. It is simple for us to look back on this scenario and see that God was using Hosea and his family to get Israel’s attention to lead them to repentance. We are capable of seeing the dignity in that calling and the high privilege to be chosen for such a purpose, when it is someone else’s story.
The only way I can see that Hosea could accept this calling is if he had a long-term view of his life. If he honestly believed life is eternal with our time on earth being the short introduction period, he could find the grace to humbly say, “God, I will be your servant and do what you clearly ask me to do.” His kids might be able to accept the prophetic nature of their lives if they truly believed that eternity is real and that God would reward them sufficiently in the future to make the memory of their earthly struggles fade away.
As I read Hosea once again, I am certainly not past the point of being “bothered” by the request that God laid before one amazing servant. I also can’t help but be challenged to pray, “Jesus, give me a long-term view of my life. Rescue me from thinking my entire life is defined by what is happening today.”

2 Responses

  1. Hello Solomon,
    Thank you for your words of wisdom. It is very easy to take the short view or our life instead of the long view. Thanks for readjusting the focus ring on my long range lens. Have a great week.

  2. I always felt Hosea really got a raw deal with Gomer. I see that the Lord was using Hosea’s life and off-spring as a demonstration of His love for the Israelites, and of His expectations of obedience. Hosea was a dedicated Godly man. I wonder if Gomer ever ever realized how lucky she was. Susan

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