Francine Rivers’ book Redeeming Love tells the story of Hosea’s marriage to a prostitute at God’s command and their subsequent difficulties. This story is an allegory of God’s love for His unfaithful betrothed, the Israelites. One of our Creator-God’s supernatural characteristics is His incredible patience with His people, Jews and Gentiles alike. In the Book of Hosea God finally lost patience with Gomer, Hosea’s wife, and gave Hosea prophetic words of warning about the result of her unwillingness to honor her marriage contract. The Lord uses this allegory to tell of His passionate love for us, His people, but He also uses this story to tell us what we can expect if we violate our covenant with Him. The Book of Hosea is short. Take time to read it.
The Ten Commandments
Exodus 20:2-3“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 3You shall have no other gods before Me. 4You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in the heavens above, on the earth below, or in the waters beneath.
God was absolutely serious when He made this declaration. During the sojourn of Israel out of Egypt into the wilderness He began to teach His chosen tribes His ways and the very first commandment was that He was to be supreme in their lives. His desire was an intimate relationship that allowed no others as interlopers. He used the example of marriage to explain what He wanted from them spiritually. As their Husband He intended to provide all their needs and desires in every way. But just as human marriage often fails, so the relationship between their Creator-God and themselves wavered and sometimes failed. Even to this day humanity looks to material things to meet their spiritual and emotional needs and desires. That “short cut” never works because it cannot satisfy the inner yearning mankind has for God. Man was made to need and hunger after his Lord.
Jesus declared that He was the Way, the Truth, and the Life because He WAS! And the unfaithfulness of man to his Lord was called adultery because it was the betrayal of deep intimacy of Spirit to spirit.
Isaiah 54:5 For your Maker is your husband,
The Lord of hosts is His name;
And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel;
He is called the God of the whole earth.
Hosea 10:13 You have plowed wickedness;
You have reaped iniquity.
You have eaten the fruit of lies,
Because you trusted in your own way,
2 Corinthians 11:2-3
Paul’s Concern for the Corinthians’ Faithfulness
I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband,
that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
3 But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness,
so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
As a human husband is NOT open-handed with his one and only wife, so Jesus is NOT open-handed with his beautiful bride – each of us, one by one. His commitment is the Blood Covenant and it cost Him everything. And He wants our everything in return. There is no option to reserve a little sporting on the side. It is all or nothing. Those who say there are acceptable lapses are lying to you. To confirm this commitment to yourself, you have only to read the Word and obey. Jesus’ best friend, the precious Holy Spirit, will teach you as you grow and mature and struggle to meet His desires for you.
Psalm 90:8 Our iniquities, our secret heart and its sins [which we would so like to conceal even from ourselves], You have set in the [revealing] light of Your countenance.
There is nothing hidden from the infinite, all-knowing God. When He sees spiritual adultery, He withdraws and allows the unfaithful individual to go their way. But He will, in His love and grace, discipline the individual to draw them back to Himself, for His love is sacred and beautifully longsuffering. He knows our secrets and yet He is patient and earnest in a love like none we have ever experienced. The tenderness of His love melts a heart of stone and draws the unfaithful one back to Him.
My Jesus who was beaten into unrecognition for my sins yearns after me with a passion that I cannot begin to describe, but I know from personal experience how He loves and pursues the unfaithful one.
At some point, when rebellion drives the unfaithful wife away, she will experience God’s displeasure and correction. Ultimately, she can walk away because although no one can take us out of God’s hand, we have free will. That is, we can choose to walk away and suffer eternal punishment. Living a separated life for Jesus takes effort just as human faithfulness to a spouse takes commitment. But oh, it is worth what it costs!