We do not see sin the way God does. We see sin as desirable, fun, enticing – something really hard to resist. God sees sin as an insult to His holiness, a rejection of His righteousness, and intolerable to his presence. A prayer for spiritual awakening is a prayer to see our sin the way God does and to hear Him calling us out of it. There are many attitudes toward sin:
-Some Deny it – there is nothing wrong.
-Some mock it – make fun of it, as if it were a joke.
-Some minimize it – not really a big deal.
-Some put off dealing with their sin for another day.
There are two analogies used in Hosea to help us see God. Each one can give us insight into God’s view of our sin. Also insight into the great love he has for us.
GOD AS THE BROKEN-HEARTED HUSBAND
Hosea the prophet gets a nightmare assignment from God in Hosea chapter 1: find a prostitute and marry her. Hosea fathered three children in this relationship. Each one had a bitter name.
-The firstborn son had a name that spoke of punishment and vengeance.
-The middle child was a daughter who bore the pain of being named for a lack of love.
-The third child was a son, and his name was an admission of rejection and sorrow.
Hosea experienced the shame of being married to a woman who spent her days with other lovers. He watches as she gives herself to multiple men who use her and ditch her, cheaply degrading herself.
Hosea mourns this loss… for himself … his children. The woman he chose has shamefully acted out the basest of her desires and everyone can see it. She can’t seem to see how pitiful the situation is. He still loves and desires for her to come home, but she keeps chasing the men who treat her like trash.
Hosea sees her at the end of her rope. Imprisoned and worn out. His heart still aches for her and he pays her bail, brings her home, and washes her gently. Asks her to give it another chance and to leave behind the lust for all the other men and accept the Love he has for her after all.
Our hearts go out to Hosea. In one sense, Unfaithful Gomer is Israel who wanders from God over and over. In a very real sense, though, Gomer is us. We have to look in the mirror. How many times has God called us out our mess to come back into His grace?
GOD AS A BROKEN-HEARTED FATHER
God is the Father who loves his disobedient children. And it’s a long and sometimes ugly story.
When Israel was a child, I loved him…But the more I called to him, the farther he moved from me…Hosea 11:1,2 NLT
He is the Father who rescues, calls, teaches, cares for, and loves his child. But all he gets in return is rejection.
I myself taught Israel how to walk, leading him along by the hand. But he doesn’t know or even care that it was I who took care of him. I led Israel along with my ropes of kindness and love. I lifted the yoke from his neck, and I myself stooped to feed him. … For my people are determined to desert me. They call me the Most High, but they don’t truly honor me.Hosea 11:3,4,7, NLT
GOD AS THE COMPASSIONATE FORGIVER
He Knows – No matter how deeply you have crawled into the pit of shame and godless living, this doesn’t have to be the end of your story.
He Loves. He Forgives. He Welcomes. There is a God who has been broken-hearted over your choices but He reaches beyond that hurt to the love that’s been there all along.
If you’ve never known God as brokenhearted, it’s only because you haven’t seen sin through God’s eyes. What breaks God’s heart is how our own sin destroys our lives and brings us heartache and sorrow.
Three Encouragements for You:
–Hear the heart of God for you. Hosea 14:4 I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for my anger has turned away from them.
–Return to the Father who cares for you. Luke 15:24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
Pray for the Compassion of God to be demonstrated in your life: Forgiveness & Family!
Galatians 3:26-28 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Praying for Spiritual awakening means praying for a decisive faith and to experience the compassion of God.
- Hosea had a tough assignment. Why do you think God gave him such an assignment instead of just telling him what to say to the people?
- It is easy to fall into the trap of viewing our sins lightly. How can we maintain the proper view of our own sin? Why does disobedience matter?
- How hard is it to identify with Gomer? Why do we often view the sins of others more harshly than our own?
- Which image touches you the most …God the broken-hearted husband or God the broken-hearted father?
- The teaching of Hosea about sin goes beyond just choosing right instead of wrong. It tells us about how the heart of God is affected by our sinful choices. Which do you think is more effective … viewing sin as a list of do’s and dont’s … or viewing sin as affecting the relationship you have with your Father? How can one view or the other be more effective in reaching our lost friends?
- Why do you think some people find it hard to believe that God forgives so completely?
- When feeling guilt over past sins, what are some strategies to help you remember God’s complete forgiveness and love?
- What else in Hosea did you see that you wanted to talk about?