The Challenge of Hosea

flock of white birds photo during sunset
Photo by Adam Grabek on Pexels.com

Hosea was a prophet to Israel canonized in the bible as a part of the old testament. In his time he was the only prophet God appointed to Israel and was challenged with bringing Israel back to God as they worshiped false gods. Hosea, whose name means “salvation” was told by God to marry an adulterous woman. He obeyed this difficult challenge. Her name was Gomer and she ran away from Hosea to sleep with another man. I don’t know if I could take on a relationship I knew was going to be a cheating one from the beginning, would you?  The amazing part of the story is Hosea went after her to bring her back to him even though he knew she had been with another man. God had placed love in his heart for her and that love drew him to extend grace to her in spite of her adulterous ways.

To understand the gravity of the situation, back then in Israel women were stoned to death for the crime of adultery. Yet Hosea’s protective love and grace for her saved her time and time again. He refused to not love her. He refused to scorn her for the things she had done. His love was a covering for her, just like God’s love is for His created and chosen people. He had told Israel in the past, “You will be My people and I will be your God.” This was a promise of love and devotion that God always intended to keep.

God can not break His promise and Hosea never broke his to care for a woman who was continually unfaithful. God’s love for His people was always unfailing, forever and eternal. God can not refuse to love because God IS love. Hosea’s example of love was a living portrait of the love God has always had for His people. His ways are those of restoration and redemption. It’s not to say there was never discipline or suffering for moving against God. A relationship is meant to be enjoyed by two, otherwise it is not a relationship. Yet God’s great mercy always took Israel back when they truly repented and were sorry for their sin.

Hosea’s life was a type and shadow of the same life of a nation called by God to be His chosen people. In this world we are challenged every day, just like Hosea to bring redemption and forgiveness to people who are far away from God’s love. Every time Gomer left Hosea for another man, you have to know she suffered because she was far from the love God had given to him for her. It was love that drew her. I have been often told that real true love is like a rubber band. It will stretch, but it will never break. It always snaps back to itself and reunites, redeems, and restores. Love that is like the love of God covers, protects, and holds its captivated beloved closely.

God restored Israel. Hosea covered and restored Gomer. I often wonder if we can learn to have that kind of restorative love? It’s a challenge when there has been pain, wounds, and ill treatment. The temptation is to give up and walk away. Yet God’s way never leaves and never forsakes. Aren’t we glad His character is like that? I wonder if our character can learn to be like Gods? Can we restore the breaches that have been created by wounds of the past or even present? Can we be a merciful and restorative people and continually draw back those who leave us because our love covers their mistakes? Are we a safe harbor for those who need to come back and dock because the waters have become too much of a challenge? I wonder; in this world, can we love like God? Can we be that light that always welcomes the weary traveler even when their journey has been less than upstanding?

Great questions to ponder. I have to imagine it would take a lot of healing and stripping away of the scars created by continual dysfunction in society. We are all in the same boat looking for a safe harbor to dock. I think I want to be a safe harbor that always extends grace and mercy to the repentant traveler in a world that can be so hard to live in. Temptation fulfills for the moment, but God’s love lasts forever. How would you want our world to be?

Loving you from here,

Dr Jenine Marie Howry

Online Cheating

IMG_2636.JPGDo I really want to talk about this one? Sometimes God nudges me in directions that I really don’t want to go but it is necessary. This morning it happens to be online cheating. It comes up so much more often than most of us realize. Our techie age has created wonderful ways to meet people we otherwise would not meet, but unfortunately it is becoming the number one mode of marital/relationship infidelity. It is also becoming one of the foremost reasons for divorce in our country and others. After all, our country includes Canada, Mexico, and also the United States. Infidelity extends to the Philippines and other areas of the world. With the world at our fingertips the possibilities are multiplied.

I can already hear the questioning in my ears as to whether online communication with no intimacy is cheating or not. Well, I guess I can ask this question in return. Does your spouse know about your communications? If not, its cheating. It makes no difference if there is flirtation or not. Satisfying emotional needs with someone besides your spouse is cheating. I’ve written on adultery before. It seems to come up a lot. I think because it happens so very much in our society. It makes me wonder if there ever is a faithful marriage or relationship.

Here are some important reasons why connecting online or by text message to someone other than ones spouse is detrimental to a marriage.

  1. It gives intimacy to another person that belongs to a marital partner.
  2. Marital intimacy is affected, and where there is no intimacy it is considered abandonment.
  3. Secret communications and abandonment of intimacy is adultery which is considered to be a Biblical reason for divorce.
  4. It will cause unspeakable pain to the spouse that one thinks will always be unaware. Believe me, spouses always become aware eventually.
  5. It is extremely disrespectful to a spouse who is on the other side of it
  6. Sometimes there is no way to repair the damage it causes.

Bottom line, if you cherish your spouse or relationship and don’t want to lose it, then STOP. The Bible tells us that we should be in control of our actions and our bodies. There really are no excuses that are valid. We should tame the tongue, be in control of our own flesh, and be faithful in our marriage and relationships.

No excuse can change these issues. A strong faith is required in this world and with God. We are expected to walk the upstanding journey with God. If we refuse then we don’t love God and we can’t possibly love our spouse that much. Real love lays down its life for another. That means the temptation to connect with temporary thrills and chills that will end up permanent damage. It’s a huge smoke screen and it causes a lot of damage.

Don’t allow the devil to win in your relationships! If there is someone you cherish, don’t risk the possibility  of losing that person to momentary pleasures or connections that disrespect your marriage.

I pray for you and for your marriage and relationships to come. Be stronger than temptation and dump the junk that the devil uses to break up every marriage he targets. Remember, we are here to run the race with diligence. Don’t allow marriage failure due to adultery or abandonment to hinder your race.

Lovingly,

Pastor Jenine Marie Howry

Jenine Marie Coaching and Ministries

The Broken Heart of God from Adultery and Lust

6359335777833643201549500983_science_of_tearsI don’t even know if there are words enough to describe the feeling or hurt of someone who discovers their spouse has committed adultery. The intimate act between a husband and wife is considered to be the most sacred within the bonds of a marriage covenant. The Bible tells us when we have intercourse with another, we spiritually are joined as much as we are physically. God uses a man’s act with prostitutes in order to make his point.

Proverbs 6:26 

“For a prostitute will bring you to poverty, but sleeping with another man’s wife will cost you your life.” (This goes the other way around in sleeping with another man’s husband as well). 

1 Corinthians 6:16 

“Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.” (This is an example of creation of a spiritual soul tie)

God designed the marriage covenant to be one of the most precious examples of His covenant with His people and the church. His love for her is beyond measure and when she commits adultery His heart breaks beyond belief. He gives us this example in the book of Hosea where the prophet is lead to marry a prostitute. Their relationship becomes a metaphor and example of the adultery committed by the Northern Kingdom of Israel as they worshiped other gods. They took their eyes off of the God of their marriage covenant and began to look with lust at the shiny gods of this world. As a result, their immoral and sexual sin was rampant and it totally broke the heart of God.

As a result, God divorced “her”. Yes, God divorced some of His own people for their infidelity, and promised to “expose her” in her nakedness (speaking of Northern Israel). Yet, he also would redeem her should she repent and be sorry for her sins. In the mean time, His heart was expressly broken. His relationship with His people is the most intimate one possible. God knows every part of His creation because He designed us to be His own. When we fall from Him, His heart aches and He feels rejected and undervalued as our creator.

Since marriage is created in the image of the covenant between God and His people and the church, adultery in marriage is the most heartbreaking thing a person would endure. We know our spouse in the most intimate way possible and that intimacy is a gift from God. Our marriage covenant tells us that we have the legal, spiritual, physical, and emotional rights to the other person alone. When this is broken it strips the moral foundation of the marriage in ways that usually are not repairable. There are marriages that survive adultery but it is more rare than accepted. It’s one of the greatest grounds for divorce in our country and one that God brokenly approves of in respect for the spouse who has been dishonored. His promise to Israel was to expose “her” in her dirty deeds with other gods and her immorality. In the same respect God will expose and strip naked the adultery as an expression of His hurt and brokenness over that marriage. When adultery happens in marriage, God weeps and can not bless that couple because of the sin.

Jesus said when a man even looks at another woman with lust in his heart he has committed adultery already. He looks at the heart before the actions.

Matthew 5:28 

“But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Jesus loves the hearts of His children, that they not be broken by lust or adultery of another). 

For one, this dishonors the other spouse and the other reason is He might be able to intervene before the hearts desire becomes a physical one. He is picky about His people and protective of their marriages because they reflect how God feels about His people and the love relationship we have with our God. God commands the marriage bed be kept holy. This means to keep out any other distraction from the intimacy between a married couple. No other relationship can ever interfere with God’s married children. Its a protection of the sanctity of marriage and the intimate relationship.

Our God of passion loves us enough to teach us what a devoted covenant is. Adultery hurts deeply because it effects the inner parts of us where God feels the pain as much as we do because He lives in us. Like with God’s divorce of Northern Israel, He will expose adultery. I always think of where the scriptures state that He will strip “her” (Israel) naked and expose her. It’s pretty hurtful to have the blessing of God taken away from a marriage or in any way.

We can not serve two gods and have it go unexposed, and we can not commit adultery in marriage without exposure either. Redemption can only happen after confession, exposure, and repentance. A man who looks at another woman with lust will be exposed and he will lose his wife and the other way around. I’m being bold and open about this because I had been married in the past to someone who “just looked” at other women thinking that was alright. Over the course of years that looking and lusting turned to physical adultery. It was adultery at the looking stage. God knows the hearts intent of every man and woman and He hurts when they violate His covenant.

I know God’s pain from a woman’s perspective who has been cheated on. Let me express to you how this feels. It strips the fiber of everything that is sacred from a person from the inside out. It causes a person to wonder why they deserved to be treated in that manor and to question their worth. It makes a statement to us that our value is not even enough to hold an intimate relationship and the pain lasts a very very long time. The deception is something we deal with for a long period of life. Everyone after that becomes suspect because we never want to feel that pain ever again. It makes us feel flawed, and takes away from our self esteem and confidence. It hurts all the way to the bone marrow and the actions will effect every aspect of our lives. After my ex husband committed adultery I went through 10 long years of losing everything I worked hard for. It broke every part of me from the inside out. Deception of adultery caused me to not trust a single soul and it has taken a long time for me to even want to rebuild my life and try to trust again. Walking around feeling flawed, dishonored, and devalued is not living. It is more like dying from the inside out.

The good news is that Jesus heals and He will make sure that this will not break me again. The Bible tells us that every sin will be exposed. Don’t ever think even lust in your heart goes unnoticed by God. Believe me, He knows. He guards and watches over His people, He knows our hearts, and His greatest desire is that we succeed. That is why He warns us. That is why I am writing this blog post; as a warning. God tells us to guard our hearts with all diligence, and also to bring our bodies under subjection of the Holy Spirit. That means there is no excuse for hurting our spouse by devaluing her or him. Don’t excuse your wanton glances as stating :

  1. I am just a man or a woman and that is how I am
  2. I am not hurting anyone by looking and keeping it to myself
  3. What my spouse does not know won’t hurt her/him
  4. As long as I don’t have sex with someone it is not adultery (such a lie)
  5. It’s my wife/husband’s fault because of something they do or don’t do

I can create more, but I think you get the drift. Do NOT devalue your spouse by committing adultery of the heart, allowing others of the opposite sex to enter into your marriage covenant even as innocent as it might seem. Work through your issues with your spouse instead of cheating and having sex outside the marriage. If your marriage is strained then get professional help from a counselor or as a last resort divorce before you break someone. (Divorce itself will break them enough as well, so no excuse)

Think of it this way. Whenever you have thoughts of lust for someone else, God knows. Whenever you have sex outside of marriage, God is there. Be deeply sorrowful and repent for His forgiveness because this breaks His heart more than you could ever know and it breaks another person whom He dearly loves.

This is a tender subject and hard for many. I hope it has not brought pain but the beginning of understanding and healing instead. On the other side of the scope, don’t allow anyone to devalue you! You are worth more than that. Go to God and express your pain. If you feel no pain when your spouse lusts after someone else or commits adultery, then question why that is so. A person who allows this has no love in their heart for the other. In the same respect, a person who allows this has no love or respect for themselves. This is a sign for the need of healing.

I hope you heal. That is why I am writing this. I hope you do not harm your spouse. I am writing it for this reason as well. I also hope and pray you don’t break the heart of God. This is the bigger reason I am writing this!

If you do, and you have, then I pray you ask forgiveness and repent. Nothing is worth losing our eternity in God’s Kingdom and nothing is worth breaking the heart of our creator. After all, He is the one who says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love” and truly means it. This might mean He will love you enough to expose you or to convict you to bring you back to Him. No one wants to feel like God Himself has taken His blessing away. It hurts to a soul level. I have witnessed this in others who have cheated their spouses. It is an act that can never be undone once it is done. PLEASE DO NOT!

With God’s Love,

Pastor Jenine Marie Howry

800-421-1765  (If you have been effected by adultery or have done so yourself. Please call for prayer. It is confidential) Blessings

Jenine Marie Coaching and Ministries