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