WORSHIP SERVICE - 9.27.2020
HOSEA - PART 3 - A FORGOTTEN IDENTITY
2 “Plead with your mother, plead—
for she is not my wife,
and I am not her husband—
that she put away her whoring from her face,
and her adultery from between her breasts;
3 lest I strip her naked
and make her as in the day she was born,
and make her like a wilderness,
and make her like a parched land,
and kill her with thirst.
4 Upon her children also I will have no mercy,
because they are children of whoredom.
5 For their mother has played the whore;
she who conceived them has acted shamefully.
For she said, ‘I will go after my lovers,
who give me my bread and my water,
my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.’
6 Therefore I will hedge up her way with thorns,
and I will build a wall against her,
so that she cannot find her paths.
7 She shall pursue her lovers
but not overtake them,
and she shall seek them
but shall not find them.
Then she shall say,
‘I will go and return to my first husband,
for it was better for me then than now.’
8 And she did not know
that it was I who gave her
the grain, the wine, and the oil,
and who lavished on her silver and gold,
which they used for Baal.
9 Therefore I will take back
my grain in its time,
and my wine in its season,
and I will take away my wool and my flax,
which were to cover her nakedness.
10 Now I will uncover her lewdness
in the sight of her lovers,
and no one shall rescue her out of my hand.
11 And I will put an end to all her mirth,
her feasts, her new moons, her Sabbaths,
and all her appointed feasts.
12 And I will lay waste her vines and her fig trees,
of which she said,
‘These are my wages,
which my lovers have given me.’
I will make them a forest,
and the beasts of the field shall devour them.
13 And I will punish her for the feast days of the Baals
when she burned offerings to them
and adorned herself with her ring and jewelry,
and went after her lovers
and forgot me, declares the Lord.
- In this passage, God portrays himself as a heartbroken husband who is wronged and wounded by his wife’s repeated unfaithfulness.
- Israel had forgotten her unique identity as God’s beloved bride, his special people, and had pursued other lovers. She had committed spiritual adultery and forgotten the Lord.
I. THE CHARGE AGAINST ISRAEL
TWO SPECIFIC CHARGES:
- Israel was NOT pursued by other lovers, she was the one pursuing other lovers.
- These lovers where other gods.
- Israel blatantly violated the 1st and 2nd commandment (Exodus 20:3-5)
- She provoked the Lord to jealousy
- God is a jealous God
What does it mean that God is jealous?
- God is jealous because what he is jealous of belongs to him.
- Worship, praise, adoration, service, honor belong to him alone.
- God is right to be jealous when those that belong to him give to to idols that which is exclusively his.
- His jealousy is holy, right, and appropriate.
- He uses the imagery of a heartbroken husband then to teach his people the depths of their sinfulness and betrayal of his love through their unfaithfulness.
- It is because God loves that he is jealous for those who are his.
- The second charge presented by the Lord is in regards to the gross ingratitude Israel displayed.
- Instead of thanking the Lord for His blessings of provision to the nation, the nation thanked the false gods
- And they used those good gifts and blessings of the Lord to worship and serve idols
Beneath Israel’s adultery are two realities that contribute to her identity crisis:
- 1. Israel failed to remember the source of her past blessings
- 2. And Israel failed to recognize the source of her present blessings
Israel has forgotten what God has done for her in the past
- How God rescued her from bondage to Egypt
- Cared for her through the wilderness journey
- Brought her in to the promised land
- Delivered her from all of her enemies
- Caused her to prosper and increase
- Israel’s prosperity was due to God’s generosity, not Baals’
- Israel forgot God in her day-to-day life.
- Israel was living as if God didn't exist or as if Baal was more important to her survival.
II. THE WITHDRAWAL OF GOD'S BLESSINGS
- God has presented his case with damning evidence
- But God’s intent was not prosecution BUT reconciliation and restoration
- God is pursuing his bride who has been pursuing other lovers
- And God will do that by withdrawing his blessing
- God will take the initiative in reconciliation by withdrawing his hand of blessing and making Israel realize that Baal is no god at all.
God says he will withdraw his blessing by:
- Stripping Israel bare through failed harvest so that the use of resources in pagan feasts will come to an end
- Putting up barriers and obstacles to block her from going after false gods
- Preventing her from straying; she will not be able to find her lovers; she will not find any more satisfaction in her lovers
- Reversing the promises of Deut. 28
- Exposing Baal’s impotency so that Israel will know that no one will be able to rescue her out of the Lord’s hand…for there is no other God!
- Disciplining Israel to bring her to repentance so that she will say as in v7, “I will go and return to my first husband for it was better for me then than now.”
Why does God do all of this?
- So that His people will see that the true blessing is God himself!
- Israel, in forgetting her identity forgot that their relationship to God was the greatest blessing.
III. REMEMBERING OUR IDENTITY IN CHRIST
Like Israel, forgetting our identity in Christ leads us down paths of idolatry, ingratitude, and unfaithfulness to the Lord.
- If you get the gospel wrong, you will self-sabotage in your spiritual life.
- You will chase identity by doing things rather than living out of your new identity.
- In the world, our identity has to be earned; it has to be achieved
- Our identity is tied to our activities; what we do
- The gospel flips that on its head
- The good news is that our identity is generously given to us in Christ
- So our activity arises out of our identity
- What we do flows out of who we are
- God makes me righteous in Christ, gives me a new heart with a desire to do what is right
- So now I can do good works that are pleasing to God
- My good works don’t define who I am rather they are a product of who I am, I am in Christ, a child of God.
Here’s where this is important when it comes to Israel’s forgotten identity and the importance of our remembering our identity in Christ.
- God’s complaint against Israel wasn’t that they hadn’t done enough to become His wife
- He was not expecting Israel to win his heart
- He wasn’t looking for Israel to perform enough good works and activities that would lead to their identity as his wife
- No! They were already his wife
- What God expected was that their identity as his loved bride would lead to activity and actions of love
- We don't have to win God's approval or love, we already have that
- We run into problems when we forget our identity
- Living holy lives and lives that are pleasing to the Lord isn’t about trying harder to become something we are not
- It is about remembering who we already are in Christ and living in light of that reality
- Our new identity comes through the cross and the work of Christ on our behalf
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