Character Development with Hosea

» Posted by on Jan 20, 2014 in character development | 0 comments

Character Development with Hosea

Do you wonder if what God is asking you to do is really from Him?

Do you think He is crazy or perhaps you did not hear clearly?

Do you think you heard Him telling you to do something, then after the fact, when it did not work out, do you think maybe it was not really Him you heard in the first place?

Serving a sovereign God may seem a little schizophrenic at times. In my personal life, I have followed what I believed to be the prompting of the Spirit of God on several occasions, then later was completely appalled at the way my life unfolded as a result. I love to look at scripture to help in my character development when I cannot make sense of events in my life. Looking at the prophets, we see they had similar experiences. For example, we read in Hosea 1:2 that God told the prophet:

“Go marry a prostitute who will bear illegitimate children conceived through prostitution, because the nation continually commits spiritual prostitution by turning away from the Lord.”

2013-12-28 13.50.08

My son and wife named their first born son Tiberius John; Tiberius from James T. Kirk of Star Trek fame, and John after her father.

“WHAT? Did I HEAR you correctly, God?”

Would prostitution be on your list of characteristics in a spouse? Would you think that maybe God had lost His mind?

Making a point to the people of Israel through the prophet Hosea, God asked him not only to act out the illustration, but also to record it, so that the Jews would have it as part of their written history. Subsequently, Hosea had three children by Gomer, whom God names according to the point He is explaining in reference to His people Israel.

To add insult to injury, Gomer leaves Hosea and returns to her lovers. God tells Hosea to go purchase her again and pay the bride price for her as an illustration of what God has done for Israel. Paul says that things that happened to our forefathers were examples for us, so that we would not follow the same course of action and end up wandering in the desert as the children of Israel did:

Crossing the Sea of Galilee, the largest freshwater lake in Israel, March 2012.

Crossing the Sea of Galilee, the largest freshwater lake in Israel, March 2012.

For I want you to know, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Messiah (Christ). Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.” We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put Messiah (Christ) to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer.  Now these things

Micro calligraphy found in a shop in Israel depicting stories from Exodus, March 2012.

Micro calligraphy found in a shop in Israel depicting stories from Exodus, March 2012.

happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

–I Corinthians 10:1-13

Wandering in the desert has not been fun. Character development and the opportunity for encouraging fellow travelers on the journey of life has been the serendipity of the arduous process of enduring the consequences of the choices I believed God wanted me to make.

Listening to God is tricky business. Did He really say to do that? Was I hearing the Spirit of God or the lust of my flesh?

Reading further on in Hosea 2:21-23, we see that the meanings of the names of his children are reversed:

Crop growing in one of the many fields of Israel, March 2012.

Crop growing in one of the many fields of Israel, March 2012.

“And in that day I will answer, declares the LORD, I will answer the heavens, and they shall answer the earth, and the earth shall answer the grain, the wine, and the oil, and they shall answer Jezreel, and I will sow her for myself in the land. And I will have mercy on No Mercy, and I will say to Not My People,‘You are my people’; and he shall say, ‘You are my God.’”

Relating this reversal to my own life, whether I heard from God or not, whether I made the right choices or not, God has unraveled the snarled mess of my life

Our family: Natalie holding baby Ty, Isaac, Amy, and me, December 2013.

Our family: Natalie holding baby Ty, Isaac, Amy, and me, December 2013.

and created some incredible scenic beauty, which is still unfolding and promises to continue for some time to come. Where once my life felt dry and worthless, now it feels full of life and vigor; where once my life seemed severe, I now feel God’s compassion like dew from heaven; where once I had no identity, I now identify strongly with scripture and understand my place in the grand scheme of God’s plan.

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