BIG IDEA:  God’s covenant love compels us to love Him and love others.

Hosea is a scandalous book of the Bible.  In it we read about a godly husband whose wife is an unapologetic prostitute.  When making application from this book, we like to think of ourselves as the husband, a victim to unfair treatment.  Unfortunately, this is not the case.  We are the wife, the adulterating sinner.  In this sermon, we learned three steps we ought to follow when we, like Gomer, are lost in our sin and find ourselves far from God.  

First, to start down the road to repentance, respond to God’s patient, unconditional love (Hosea 2:14a).  It is completely unusual, illogical, and stunning; you cannot earn your way into it, and you cannot sin your way out of it.  Examine your motivations for repentance.  Are you repenting because you are amazed at God’s grace or avoiding embarrassment/ confrontation?  The proper motivation for repentance is to stare in His face and view His unadulterated glorious love.  And why does God love us this way?  Just because.  

Secondly, recognize God’s purpose in discipline.  He is dedicated to stripping us away from every idol we worship.  This is the most loving thing He can do because He is what ultimately fulfills our longings.  The mark of a true believer is someone who learns to interpret even the most difficult things as expressions of God’s love. 

Thirdly, repent and turn completely to God (vs. 2:15).  God is loving you in the middle of trials, and He will give satisfaction if you look to Him.  He can take the worst sin and turn it into an occasion for hope and grace.  Sometimes we are tempted to think we have sinned too far for forgiveness, but wherever we are, He meets us right there.   He is still on the throne, and He will always welcome us home.  That’s the compelling nature of His love.  

When the Israelites were first in the wilderness, they were obedient and on fire for God.  But sometimes newness wears off, like when two people fall in love but lose their infatuation whenthey begin to see each other’s flaws and quirks.  Those imperfections don’t exist with God; He is perfect.  The only thing that can tarnish our view of Him is our own sin.  When we find ourselves in sinful rebellion, it’s time to look back at the love that pursues us.  It is always there to lessen our attachment to things that don’t matter and strengthen it to things that glorify God.  Keep Christ in your mind’s eye as you live from day-to-day; His sacrificial love compels us to live for Him (II Cor. 5:14).

Think of Gomer’s embarrassment when she was shamed and thrown out naked into the street.  Now feel the restoration, forgiveness, and unmerited grace of God knowing how much you don’t deserve it.  You cannot withhold this forgiveness from anyone else in your life.  So do you need to extend forgiveness to someone who has wronged you?  Compelling love is paying the price for an enemy, not a friend.  Do you need to repent of sin?  There is always a way home.  Do you need to thank God for His illogical love?  “...while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)  Why did He love us this much?  Because He loves us.

Tweetable Quotes:

Why does God love us?  Because He loves us.  #ScandalousLove

You will never know that God is all you need until God is all you have.  #iamgomer

It’s painful to be pulled away from the idols of your heart, but if you look, you will find satisfaction.  #iamgomer

The only thing that can tarnish our view of God is our own sin.  #iamgomer