Thursday, August 18, 2022

Betraying the Bridegroom (Hosea)

Hosea and Gomer

READ Hosea 1:2

Why would God command a prophet to marry a harlot (prostitute)?

Who of us is sinless?

“Don’t judge me because I choose to sin differently from you” – we are all less than the dust of the earth compared to the Lord’s righteousness, which is where we NEED to be, to be saved (see LoF 7:9, 16).

 

READ QUOTE:

“The eminent Bible commentators Keil and Delitzsch reject the literal nature of the marriage for two main reasons. First, such a marriage would undermine the prophetic example and teaching of Hosea, and second, God would not command a prophet to sin or do anything at odds with the laws of God. "That by such a command and the prophet's obedience on his first entering upon his office, all the beneficial effects of that office would inevitably be frustrated. For if it were a well-known fact, that the woman whom the prophet married had hitherto been leading a profligate life, and if the prophet declared freely and openly that he had taken her as his wife for that very reason, and with this intention, according to the command of God; the marriage, the shame of which the prophet had taken upon himself in obedience to the command of God . . . would be a practical and constant sermon to the nation” . . .. Dr. Sidney B. Sperry, respected Latter-day Saint scholar, said "I cannot believe the marriage to be a literal one, for, as those who have taken it as an allegory or parable have always pointed out, to do so would be imputing to God a command inconsistent with His holy character. Furthermore, for Hosea to marry a woman with a questionable past would make it impossible for him to preach to his people and expose their sexual immoralities. They could point the finger of scorn at him and say, 'You are as guilty as we are; don't preach to us.'” (Brent Top, “The Marriage of Hosea and Gomer” from 1989 Sperry Symposium at BYU)

What is wrong with the arguments these scholars are making?

They presume to know the mind of God, which they do not – His ways are not our ways, and we cannot even obtain His ways unless He chooses to reveal them, and we cannot then understand them unless we are filled with enough light to do so (our minds are darkened, i.e. not quickened).

They are talking like the public relations department of a large corporate organization: it’s all about image with the public and authority over the employees (i.e. church members); God doesn’t care for these things and He doesn’t work this way – He wishes that we all were prophets AND He knows that we are all sinners.

They are mistaking virtue for righteousness – we are saved by adopting His ways and following His will, not the virtues we interpret as His will, which are based on the fragments of His word that we have received in the past, but are seen through the lens of our own cultural mores.

They are missing the fact that Christ was made “guilty” of all our sins, that He descended below all things, that He loves us despite our faithlessness toward Him, even in the face of all He has done for us; they are missing the fact that Hosea is a type of Christ and Gomer is each of us – but in real life.

 

READ Hosea 1:3, 6, 8

Was Gomer faithful to Hosea?

Yes, for a time, at least.

She has borne him 3 children.

They were a family.

 

READ Hosea 2:2

What has Gomer done that Hosea is no longer her husband?

She has betrayed him.

She has gone back to her immoral lifestyle.

Why is Hosea asking Gomer’s children to plead with her?

He still loves her.

He wants her to repent.

By implication, she won’t listen to him but perhaps she’ll listen to her children (who are still young?).

 

READ Hosea 2:5

Why was Gomer unfaithful to Hosea?

Her other lovers gave her material gifts – her livelihood.

In her mind, that livelihood meant more to her than her relationship with Hosea.

It doesn’t say that she stopped loving Hosea or how she felt about what she had done.   

 

READ Hosea 3:1

What is the Lord commanding Hosea to do next?

Remarry Gomer.

What does “yet an adulteress” imply?

She is still an adulteress.

She has not repented or if she has confessed, she has not forsaken her sins.

 

READ Hosea 3:2

What does the fact that Hosea bought her for 15 pieces of silver imply?

She had become a slave.

 

READ Hosea 3:3

What is the arrangement Hosea proposes to Gomer?

You be faithful to me.

You abide with me – be one.

I will be faithful to you, despite all of your betrayals – I will forgive you.

 

 

Christ and Israel

Going back to chapter 1…

Explain the analogy of likening Jehovah’s covenant with Israel (or us) to a marriage?

Both are covenants (binding two-way agreements, involving short term and long term obligations and rewards).

Both center around unconditional love, giving/creating life and self-sacrifice.

Both revolve around the principle of complete faithfulness to the other person – without which the trust and relationship is destroyed.

This level of faithfulness is required if the two are to become one, which is the ultimate goal of both covenants.

In this analogy, who is the bride and who is the bride-groom?

Bride = Israel, the Church, each of us individually.

Bride groom = Christ.

 

READ Genesis 2:18

What does “not good” in this context mean?

It is the opposite of God’s declaration about the creation which was “very good”.

It is an emphatic negative: the man being alone is the worst possible situation or “not good in any way”.

What are the implications of the man being alone being “not good in any way”?

In ancient Hebrew, the word translated as “alone” has connotations of “separation” and even “alienation”.

This state of being alone destroys God’s objective – which is to create life on the earth.

Life needs male and female to create, but also without God literally supporting our every breath, we cannot live either.  So being separated or alienated from God is just as destructive to God’s ultimate plan as the man and woman being alone.

What is the connection between the command to marry a harlot and Israel departing from the Lord?

If Hosea is a type of Jehovah, then the Father has commanded the Son to covenant with a people (Israel) who have a history of being spiritually unfaithful to their God.

Why is departing from the Lord likened to committing great whoredom?

It is about being faithful to covenants that bring two people together into a contractual relationship of “oneness”.

Whoredom means to be unfaithful to that relationship because they value something else more; it is to sell oneself.

 

READ Hosea 1:3-4, 6, 8-9

What do the names of Gomer’s three children tell us?

Jezreel = The Kingdom of Israel (north kingdom) will be destroyed soon.

Lo-ru-ham-ah = The people of Israel will be completely removed (killed or captured).

Lo-am-mi = Israel have rejected Jehovah, so He is no longer their God.

 

In this reading of the story, there is a very specific application to the North Kingdom of Israel but…

What does this story teach us about God’s more general relationship with Israel?

He knew Israel had adulterous tendencies because of past actions of worshipping other gods.

He covenanted with her regardless.

He loved her regardless.

She bore him seed/fruit (see Moses 1:39) which is His desire (to create as many Sons of God as possible).

She went back to her adulterous ways by worshipping idols and receiving money/power and apostatized from the true and living God.

They were divorced – i.e. the spiritual covenant was severed and Israel was alone again without the blessings of assistance in this world and eternal life in the next phase.

She became a slave to sin, death and the ways of the world.

God had to buy her redemption from slavery at an additional cost to Himself through the Atonement.

God took her back into his home and marriage – God would not forget Israel but would bring her back into full fellowship in the Gospel Covenant.

 

READ D&C 33:17

Does this analogy apply to us today?

Yes, and even more particularly so, with the call to be ready when the bride groom comes again (Second Coming).



Christ and Us

If Christ is Hosea and Gomer is Israel, then Gomer is also each of us…

How do you react to being referred to as a “harlot” in this metaphor?

We are less than the dust of the earth, because the dust obeys God (see Helaman 12:7-8).

We are likely to break our covenants with God (see Hosea 5:7 and 1 Nephi 20:8).

It should be sobering.

What hope in Christ does it give you to know that He “proposed” His covenant to you, knowing your “adulterous” or unfaithful past and tendencies?

All we like sheep have gone astray (see Mosiah 14:6).

It is by grace we are saved, after (or despite) all we can do (or have done) (see 2 Nephi 25:23).

It should give us all great hope; Christ knows us and is still seeking after each of us, if we will but turn back to Him.

What does it tell you about His love for you?

Greater love hath no man than this… lay down his life for his friends (see John 15:13).

He loves us without reciprocation; His love is pure – it does not depend on our behaviors or even our love for Him. 

How does it make you feel to know that Christ will open His home to you, even after you have betrayed Him – AFTER you have already covenanted with Him?

Like the prodigal son (see Luke 15:20, 24).

It should break our hearts; enabling a mighty change in our hearts when we realize the level of love He is extending to us and what it cost Him to be able to extend it.

What does this story teach you about the depth of His love, which is clearly unconditional from him and undeserved by us?

Eye hath not seen…the things God hath prepared (see 1 Cor 2:9).

Like being in the presence of His glory unprepared, His love for us in all consuming.

What does our infidelity cost our Lord?

A level of suffering that we cannot now understand (see D&C 19:16, 18-19).

Plus, a deep, continued sadness:

·         At our careless indifference in not coming to Him despite His offer of forgiveness.

·         Or in our belittling of his sacrifice and power to save by imagining we are beyond His reach and ability to redeem.

·         Or affronting His very defining attribute by denying His love for us – being of love that He is.

Given all of this, upon whose agency does this relationship rest, i.e. who runs from whom?

He stands at the door and knocks (see Rev 3:20).

He stands with open arms to receive His ‘chickens under his wings’ (see 3 Nephi 10:4-6).

It is up to us to come to Him as He calls after us – He will never force us home.

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