&nb sp; In this chapter we again see God using names as a way of communicating with His people, Israel. Whereas with Hosea's children God showed his anger over Israel's sins, now God uses the naming of Hosea's fellow Israelites to demonstrate the mercy he will bestow upon Israel. Hosea is to call his brothers Ammi and his sisters Ruhamah, "My People" and "My Loved One" (2:1). Even with this promise of restoration God still gives Israel another rebuke for her unfaithfulness. Remember, God disciplines out of love and for our benefit (Proverbs 3:12). Here, He tells Israel, who is personified as Gomer, to "remove the adulterous look from her face and the unfaithfulness from between her breasts" (Hosea 2:1b). The adulterous look on Gomer's face and the harsh reality of her exposing herself to prostitution must have cut right to the heart of Hosea.
&nb sp; I do not know if any of you have experienced unfaithfulness in a relationship or marriage, but I want you to know that I am so sorry if you have. The layers upon layers of heartbreak, betrayal, and mistrust go deeper than we who have not experienced sexual betrayal can ever really understand. Only God is truly able to bring healing to a marriage attacked by unfaithfulness. We can take great hope in the knowledge that many now loving Christian couples have sought God for such healing and have experienced full restoration. It is vital that we all desire to remain faithful not only in our earthly relationships, but especially in our relationship with Christ.
Read 2 Corinthians 11:2-4.
How are we to be presented to Christ?
What can the mind be led astray from?
&nb sp; My dear Friend, we may not be participating in prostitution or worshiping in a temple with false idols, but we are in grave danger of our minds being “led astray from a pure and sincere devotion to Christ” (11:3, para). God desires to present us to Christ as a "pure virgin" (11:2). Unfortunately, purity seems to have become something of the past. Society constantly bombards us with images, language, movies, literature, and countless other things that elicit sexuality and impurity. What is so sad is how many Christians have become immune to such immorality. We have allowed Satan to cunningly transform how we think about the culture around us. No longer are we sensitive to what has the great potential of leading us astray from a pure devotion to Christ. No wonder we find ourselves with so many insecurities and intimacy issues! This is what happens when we take our focus off Christ and keep it on ourselves. While difficult, our solution is very simple. We must seek God and use His cleansing Word to re-establish this Godly purity in our lives. Eventually, we will all see Christ face to face. Oh, let us meet Him as pure virgins!
&nb sp; Unfortunately, as we are learning in Hosea, this pursuit of purity often brings about some good, Godly discipline. For us to be pure and holy, God must strip away all that defiles us, even though such nakedness can first be very painful. The story of Israel’s unfaithfulness provides us with an instructive example. The Israelites were so blinded by their sin they forgot their need for God. They sought other gods for their provisions and attempted to fulfill their lustful desires by engaging in pagan rituals. In order for Israel to be pure and holy, they again needed to realize their great need for God. Therefore, in His great love and mercy, God threatened to “strip her naked and make her as bare as on the day she was born; I will make her like a desert, turn her into a parched land, and slay her with thirst” (Hosea 1:3). How loving but, oh