“The Lord gave this message to Hosea son of Beeri during the years when Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah were kings of Judah, and Jeroboam son of Jehoash was king of Israel. When the Lord first began speaking to Israel through Hosea, he said to him, “Go and marry a prostitute, so that some of her children will be conceived in prostitution. This will illustrate how Israel has acted like a prostitute by turning against the Lord and worshiping other gods.””Hosea 1:1-2 NLT
  Right off God wants us to know the timeline of Judah and Israel, the promise land of the Israelites. The kings listed above ruled during 769 B.C and 687 B.C. A time when the Israelites worshiped Baal, two gold calves, and many other pagan gods. (Read 2 King 15-20 and Chronicles 26-32 if you would like more information on the kings during Hosea’s prophetic life.)
Gomer represents God’s chosen people, you and I.Hosea represents the marriage covenant God and Christ have with us and their unwavering, steadfast love for their bride. Three nuggets of wisdom God wants us to learn from these two passages. 
1.) God has unconditional love for us!  First I want to give God His rightful praise…. God saw what His people were doing and He still chased after them. The Israelites were sacrificing their own children to pagan gods. They were also in daily practice of performing group sexual rituals in the temples to arouse the gods to earn their favor. Imagine a group of people in daily participation of prostitution and murder, yet our merciful God still chased after their hearts. This unravels me. Awaken your soul to the reality that God wants you as you are. There is nothing too big that you have done that God can’t pull you out of. You don’t have to earn His favor or love. It is gift to you and I with no strings attached. 
What would your day look like if you fully lived in a love like this?_________________________________________
Truly knowing that God chases after your heart relentlessly. He and his angels go to battle for your soul every day. He wants nothing but good for you. It’s this world that holds us back and keeps us down. Our prayer is that through the study of Hosea you can break free from the false idols, manipulation, and sacrificing. But first we have to identify the ugly truth of our flesh.
2.) The Israelites worshiped false idols and so do we  Secondly, the Israelites created idols to worship in hope that they would care for their basic needs. Food, fertility, health, wealth, etc. The Israelites did not trust that God would provide and protect them as He did for the 40 years they wondering in the dessert.-They sought after false idols to earn approval.-They believed in manipulating the pagan gods to get what they wanted.-They sacrificed their children.
Now let’s unwrap these three…
Seeking approval from false idols  False idols are who we deem to be important or put on a pedestal. Who other than God are you searching approval from?____________________________________________________________ (Boss, husband, children, friends). False idols will never meet your expectations. They can not quench the God longing you have in your heart and soul. They will fail you every time. This will result in broken relationships, disappointment, and emptiness. And on we will go searching for the next empty idol that we put on a pedestal to gratify ourselves. It’s an endless cycle of abuse to both us and the poor soul we put as our idol.
God wants us to give Him back His throne. 
  When I owned the dance studio, I ran my business to please the parents and the students. I can remember in one example having conflict in my soul about participating in dance competition. I knew God did not want our studio to participate in competition but I was fearful of students leaving if I did not offer it. I made decisions based on fear instead of allowing God’s purpose to sustain the studio. I got burned out and saw no fruit in the students that participated in the competitions.  One of the definitions of prostitution is an unworthy use of talent or ability. I was using the dance talent and gift of teaching God gave me to earn others approval.  I could give so many example of my own attempt to try and please others but ending up empty handed and alone. Take time to journal through some of your false idols, people that you have put up on a pedestal. What would it look like if we put God in His rightful place in our lives? Relationship would be redeemed, self pride would be striped way, and we could rest in the fullness of God’s ability to sustain us.

Manipulating your false idols  We must allow God to cut off the dead branch of manipulation. It is deeply rooted in all of us. I can already see my 3 year old manipulating a situation to get his way. Right now it’s cute and funny but left unattended, he will hurt others and develop self importance, pride.  When Brenon and I first got married I felt to urge to manipulate how we spent our money. If he wanted to buy something I quickly wanted something of equal value. Things had to be fare. Another one was if Brenon brought something to my attention that I needed to be aware of, like being quick to anger or procrastination, I would manipulate the argument and turn it on him. Even now when we are helping the other one grow in wisdom we have to be aware of our sinful nature of getting defensive and turn the tables.  Another way to look at manipulation…How many times have we tried to manipulate God with empty promises? God if you would just let me sleep through the night I would get up early to pray and worship. God if I got that job I could start tithing. Ugh, God compares this to prostitution. Humility is a beautiful thing. Being humble to Brenon or anyone else that loves me enough to invest in my soul deserves my selfless attention not a rebuking attitude. Being humble to go to God and be honest with your truth, time, and finances will be more gratifying than manipulating and putting the blame on God
After writing this portion of the study I was sensitive of the many ways I manipulate on a regular bases. I’m talking innocent little drips of manipulation. They were not even detected by my own flesh, but my soul was on high alert. Take time this week and pray for your soul to be awaken to the small ways we manipulate. 
Sacrificing to false idolsWhat are you sacrificing that God has giving you?  This hurts to say but I want to be honest… I sacrificed the stability of my child so I could grow the studio. Brenon worked from 7am-7pm and I worked 2pm-9pm, so my son got shuffled around and stayed on the road traveling with me the first 3 years of his life. This brought anxiety and fear to him. After closing the studio and being able to stay at home with him, he has blossomed into a different child. My heart breaks for the little boy he was becoming. I am so grateful God opened my eyes and that I was obedient to trust Him with our finances and future. I was taking the blessings God gave me (my son) and sacrificing him so I could win the approval of others and even God. Ouch that hurts. So I ask again, what is something God has given you that you might be sacrificing?____________________________________________________
  I share all this with you to help you see that we are not removed from idolatry and the worship of false gods. Just because we are not standing in a temple in front of a gold calve doesn’t mean we don’t participate in other forms of idolatry. The devil has developed with the ages as well. He is clever and he is the prince of lies. He is probably telling you lies he tells me, “but God called you to this job. You work is your ministry. Look at all the lives you are changing for the good. This will make your child tough. He will need thick skin to get through life and you are helping him to become independent.” We will be faced with manipulation, sacrifices, and winning earthly approval the rest of our lives. We will never overcome it, avoid it, or be free from it. Praise God for the story of Hosea! Christ married us knowing we would step out on Him yet he put His seal on us anyway. 

3.) Hosea obeyed without hesitation.  Lastly, let’s learn who Hosea son of Beeri was. It is important to study the meaning of names in the bible to have a deeper understanding of scripture. Beeri means a well or belonging to a fountain. One would say Beeri, Hosea’s father, was a deep well of wisdom and people came to him to draw from his wisdom and knowledge. Knowing the character of Hosea’s father helps us better understand the character of Hosea. Hosea was young in his prophetic walk with God meaning he was brought up studying God’s word and obeying Him. A lot was riding on his actions to be recognized as a Godly man. One would have to live in obedience of the commandments to be seen as holy and trustworthy of their prophetic visions. No where in scripture does it allow marriage to a whoredom. A woman of that character would be stoned and throne to the dogs to eat. But God called Hosea to marry Gomer and Hosea did not hesitate. He did not consider his worldly status or reputation. He went quickly and took Gomer as his wife, laid with her to conceive the marriage in God’s eyes and she became pregnant with Hosea’s son. 
-Hosea did no hesitate in God’s calling. -Hosea trusted more in God than his own understanding, reputation, or future-Hosea was faithful to God’s calling on his life. He lived it out loud and to the fullest no matter the circumstances.
 Hosea means help, God was going to us Hosea to help His people see the unconditional love He had for them. Gomer means complete. Gomer was complete in God as we are complete in Christ and need for nothing else. So the marriage of Gomer and Hosea means complete help. God is the full and complete help we need to get through our storms, our valleys, this walk of life here on earth no matter what we face. What calling has God placed on your life that you are unsure to follow through with? Starting a business? Closing a business? Moving? Ending a relationship? _________________________________________________________________

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