Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I am Gomer. (and so are you!)

This past weekend I had the privilege of preaching at a friends wedding. It was a destination wedding, and so no one had a home church to go to. So since the wedding was on Sunday afternoon, the bride and groom organized a church service Sunday morning for all the wedding guests, and I was the preacher.

I chose Hosea 2:14 and following as my text, but generally spoke about three whole story of Hosea. It seems like an unlikely choice of text for a wedding weekend, particularly if you know how great the two people getting married are. Why talk about a guy who marries a prostitute? But as I promised them at the beginning, this story has a happy ending.

The little morality play acted out by Hosea, in marrying Gomer, then having kids, then her leaving, and Hosea going out to find her, and buy her back, and bring her home, is, of course, the story of the gospel. We are represented by Gomer. We are sinners, an unfaithful bunch of people, who offend our God, and leave him repeatedly, despite his love for us. We are hopeless. We need a Hosea. And the good news of the gospel is that we have a Hosea, one whose name literally means salvation. God is like the husband who though sinned against in the most grievous way, will still go out and find his lost wife. He hunts us down. He will not allow us to get our own way, when our way means leaving God to pursue lesser pleasures.

The story of Hosea is a representation, in the starkest way possible, of the grace of God in the gospel.

But, being that it was the day of a wedding, I also tried to make some application to our own marriages. Of course, in the story, one member of the marriage represents sinners, and the other represents God. In our own marriages we have a different problem. We are all Gomers. We are all sinners, who sin against the Lord, but also against one another. We are all prone to wander, and we all hurt our spouses, in profound, and personal ways from time to time. What are we to do if we are both Gomers?

First, of course, this means we all need salvation from the ultimate Hosea! But there is also help here for our marriages. If we are all Gomer, then we also all need to play the part of Hosea to one another. Hosea 3:1 records what God commanded Hosea, "Go, again, love your wife, though she is loved by another.... as the Lord loves Israel." Or, as I like to summarize it for our sakes, "Go, again, love your wife, although she is imperfect, does not live up to your expectations.... just like the Lord loves you."

And it doesn't just go one way, wives need to love their husbands in the same way, loving them again, although we are imperfect, just like the Lord loves us. In our marriages we have an opportunity in every day life to demonstrate the grace of God in the gospel to one another. By loving each other purely as an act of grace, even when we deserve something else, and to do so because that is the way that God has loved us.

Marriage is a small scale stage on which we can act out the drama of the gospel. We do this for the sake of the other, and for the sake of the watching world. So that they can see how we love each other. And maybe they will ask why in the world did you not consign him to the doghouse for the evening after what he did to you? And we will tell them that God has never consigned us to the doghouse. He loves us. Again.

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