Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament prophetic book of Hosea, and more specifically, is found in the third and fourth chapters of the book. “Then the Lord said to me, ‘Go again, love a woman who is loved by her husband, yet an adulteress, even as the Lord loves the sons of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love raisin cakes’” (Hosea 3:1). GO AGAIN! LOVE! These words are absolutely terrifying for the heart that has been broken and betrayed by one who was allowed to get close enough to it. These words fly straight in the face of all logic and common sense within that one who has found themselves being taken advantage of and hurt by another. Pause for a moment and consider the twin-fold reality which the Lord asked of Hosea, and allow the significance and weight of them pierce and penetrate your heart, your soul, and mind. These words present a tremendous challenge which many of us in our generation are unwilling to accept, for it requires a certain amount of vulnerability on our parts. The more I read the words of the Lord in the first verse of this chapter, the more I am convinced that it flies in the face of all hurt, all pain, all bitterness, all offense, all wounds, all scars, all bruises, and all unforgiveness that we possess within our heart. In the prophetic book of Ezekiel, we find the Lord declaring to the prophet that he was going to take from him the desire of his eyes, and the very next day, the Lord took Ezekiel’s wife from him. In the process of the Lord taking Ezekiel’s wife from him, He gave him a very specific instruction and command—the command not to mourn or grieve for his wife. Imagine losing your wife suddenly and tragically, and then on top of the searing and painful loss, you are instructed by the Lord to abstain and refrain from mourning, from grieving and weeping over such loss.
When you consider the situations of Hosea and Ezekiel, you will find tremendous truth and application. The Lord deliberately and intentionally took from Ezekiel his wife, and the Lord deliberately and intentionally instructed Hosea to marry a woman of harlotry. The Lord instructed the prophet Hosea to take as his wife a promiscuous and adulterous woman—knowing full well that she would neither remain faithful, nor committed to him. Whereas in the case of Ezekiel, the Lord took from him his wife, of whom he never saw again, in the case of the prophet Hosea, Gomer would walk out on, abandon, and reject Hosea and their three children. Hosea took Gomer as his wife—knowing that she was an adulterous, promiscuous and unfaithful woman—and eventually the day came when the hammer came down and the ball dropped, and Gomer was gone. Eventually the day came when Gomer was gone, and Hosea was left with their three children in the southern kingdom of Judah. Oh, I can’t help but wonder how long it had been since Gomer had left Hosea and their three children. In the second verse of the first chapter, we find Hosea being instructed to go and take for himself a wife of whoredom, and to have children of whoredom. In the first verse of the third chapter, the prophet Hosea is instructed to “Go again,” and not just to “Go again,” but to “love” a woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress. When I read the first verse of this chapter, I can’t help but wonder where Gomer was when the prophet Hosea found her. How long did it take the prophet Hosea before he finally found Gomer? What was it like when he finally did find her? Did he find her in the arms of another? Did he find her in the bed of another? Did he find her in the act of adultery—much like the woman was caught in the act of adultery during Jesus’ day. Oh, when I read the words recorded in the prophetic book of Hosea, I can’t help but be reminded of what we find in the New Testament book of the Gospel of John.
In the final verse of the seventh chapter, and continuing through to the eleventh verse of the following chapter, we find the account of the woman who was caught in the act of adultery. “The went each to his own house, but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning He came against to the Temple. All the people came to Him, and He sat down and taught them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman WHO HAD BEEN CAUGHT IN ADULTERY, and placing her in the midst they said to Him, Teacher, THIS WOMAN HAS BEEN CAUGHT IN THE ACT OF ADULTERY. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women.. So what do you say? This they said to test Him, that they might have some charge to bring against Him. Jesus bent down and wrote with His finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask Him, He stood up and said to them, Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her. And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before Him. Jesus stood up and said to her, Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you? She said, No one, Lord. And Jesus said, Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more” (John 7:53-8:11). Gomer was an adulterous woman, yet Hosea was instructed by the Lord to take her as his wife. Gomer was an adulterous woman, was loved by another man, and was a woman of harlotry, and yet Hosea was instructed by the Lord to go again and to love her. As if it wasn’t difficult enough for Hosea to take an adulterous and promiscuous woman for his wife, going again and loving her, knowing that she was an adulteress and was loved by another was perhaps much more difficult.
When I read the Lord’s instruction and command to Hosea in this third chapter, I can’t help but wonder if Hosea was actually willing to allow Gomer to remain in the arms of another man. I can’t help but wonder if Hosea might have known where Gomer was, and yet he was willing to allow her to remain there. Is it possible that Hosea not only knew that Gomer was an adulteress, but where she was, and with whom she was with, and there was nothing inside him that wanted to go after and pursue her? Is it possible that Hosea had given up on Gomer, and was willing to allow her to spend her days indulging in her sinful lusts and pleasures? The fact that Hosea was instructed to “Go again” suggests the powerful reality that he was to return to one who had betrayed his trust, his confidence, and his love. Hosea being instructed to “go again” is a powerful symbol and picture of returning to one who had inflicted a tremendous of hurt and pain within and upon your heart and soul. To “go again” means implies a deliberate pursuit of and returning to the one who was estranged—even when everything inside of you might want to resist and fight against it. Oh, I would dare say that for many of us, we would fight and resist the Lord’s command and instruction to return to that one who had so wounded, that one who had so betrayed, and that one who had so offended us. For many of us, we feel as though they neither deserve our trust, nor our respect, and most certainly not our love. The prophet Hosea wasn’t merely instructed to “Go again,” but he was also instructed to “love” as well. It’s one thing to go again to a woman who is loved by another man, and who is an adulteress, but it is something entirely different to love that person again. Through this particular passage in the prophetic book of Hosea, I can’t help but see a tremendous and powerful call in this generation to not only “go again” to those who may have wounded and hurt us, but to indeed “love” them.
Everything inside us might want to completely write off and disregard such individuals within our lives, yet the Spirit of the Lord is calling us to “go again”—to return to and pursue—to those who may have hurt, wounded, and betrayed us deeply. “Go again”—even though the hurt and pain is still fresh within your heart soul. “Go again”—even though the wounds and scars are still in the process of healing. “Go again”—even though you are still trying to recover from the initial shock of such betrayal against you. “Go again”—even though you feel the wound has been inflicted too deeply within your heart and soul. “Go again”—even though the feelings of anger, resentment, frustration, and aggravation are still fresh within your heart and soul. “Go again”—even though you cannot bear the thought of that person who so wounded you, much less be around them. “So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:23-24). “You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:43-48). “You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you” (Matthew 5:38-42).
“Go again” to the one who has slapped you on the right cheek. “Go again” to the one who has spit in your face. “Go again” to the one who would sue you and take your tunic. “Go again” to the one who has ridiculed and persecuted you. Hosea was instructed to go again, and to go again to a woman who was loved by another man, and who was an adulteress. What an absolutely incredible reality this truly is when you think about it, for Hosea was instructed to “go again”—to actively pursue and seek out one who was an adulteress, and one who had hurt, wounded and betrayed him deeply. I have to admit that reading these words aren’t easy to read and consider, for the prophet Hosea wasn’t merely instructed to “go again” and return to an adulteress, but he was instructed to “go again” and to “love a woman” who was loved by another, and who was an adulteress. “Go again and love”—even when you feel like there is no love left in your heart for such an individual. “Go again and love”—even though you might feel as though there is no love left within your heart. “Go again and love”—even when you are unsure if you will ever be able to love. “Go again and love”—even when neither the trust nor the respect you once had is present within your heart. “Go again and love”—even though you have erected walls around your heart and soul in order to prevent yourself from ever being hurt or betrayed again. If there is one thing we must recognize and understand, it’s that our “going again” and our “loving” one who has hurt, wounded and betrayed is the first step in the walls which we have built coming crashing down. “Go again and love”—even though you have said or done absolutely nothing wrong, and feel as though that person should come to you. “Go again and love”—even though are unsure how the other person will respond and react to your drawing near and coming to them. “Go again and love”—even when forgiveness hasn’t even found its way into your heart and soul. “Go again and love”—even when you are unsure if you will ever be able to trust and love again. “Go again and love”—even when you perceive that individual to be an enemy, and even an adversary of some sort. “Go again and love”—even though your heart might still be bleeding, and you soul might still be crushed, and your spirit might still be wounded within you.
If there is one thing the Gospel of John reveals, it’s that the Father and the Son seem to have a soft and tender spot within their hearts for adulteress’, whores and prostitutes. If you read the fourth chapter of the Gospel of John, you will find another instance of Jesus encountering a woman who was loose, promiscuous, and perhaps even adulterous in her lifestyle. “Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John (although Jesus Himself did not baptize, but only His disciples), He left Judea and departed again for Galilee. And He had to pass through Samaria. So He came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there; so Jesus, wearied as He was from His journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour. A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, Give me a drink. (For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to Him, How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria? (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, Give me a drink, you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water. The woman said to Him, Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock. Jesus said to her, Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life. The woman said to him, Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water. Jesus said to her, Go, call your husband, and come here. The woman answered him, I have no husband. Jesus said to her, You are right in saying, I have no husband; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true” (John 8:1-18).
You can’t read the Gospel of John and not see and understand very clearly the Father’s love for those with adulterous, unfaithful, and promiscuous hearts. Jesus needed to go through Samaria, for He needed to encounter this woman at the well—this adulterous and promiscuous woman who had given herself to multiple lovers. The Gospel of John is absolutely amazing, for within it, we not only find Jesus reaching out to the promiscuous and adulterous woman at the well in Samaria, but we also find Jesus driving away all those who would have condemned the woman who was caught in the act of adultery. Though the Lord abhors and detests adultery, fornication, immorality, harlotry and promiscuity, I believe with all my heart that there is a special and soft spot within Him for those who are in such a place. The Lord instructed the prophet Hosea to “go again and love” a woman who was loved by another man, and who was an adulteress. In other words, the Lord was providing a powerful picture about a faithful husband going out and pursuing his unfaithful and faithless bride. Through Hosea, the Lord was demonstrating the powerful reality of a loving husband going out and seeking his adulterous wife who was now loved by another man. HOSEA, GO GET YOUR WIFE BACK! HOSEA, GO GET YOUR BRIDE BACK!
It’s worth noting that Hosea was instructed by the Lord to go again and love a woman who was loved by another man, and who was an adulteress, but such an act actually cost him. “So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a lethech of barley.” The Lord instructed the prophet Hosea to go again and love a woman who was loved by another man, yet I would dare say that Hosea didn’t think that such an act would cost him anything. There is a part of me that wonders if Hosea would have paid whatever price was asked for and needed in order to redeem his faithless bride. Oh, how much are you willing to pay in order that you might obey the command of the Lord to “go again and love” another who was unfaithful, and one who had hurt, wounded and betrayed you. Oh that we would recognize and understand that going again and loving those who have hurt, wounded and betrayed us will not come cheap, and will undoubtedly cost us something. When the Father wanted to redeem fallen humanity, He sent His Son into the earth to “go again and love” a woman who had been unfaithful and promiscuous before Him. As I am sitting here this evening, I feel very strongly that the Spirit of the Lord is furiously going after the adulterous and promiscuous harlots and whores within the earth. I am convinced that the Spirit of Jesus the Christ is furiously pursuing and seeking after an unfaithful and adulterous bride who has left, abandoned and forsaken her first love. When I read the words of the Lord to Hosea—to go again and love a woman who is loved by another man—I can’t help but think of the words of Jesus to the Ephesian congregation in the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, and how they had left their first love. I believe with all my heart that the Spirit of Christ is moving throughout the earth seeking and searching for the prodigal and unfaithful whores in the land. In these Last Days, the Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is calling out to all those who have given themselves to spiritual adultery and harlotry.
Just as the Lord instructed the prophet Hosea to go again and love a woman who was loved by another man and is an adulteress, so too would the Lord go after and go again to love a woman who was loved by another, and who was an adulteress. In fact, in the same verse, the Lord declares and professes to Hosea His love for the children of Israel—even though they turn to other gods and love cakes of raisins. Hosea was to go again and love an adulterous woman who was loved by another, and the Lord Himself would go again and love an adulterous woman who had given herself to many other lovers. I find it absolutely incredible that Jesus ministered to the promiscuous and adulterous woman at the well in Samaria, and that He silenced the critics and condemners of the woman caught in adultery, for it’s as if through His life the Father was putting on display His fervent and unconditional love for those who had been “caught in the act,” and those who had given themselves to multiple lovers. The Lord is moving to and fro throughout the earth in order to go again and love those who are unfaithful, promiscuous and adulterous, and He is calling upon us to go and do likewise. How dare we think or assume that we cannot, or perhaps even should not go again and love those who have been unfaithful, for the Lord Himself went after and loved us. Let us not forget that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us—despite our many and flagrant transgression and rebellions. Oh, are you willing to go again and love those who have betrayed, hurt and wounded you? Are you willing to go again and love those who have caused you great heartache and pain? Are you willing to give whatever it costs in oder to go again and love those whom you may feel as though you are unable to love, trust, respect, and especially forgive. Let us take and learn from the instruction given to the prophet Hosea, and let us understand that the Lord is willing to run after, to chase, and to pursue the adulterous, promiscuous and unfaithful hearts in this generation. Let us hear what the Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is speaking to us, and let us walk in obedience to His divine commands spoken to us.
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