“God Wants Our Love”

Hosea 2:2 – 3:5

We are currently reading through the book of Hosea. A prophet of God for the people of Israel. Hosea was prophesying about 200 years after Israel had broken off from Southern Judah, you can read about their separation in 1 Kings chapter 12. Like most prophets, Hosea had a declaration of doom and gloom. Which was a direct result of bad choices. 

The first three chapters of Hosea tell us about Hosea’s broken marriage with Gomer. Last week, in chapter one we read that God told Hosea to marry Gomer despite her prostitution and unfaithfulness. God did this to provide a prophetic symbol of Israel’s relationship with God. Israel repeatedly rebelled, and was unfaithful and Hosea was called to remind them that their choices would result in severe consequences. 

However, as we continue to read in Hosea we will discover that God’s love and mercy was more powerful than Israel’s sin. 

The first three chapters bring forward the main ideas of the rest of the book. 

  • Israel has again rebelled.
  • Their rebellion brought severe consequences.
  • BUT…. God’s love and mercy were more powerful than Israel’s sin. 

Step forward to 2021 – 

How many of you have heard or maybe even said, 

“The world is in a terrible mess. Is it coming to an end?”

Where and what is God’s church doing today? 

We are definitely divided. 

Have we been unfaithful? 

You bet. 

Individually, can we see a direct correlation? 

Can we see the gods we have placed before the God Almighty, who requires solidarity?


Is there an answer? 

You bet. 

Hosea’s message is for us today,

God wants our love. 

And like the story of Israel we too have hope.

The second chapter of Hosea, verse 2, begins with God dealing with Israel’s sin. He sets the charges against Israel. Hosea uses poetry to paint the picture of Israel’s broken relationship with God.

In verse 3, Hosea warns Israel that if she continues in her harlot-like ways, she should prepare to be judged. The relationship was broken, but her blessings could continue if she would stop and repent. 

Verses 4-5 tell us that Israel tried to justify her harlotry. In this poem, Israel represents the unfaithful wife, the individual people of Israel represent her children. It was the individuals who would experience God’s judgement. 

Israel’s choice? She looked at all the “good” things she seemed to receive from her sin, the bread and water, wool and linen, and it seemed to her to be a good deal. That’s how deception works. People generally don’t choose to do things that look “bad,” there is generally some sort of “good” attached. How often do we accept “good” in place of what God gives which is “better?”

Verses 6-8 reveal how God will draw Israel back to Him.

He began with hedges with thorns. Ouch! Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn’t. In college, I was studying landscape design. Our college had recently put in some new buildings and walkways. They asked the landscape classes to provide possible landscape designs. In the meantime, they attempted to keep students on the paths. Here was their conundrum. The walkways were paved in circles and the students chose to walk straight across the diameter of the circle rather than go around. Hello! The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. So, the college grounds crew thought they could get the coeds back on the paved circle by planting a hedge perpendicular to the path the students had created, blocking the path, and the hedge had 2-inch thorns. Can you guess what happened? It wasn’t long before there was a crushed path through the thorned bush. 

The lesson learned in my landscape class was to wait to build sidewalks of any kind until you see the paths that people make. The lesson learned in life, although God may place thorny hedges for our benefit, we often endure the pain and plow right through them.  

Humans don’t like thorny hedges. We complain to God as if we think God is against us because we cut through the bushes and get hurt by them. When in actuality, it is one of the sweetest expressions of God’s love.  

In verse 7, the thorny hedges have worked, the grass looks greener on the other side, until God exposes the truth. Then we are ready to return to our first husband, the Lord. 

Verse 8 demonstrates just how great and unselfish God’s love was to Israel. Even when Israel went after other gods, it was the God of Israel who kept providing for her, and she didn’t even recognize it. 

Check point. Stop right now and consider how well we are being provided for and how often we take this for granted? 

God provided for Israel and Israel prepared these provisions for Baal. In this situation, Hosea provided for Gomer and she spent it on her adulterous lovers.

Commentator David Guzik puts it like this,

 When Hosea provided for Gomer, she spent it on her adulterous lovers. It’s as if Hosea went to the house of Gomer’s lover, where she lived apart from her husband and in adultery. 

He knew that this scoundrel of a man couldn’t provide for Gomer, and that she lived in poverty and rags. Hosea knocked at the door. He spoke to the man who answered, “Are you the man living with Gomer?” The man wondered what business it was of Hosea’s; then he revealed: “I’m Hosea, her husband. I’ve brought these groceries and money so she can be provided for.” When Hosea left, Gomer and her lover must have thought he was a fool. What a great dinner they had together with the food Hosea brought! But this is how the Lord loves us, lavishing blessings on us even when we are worshipping idols, providing us with blessings we waste on other gods.

The principle to remember is that whatever we give to an idol; time, money, energy, etc. we have received from God. God gave grain to Israel which she gave as a sacrifice to Baal. 

Eventually, God’s response was to remove the provision in hopes that Israel would return to Him. He took away Israel’s prosperity. She began to experience the true reality of her choices. Yet, even then, there was hope. 

God is the God of second chances. 

In verses 14 & 15, God allowed Israel to feel discomfort in hopes that she would listen to God’s voice once again. We read that He would “allure” her back to Himself. Interesting word “allure.” Its meaning is, “the quality of being powerfully and mysteriously attractive or fascinating.” God had every type of power available to Him to bring back Israel. He could “draw her back to Him,” or “drive her back,” or “drag her back,” or even “force her back.” But that is not what God is like. His choice of power was that of the allurement of love, and tender speech. 

She would get her vineyards back, just as it happened in the Valley of Achor, which means the Valley of Trouble, where Achan’s sin was discovered and judged in Joshua 7:26. This would be restored to a “door of hope.” 

No sin is too great, that God can not redeem. Israel’s response would be that of singing, where the passing pleasures of sin were forgotten and God’s true pleasures were restored. Hosea continues in his poem to describe the time, which God looks forward to, when He will be restored to His people. 

Check point – place into context exactly what type of love God has for His people. Initially He established a covenant with them at Mt. Sinai. They entered into that relationship, one described here like that of husband and wife. 

However, the bride, Israel, places other gods before God. They chose to behave like the other nations around them. They experienced the consequences of their actions. 

BUT… with God…. 

there is always HOPE, 

for future restoration. 

God wants us to call Himself “Husband,” not “master.” He wants an intimate love-relationship, not a fear-based, obedience-focussed relationship with His people. 

In verse 17, we read that the names of Baals will be taken from her mouth. In Hebrew, the name “Baal” comes from the word “Master,” the two words sound alike. The idols of the nations wanted a “master-slave” relationship, but God wanted a love-based, commitment-based, relationship. Verse 19, says God wants this relationship to be restored forever. 

When we are in the husband/wife relationship, Hosea tells us in verses 21-23, that blessings will also be restored. The earth will provide blessings with grain, with new wine and with oil. Jesus spoke of this principle in Matthew 6:33, 

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

Hosea recalls the names of his children and how God turns their negative meanings into positive meanings. Jezreel, which means “scattered,” becomes “sowing;” Lo-Ruhamah, meaning “No Mercy,” and Lo-Ammi, meaning “Not My People,” were originally given as markers of judgement, were transformed into marks of restoration. 

Those restored will say, “You are my God!” The Lord chooses a relationship with His creation that is full of warmth and love. Completely opposite to what the world requires from us. Think about it: Which one of the pagan gods of the nations ever wanted the “love” of their followers? They could care less. They want our fear, our obedience, our slave-like sacrifice and devotion. Not so the true God, the living God. He wants our love. Not a love that has been coerced, but one that is freely given and able to enjoy a relationship with Him. 

In Chapter 3 we read how Hosea was called to reconcile with his wayward wife, Gomez. He bought her back. We read the children of Israel would return and seek the Lord their God, in the latter days. We are in the latter days. Any individual right now can enjoy a restored relationship by turning and accepting the free gift of salvation. 

Again I read from the commentary of Hosea by David Guzik, “God gives to [hu]man[s] the trees of the forest and the iron in the ground. He gives [hu]man[s] the brains to make an axe and nails from the iron, and the energy to cut down the tree, the skill to fashion the wood into beams. God gives [hu]man[s] the cleverness to make a handle from the wood, and head from the iron, and combine it into an effective hammer. Then [hu]man[s] take[s] the beams, the nails, and the hammer and [t]he[y] nail[s] God to the cross – where God willingly stretched out His arms, dying on the cross to take the guilt and penalty [hu]man[‘s] sin deserved – and to make a new, restored relationship between God and [hu]man[s] possible.” 

God wants our love.

Let’s pray.