Exploring your Gifts day 3


STUDY

Hosea is one of the most shocking tales in all of Scripture: A prophet marries a whore. Despite his love and faithfulness to her, she cheats on him and returns to her life of prostitution. When she is shamefully offered up on the public auction block, God’s man buys her back.

Read Hosea 1:1-3:5.

The story is strikingly beautiful. Not just because of what it says about God’s people, but because of what it says about God. Despite being asked to do the unthinkable, Hosea never flinches at any point. From the altar, to the marriage bed, to the public square, to the auction block, Hosea’s love for Gomer was relentless and complete.

But suppose Hosea said no. He certainly had a lot to risk. Thankfully, Hosea expresses trust in God’s leadership instead of disappointment. At every point, Hosea chooses trust over despair.

We don’t know when Hosea assumed the role of prophet, or how long he was prophesying prior to marrying Gomer. But we can safely say that Hosea saw the need for reconciliation between sin-sick Israel and her God. God chose to deepen Hosea’s passion for reconciliation by having him live it.

THOUGHTS FOR LEADERS

Trusting God is actually more difficult than we might like to admit. We’ll heartily agree with God on what needs to get done, but we’ll rarely ask how He wants to use us. Many people trust God only as far as He validates their own plans and dreams.

You might have some ideas about where you’ll serve and how your ministry might look. But if God leads you someplace outside of your plan, it might feel like a bait-and-switch. One of the greatest postures you can develop as an emerging leader is to trust in the midst of seemingly confusing circumstances. Cultivate the discipline of trust and an understanding of your passion will follow.

QUESTIONS

Mother Teresa once said, “I have never had clarity; what I have always had is trust.” Which do you find yourself expressing more consistently to God – your need for clarity (“what do I do?”) or your expression of trust (“I’ll follow you”)?

Consider everything that Hosea stood to lose: his position, his sense of personal dignity, and the credibility of his ministry. What do you think allowed him to give those up? What would be the most unimaginable thing that God could ask of you?

1The word of the Lord that came unto Hosea, the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel.
2The beginning of the word of the Lord by Hosea. And the Lord said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the Lord.
3So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; which conceived, and bare him a son.
4And the Lord said unto him, Call his name Jezreel; for yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, and will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel.
5And it shall come to pass at that day, that I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel.
6And she conceived again, and bare a daughter. And God said unto him, Call her name Lo–ruhamah: for I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel; but I will utterly take them away.
7But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save them by the Lord their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen.
8Now when she had weaned Lo–ruhamah, she conceived, and bare a son.
9Then said God, Call his name Lo–ammi: for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God.
10Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God.
11Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land: for great shall be the day of Jezreel.
Hosea 1:1-11
1Say ye unto your brethren, Ammi; and to your sisters, Ru–hamah.
2Plead with your mother, plead: for she is not my wife, neither am I her husband: let her therefore put away her whoredoms out of her sight, and her adulteries from between her breasts;
3Lest I strip her naked, and set her as in the day that she was born, and make her as a wilderness, and set her like a dry land, and slay her with thirst.
4And I will not have mercy upon her children; for they be the children of whoredoms.
5For their mother hath played the harlot: she that conceived them hath done shamefully: for she said, I will go after my lovers, that give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, mine oil and my drink.
6Therefore, behold, I will hedge up thy way with thorns, and make a wall, that she shall not find her paths.
7And she shall follow after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them; and she shall seek them, but shall not find them: then shall she say, I will go and return to my first husband; for then was it better with me than now.
8For she did not know that I gave her corn, and wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold, which they prepared for Baal.
9Therefore will I return, and take away my corn in the time thereof, and my wine in the season thereof, and will recover my wool and my flax given to cover her nakedness.
10And now will I discover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers, and none shall deliver her out of mine hand.
11I will also cause all her mirth to cease, her feast days, her new moons, and her sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts.
12And I will destroy her vines and her fig trees, whereof she hath said, These are my rewards that my lovers have given me: and I will make them a forest, and the beasts of the field shall eat them.
13And I will visit upon her the days of Baalim, wherein she burned incense to them, and she decked herself with her earrings and her jewels, and she went after her lovers, and forgat me, saith the Lord.
14Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her.
15And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.
16And it shall be at that day, saith the Lord, that thou shalt call me Ishi; and shalt call me no more Baali.
17For I will take away the names of Baalim out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name.
18And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely.
19And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies.
20I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the Lord.
21And it shall come to pass in that day, I will hear, saith the Lord, I will hear the heavens, and they shall hear the earth;
22And the earth shall hear the corn, and the wine, and the oil; and they shall hear Jezreel.
23And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.
Hosea 2:1-23
1Then said the Lord unto me, Go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend, yet an adulteress, according to the love of the Lord toward the children of Israel, who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine.
2So I bought her to me for fifteen pieces of silver, and for an homer of barley, and an half homer of barley:
3And I said unto her, Thou shalt abide for me many days; thou shalt not play the harlot, and thou shalt not be for another man: so will I also be for thee.
4For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim:
5Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their king; and shall fear the Lord and his goodness in the latter days.
Hosea 3:1-5
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