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faithfulIn Hosea 3:3-4 then we see what happens, we see the Purification of Gomer, and Israel:

“3 And I said to her, ‘You shall stay with me many days; you shall not play the harlot, nor shall you have a man—so, too, will I be toward you.’ 4 For the children of Israel shall abide many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar, without ephod or teraphim.”

Hosea went to the auction, won the bidding, and brought Gomer home where he tells her she is to be his exclusively. No more unfaithfulness. No return to harlotry. But this is not because he owns her and can make such a demand, because he says he will hold himself to the same standard of expected behavior. She is his, and he is hers. You be faithful, he tells her, and he will be faithful, too. You be my wife, which you are. And I will be your husband, which I am. He restores the relationship to where it should be within the marriage covenant. In fact, this demand for exclusivity and faithfulness, is this not simply Hosea calling them both back to their wedding vows? She had already made this promise and placed this demand on herself when she first became his wife, so he is not putting a new demand on her, he is simply restoring the relationship to where it should have been all along. That is grace!

Jeremiah 31:33 reminds us that we are God’s through Christ, belonging exclusively to Him, restored to Him by a New Covenant. “But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” Just as Hosea will be Gomer’s husband, God says that He will be our God. Bound by His Word, His Oath, His Covenant….His blood!

Hebrews 8:10 reiterates this for us, “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”

He is our God and we are His people. There we find our security.

Hosea calls Gomer to a life of faithfulness. He has already proven himself to be faithful just as God is faithful. 1 Corinthians 1:9 says, “God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” And now he expects faithfulness from her as God does from us. In 1 Corinthians 4:2 Paul writes, “Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.” God expects us to be faithful.

Some might reply and ask, “Does God expect us to be perfect? Because we know we are not perfect.” And yet He does! We are told to be perfect and to be holy. He demands something that is for us impossible on our own, but it is a demand. Let us not cheapen grace or dilute His power by thinking that because we can’t do something on our own that therefore it cannot be done. He can and will conform us to the image of His Son and we must persevere and pursue holiness.

2 Timothy 2:13 reminds us, “If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.”

We also see here that Hosea tells Gomer to be holy. She is to be set apart to him, and him to her. This is holiness. 1 Peter 1:13-16, quoting the Book of Leviticus, 13 Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; 15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”

This glorious plan of redemption and salvation was put into motion so that we who were unholy can be made holy and by being like God we can please and glorify Him! What grace! What mercy! What power! To make you and to make me HOLY!

Verse 4 here tells us, “For the children of Israel shall abide many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar, without ephod or teraphim.” This takes us back to the prophecy. He tells the people of Israel that they will be for a time without a king and without a sacrificial system. This is listed this was for 2 reasons. First God is saying clearly that the people are going to be taken into captivity. They are going to be judged and they are not going to exist as a nation for a while. He refers to a future return, but for now they are going to disappear as a nation. But notice something else here also. What we see in verse 4 is that by God judging His people, He is removing everything that led them into sin.

He says you will be for a while without king or prince. How many times have we seen that it was the kings and rulers who lead the people into sin? There will come a time when there will be no rulers in Israel to lead them after sin and idols. And when we think about the sacrifices and sacred pillars, these were the high places, the places of illegitimate worship. These were the places men worshipped idols or worshipped God in a manner in which He disapproved. This was the altar with the golden calf at Bethel and Beersheba serving as substitutes for the Temple at Jerusalem. God was removing them from these places.

It also says He will remove the ephod and teraphim. The ephod was used by the priest in the Temple to determine the will of God. And yet they mixed the worship of God with the worship of idols and corrupted worship altogether, so the means of determining God’s will was going to be removed, eventually by the destruction of the Temple and the priesthood there was no way to further compound these sins of false worship.

The teraphim is a reference to household idols, a household shrine to false gods. We remember that Rachel stole the household idols from her father Laban’s house when she left with Jacob. These idols would no longer be there to “protect” the people or the land or their houses. These false sinful practices would be forcibly removed as the people were forcibly removed from the land.

Josiah dealt with these same things in Judah to the south. We read in 2 Kings 23:24, “Moreover Josiah put away those who consulted mediums and spiritists, the household gods and idols, all the abominations that were seen in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, that he might perform the words of the law which were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the Lord.” And we have the warning in Zechariah 10:2, “For the idols speak delusion; the diviners envision lies, and tell false dreams; they comfort in vain. Therefore the people wend their way like sheep; they are in trouble because there is no shepherd.” God in His judgment took the people away for their sin and from their sin.

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