I want to look with you today at a text from the prophet Hosea, and let's look at the prequel (Hosea 1):
2 When the Lord first spoke to Hosea, he told him, "Go and marry a harlot. With her you shall beget harlot children. This is an emblem of the fact that the land has become a prostitute: it has broken its covenant with me and has fallen away from the Lord." 3 Then Hosea married Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim. She became pregnant and gave Hosea a son. 4 And the Lord said to him, "Name the child Jezreel, for soon I will punish the descendants of Jehu because of the blood guilt that Jehu committed in Jezreel. Then I will also put an end to the kingship of the house of Israel. 5 On that day I will break the military power of Israel in the Valley of Jezreel." 6 For the second time Gomer became pregnant. This time she gave birth to a daughter. The Lord said to Hosea, "Name your daughter Lo-Ruhama. For I will no longer have mercy on my people Israel. and I will no longer forgive their iniquity. 7 Instead, I will show mercy to the people of Judah and save them. I myself, the Lord their God, will give them salvation. It will not be won by their bows or their weapons; nor by war, war horses, nor mounted soldiers." 8 After Gomer had weaned her daughter Lo-ruhamah, she became pregnant again and gave birth to a son. 9 And the Lord said, "Name him Lo-ammi. For you are not my people and I will no longer be there for you."
(Jezreel: God plants; Lo-Ruhama: non-mercy; Lo-Ammi: not-my-people)
Hosea probably lives in the northern kingdom of Israel, for all his prophecies are addressed to the inhabitants of the northern kingdom. He had been given a difficult lot by God, he was to marry a harlot. And this was not about a woman with a difficult past, but this woman continued to work as a harlot, as we will see in chapter 2.
In the case of the first child it still says explicitly "gave Hosea a son", whereas in the case of the other children it only mentions the birth and no longer Hosea. and no longer mentions Hosea. Hosea could not even be sure that her children were his, given her lifestyle.
That was a hard lot that God put him through.
God announces many things about the names of the children.
Jezreel" heralds the end of the current Israelite royal dynasty, which was founded by Jehu. Actually, Jehu implemented much of what God wanted, but he overshot the mark by far and killed many people. killed. In addition, he and his sons later turned Israel away from God again.
Therefore, God's mercy came to an end here, as the name of Hosea's daughter "Lo-Ruhama" indicates: non-mercy. Interestingly, however, God announces mercy for the southern kingdom "Judah". However, Judah ends many years later just like Israel.
And then there is "Lo-Ammi": Not my people! This is the statement: I will no longer be there for you.
But this statement is not for eternity, because in the 2nd chapter of Hosea (V1-3) God announces for the distant future:
So it will be 'God plants', 'Mercy' and 'My people'. But this is the future.
Then God speaks about the present.
Fornication is a disgrace, isn't it?
By the way, it is not a question of condemning today's prostitutes as evil people. It's more a case of blaming the clients. If there was no demand, there would be no supply.
But to judge this trade as wrong, harmful and inhumane is entirely biblical and I believe that this condemnation is universally correct.
There are voices that want to see prostitution as a normal profession, e.g. in order to clarify the vague legal situation for prostitutes. for prostitutes. I find this really scary, because if prostitution becomes a normal profession, one can then also be referred to this "profession" by the can you be referred to this "profession" by the employment office? Do you then have to take part in a further training measure because otherwise your Hartz 4 would be reduced? Let's hope it never comes to that.
In other countries there is indeed slum prostitution, where people prostitute themselves in order not to starve: First comes the food and then comes morality (Bert Brecht, Threepenny Opera).
The right way, of course, is not to condemn such people, but to create a society where people are no longer destitute. people are no longer destitute.
But prostitution itself is not really the issue here, rather the real prostitution of Hosea's wife is a symbol for the spirituality of the world. is a symbol for the spiritual prostitution of Israel at that time. And for us today, it is now time to look at our lives, whether we, you and I, also have spiritual prostitution.
What is that now? At that time it was common for the Israelites to worship other gods besides God. The text mentions the cult of Baal. They asked Baal for help, they gave money and goods to the cult, because the running of the temple and the provision of the priests cost a lot. And they even sacrificed children.
We don't usually have another religion in our lives today like the Baal cult was in ancient Israel.
But what then is spiritual prostitution for us today? This question is quite central, so that this text can be interpreted for our lives today.
To approach this question, let us first look at what the prostitute, Hosea's wife, expected from her prostitution in the first place. expected from her prostitution. She says in v.7b:
So the first thing is the satisfaction of basic needs. She also got this from her husband, or in living with her husband they would have they would have earned all this together. Usually, the Israelites always had a small farm as well. agriculture, and most of them also produced and sold handicraft products. Proverbs 31:10-31 describes describes this. One should not make the mistake of transferring the role model "working man" and "pure housewife" so easily to the Bible. but here in the picture the focus is on her husband providing for all her basic needs. basic needs and - from a purely material point of view - prostitution was not necessary. And not only that, she also got much more, gold and silver.
She didn't realise that, or didn't want to realise it.
What basic needs do we have, and where do we think that God cannot provide for them?
Food, drink, clothing? As it says in Matthew 6:24-25;
For us today, money, mammon, is certainly a possible competitor for God. But how does one serve mammon? Working, earning money, dealing with one's own finances is apparently not in itself the problem, for we know from other biblical passages that this also leads to life. from other passages in the Bible that this is also part of the Christian life.
The problem is worrying and solving worries by means of money alone, because this leaves God out ( Matthew 6:31-34; NGÜ):
This is not about being lazy, blue-eyed, or having roasted doves fly into your mouth, but it is about It is a matter of being sure that God knows our needs and will show and work ways to meet them.
And that also means that God's kingdom and his righteousness - which of course means Jesus Christ - are our first priority. Jesus Christ - come first for us. We have received so much from God, gifts, talents, possibilities, and we don't want to use that for him and his kingdom? for him and his kingdom?
But not only money is a possible competition for God. Even things that are good in themselves, such as recognition, relationships, etc., can become an idol. can become an idol if you expect them to fulfil all your needs and in doing so you block out God.
Those who seek honour only for themselves and want to adorn themselves with God's feathers are going astray. Also some relationships, e.g. Some relationships, e.g. adulterous or illegitimate sexual relationships, do not work with God in the long run.
It is difficult to make general statements here for all of us, because it is not easy to see from the outside if whether someone is prostituting himself spiritually for mammon or something else. But Jesus loves each one of us and will certainly make that make that clear to us personally.
In the text from earlier, Hosea 2:14, it also says that the prostitute also received vineyards and orchards from her suitors. This goes beyond basic needs and wine is often a symbol of joy in the Bible.
For example, with a lot of money you can do a lot of things that would otherwise not be possible. For example, I wouldn't mind the hobby of sailing around the world in my own yacht. yacht around the world. But does that satisfy the deeper need for happiness in life? Perhaps one mutates into an ass who lives according to the motto: "Your poverty pisses me off"?
God also says that he will ravage the vineyards and orchards of the suitors. Joy and fulfilment past God is nothing really permanent. The deep questions and longings, the eternity in the heart described in Ecclesiastes 3:11, will not be satisfied.
DesertHow does one come back to God now?
"I will lead her into the desert." Let's watch a film about this (asharen.avi). (Comment while playing).
The desert: it is sandy, dry and lonely. There are storms that change everything beyond recognition.
Sometimes you have to think about your life alone to realise where you stand. And then you realise that you can't or don't want to talk about it with anyone. Proverbs 14:10 suggests this (NL):
You don't really enjoy everything any more, life feels dry somehow.
God wants to show us the right way out, he wants to speak to our heart. And most importantly, he wants to speak kindly to us. He means well with us.
Maybe he will send people who understand us, maybe our eyes will open when we read the Bible, or when we hear a sermon, or read a book, or hear a song that speaks to us.
I don't know how long one has to be in the desert, nor does everything that feels like desert have to be wrought by God. At this point it is again difficult to make general statements. Do we want to hear the friendly talk? Do we close ourselves off or open ourselves up? This is a personal question for everyone, because God's God's address can be very individual.
God continues with Israel in the book of Hosea like this (v.18-25)
There will be peace, certainty of God's nearness, the seductive power of idols will wane and there will be fulfilment and joy. there will be.
Jesus Christ expresses it this way in John 4:14:
- Spiritual prostitution: running after one or more idols in parallel to God. One no longer seeks the fulfilment of one's needs no longer with God, but elsewhere, e.g. with money. Trust in God is gone.
- Even apparent fulfilment through idols is not permanent.
- God does not take this lying down and leads us into the wilderness, where he speaks kindly to us.
- He promises peace, certainty, fulfilment and joy.