Spiritual Adultery (Hosea)

Scripture: Hosea 2:23, Hosea 1:1-3
Date: 04/06/2013 
Lesson: 1
"Even amid spiritual adultery and divine judgment, God's love for His people never wavers."
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Welcome to Sacramento Central Seventh-day Adventist church in Sacramento, California in the United States of America. We are thrilled that you have joined us to study God's Word together as you faithfully do every week. And what a blessing it is that we can study together. Technology draws us completely together as a family and the planet doesn't seem so large. To start out with our service today we're going to sing #537 - 'He Leadeth Me' - this is one of my favorite hymns and it's also a favorite across the planet.

This comes as a request from Stuart and Ayleen in Australia, Elena and Rafael in Austria, Murial in California, Corneliu in France, Christopher in French Guiana, Matthew in Ghana, Bob and Paula in Idaho, Hezron in India - who's now from Brazil - he's a friend of mine, Jason in Jamaica, Eliud in Kenya, Rosemarie in Maryland, Howard and Diane in Mississippi, Rut in the Netherlands, and Kevin in the Netherlands Antilles, Noble and Eden in North Carolina, Chris, Jason, James, and Milkie in the Philippines, Malusi in South Africa, Jane in Texas, Eugene and Micai in Thailand, Nikolei in Trinidad Tobago, Sikhumbuzo and Thendral in the United Kingdom, - pardon me - and Lorika in Washington. Hymn #537 - 'He Leadeth Me' - and we'll sing all the verses - all four. That is my prayer and I hope that that is your prayer for each of you that are studying with us today and that are listening - that he is leading you by your hand and leading you faithfully to the very end. Amen. If you have a special hymn - a special request that you'd like to sing with us on a coming presentation, I invite you to go to our website.

It's very easy, it's 'saccentral.org' and there you just click on the 'contact us' link and we will sing any hymn in our hymnal with you and we love to do that. As you know, we are making our way through our hymnal and we are learning new hymns. And today our new hymn this morning is #45 - 'Open Now Thy Gates of Beauty' - and it actually does come from one person in Kenya and her name is Waithira. So she will be singing loud this morning in Kenya - Joyce. So we are going to sing all the verses of 'Open Now Thy Gates of Beauty'.

Let's pray. Our Father in Heaven, you truly are a God who answers prayers, as we just sang about. And we are just so grateful that we can come before you knowing that you are here with us and that you are ready to impart Your Words to change our lives from the inside out that we can move mountains for you. And so, lord, as each of us listens today and as each of us takes you into our heart again and again, we just ask you to fill us with your spirit, help us to be who you want us to be - that we show less and less of us and more and more of you. Be with Pastor Doug as he brings us our study, lord, and help us to just be changed to do our part to hasten your coming.

Lord, we know you're coming soon and we just ask that you will continue to guide us and direct us that we will be ready and that we can live with you forever. Praise the Lord. We are so excited. We can't wait to see you. We pray these things in your name, Jesus.

Amen. Our study today will be brought to us by Pastor Doug Batchelor, senior pastor here at Sacramento central. Morning. Thank you very much Jolyne and our musicians for leading us. It's exciting - it's fun to sing some of the new songs.

As I hear them I realize, 'Oh, I recognize that melody' - while I may not know the words and so it's encouraging to do that. I want to welcome those who might be joining us on television or satellite and those who are the extended members of the Sacramento central church. We're glad that we can study together again. This marks a new quarter for us here in this class. We're beginning a new study dealing with major lessons from the minor prophets.

We're going to be talking about the minor prophets in just a moment and it's called 'Seek the Lord and Live.' We have a free offer that goes along with our lesson on Hosea today and it's the Amazing Facts study guide talking about a love that transforms. We'll send this to you if you just call and ask for it. Ask for offer #710 when you call and the number is 866-788-3966. We'll send this to you - ask for offer #710 and it just talks about the love of God, which is one of the themes in our study today. Well, we're entering into our new quarter dealing with the minor prophets and maybe it'd be a good idea to do an introduction before we delve into the various characters in the minor prophets.

How many books in the Bible? 66 Books - 27 New Testament - how many in the Old Testament? 39 - Just - that's math - the rest of them. Yep - unless you're going to go into the apocryphal books. Of the Old Testament books - of the 39 Old Testament books, twelve of them are what you would call minor prophets. The minor prophets doesn't mean they're of lesser importance, they're called the minor prophets simply because they're traditionally shorter in their length. Now you might find more chapters in Zechariah than you would in Daniel, but when you add up the length of the chapters you'll find that Daniel is a longer book - just one ended up with more chapters.

And when you're thinking of the major prophets you would include, with Isaiah and Ezekiel - Jeremiah - you include Lamentations with Jeremiah and then you go on to Daniel. So you really have four authors there of the major prophets and then you've got the twelve minor prophets. In our quarterly, some lessons are going to spend two lessons dealing with different books of the minor prophets. Our first one today on Hosea, that'll be covered over two presentations. I want to be here.

I've got to look at my schedule - I want to be here when we do Jonah - that is my favorite book of the minor prophets. But even if you go back 190 years, it was pretty well accepted - the order that the minor prophets are listed in the Bibles that you hold in your hands today - and then even more recently than that were the dead sea scrolls dating 150 years BC - the dead sea scrolls also align the minor prophet books the way that we have them in our Bibles today. So it's a pretty ancient grouping of the prophetic books. Someone once divided those twelve minor prophets in two ways. It seemed like Hosea through Micah is raising the questions of iniquity and Nahum through Malachi are proposing resolutions.

And so there's a lot of interesting things we can learn as we study just the grouping of the minor prophets there, but I want to delve right into Hosea. Now Hosea would be the first in this book - it follows Daniel in your Bibles - you may want to turn there right now. Matter of fact, I'm going to have someone read the first verse of Hosea - Hosea 1:1 - and did someone get that slip of paper? Maybe not - maybe I did that after I made out the slips. Would you like to read that? Alright, let's get you a microphone. Where are the microphones? Do we have microphones today? Alright, let's bring one over here - I don't see one on that side - we're going to have you walk right across in front of the cameras.

Hold your hand up Manjeet. In a moment we'll have you read Hosea 1:1 and while we're doing that - the time period for Hosea is about 790 to 786 BC and who knows what his name means? His name means salvation - well, very much like the name of Jesus. You realize that Jesus' name, said in the original language, was like the name of Joshua or Yeshua, which is very similar to Hosea and it means 'salvation'. Jesus' name is 'God is Savior.' It's very similar, so he has a name something like the name of Christ. Alright, go ahead, read the first verse for us.

Hosea verse 1, "The word of the Lord that came to 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." Alright, so Hosea really - he is one of the only minor prophets that hails from the northern kingdom. Now if you know your Bible you know there was a civil war shortly after Solomon's time and the Kingdom of Israel split. For much of the time they were at war with each other. They started to reconcile during the time of Ahab and Jehoshaphat - it wasn't really a good idea for them to get too friendly - that didn't end well either. But otherwise they were split and you had the Levites - and many of the prophets from the southern kingdom were from the priestly families - you have the Levites in the southern kingdom and that's where Judea was and Jerusalem was the capital.

The northern kingdom they made the capital samaria. Hosea is one of the prophets from the northern kingdom. Israel, because of their unfaithfulness - and when I say Israel, I'm talking about both northern and southern kingdom - were conquered and carried off to captivity. The ten northern tribes were first to be conquered. They got into idolatry first - they were carried off in captivity by Assyria.

A few years later, following the time of King Josiah, the southern kingdom was captured by the Babylonians and they were carried off. So it's interesting, both kingdoms suffered judgment. Hosea is a prophet from the north. He prophesied for several years, like I said, from to 768 you've got - it names the Kings from the southern kingdom and the Kings from the northern kingdom. The southern kingdom Kings that are listed here are Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah.

By the way, that's synonymous with the time of Isaiah. He was also prophesying during that time and then the King of the north would be Jereboam the second - while he was up there. Now he's given a strange command. If you're in the book of Hosea, look at verses 2 and 3 in the first chapter. We're going to spend quite a bit of time on this because you have to take that time to get your mind wrapped around it.

"When the Lord" - Hosea chapter, verse 2 - "When the Lord began to speak by Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea: 'Go, take yourself a wife'" - well, that's okay. God says it's not good for man to be alone. But then you keep reading - it's a little different - "'Go take yourself a wife of harlotry and children of harlotry, for the land has committed great harlotry'" - three times in the verse - harlotry, harlotry, harlotry - "'by departing from the Lord.' So he went and took Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son." Now that's a strange command. Why would a prophet of God be commanded - why would the Lord tell a prophet of God to go and to take a woman of ill repute as his wife? I mean, doesn't that go against what he typically told people to look for in a spouse? Aren't those reasons to go away from a husband or a wife? Why would you pick one with that criteria? Well, this is a difficult subject, but sometimes God asks the prophets to act out in their lives something in 3D to illustrate - they did not have video and DVD back then and he would sometimes have them recreate - dramatize in their lives a lesson. And God was trying to illustrate for them how he felt when the church - his bride - went after other Gods.

The Bible says it was harlotry and it broke his heart. In pastoring you do a little bit of marriage counseling - any marriage counseling for me is too much because it can be, sometimes, very emotional and - it's wonderful when you see reconciliation come - I don't want to make it sound like - that I'm not happy with the progress that I see, but it can be heartbreaking too because you'll find people that are, you know, fine family and then you sit down in counseling and you find out there are serious problems and I've got good news for those of you who are married. Just about everybody I get to know - if I do any counseling - has problems in their marriage and some people hide it when they come to church because they think they're the only ones. But if you're married to someone that is normal, you're going to have problems. If you're married to someone that is abnormal you'll have even more problems because it seems like God has this cosmic joke he plays on humanity where he gets us where we cannot live without the opposite sex and then he pairs us with opposite people.

And they're there to increase, you know, it seems like a real organized person gets married to a cluttery person. And it seems like a person who is very fastidious about finances gets married to someone that has no idea how to control their finances and it's like they fell in love with each other in spite of these incredible differences and - because God sometimes wants to balance the other one out with those things. We needed sanctification in those areas and so - the challenges that you may find in your marriage - just rest assured you are not alone. Even Christians struggle in those areas and the Lord uses it to sanctify us. But you, typically, when you counsel with somebody, and they say, 'Pastor Doug,' - if a young man were to come to me and he said, 'you know, I'm a Christian and I want to serve the Lord.

I'm thinking of going into ministry, I want to attend AFCOE and I found a young lady, she's caught my eye - doing Bible studies with her and she's a professional harlot.' What counsel would I give? First of all, I'd say, 'you shouldn't be doing Bible studies alone with that person.' Right? So what do you do when you've got a prophet and God - it seems like he's going against his own counsel? In marriage counseling, one of the hardest things is when you sit down with a couple and one says, 'we need some help. My partner, my spouse, had an affair.' And sometimes it was a one-night stand and sometimes it went on for a length of time and they were discovered - it happens a variety of ways - but that's really, really one of the most difficult things to overcome. Now, biblically, what are grounds for divorce? Well, there - biblically, Jesus said for two believers there's only one grounds for divorce and that is where the marriage vows are violated or there's fornication - unfaithfulness. There's a little different scenario when you get to 1 Corinthians 7 - it sounds like if you've got two people that are pagans and one becomes a believer and the pagan says, 'look, I didn't buy into this. I'm leaving.’

Paul said that the believer should try to keep the marriage together because they'll have a sanctifying influence on the spouse and the children, but if they want to depart, they can depart. You can't make them stay and then the believer is free and, it's understood, free to remarry. Now that's under the situation you've got two pagans. I've heard people apply that to the situation where two married people - two Christian people that are married - one departs and the marriage vows are not violated - don't have grounds for divorce. We already have big problems in the church with getting divorced for any cause - you know Jesus talked about that - and Jesus said, 'from the beginning it was not so.'

Man and woman made those vows in the presence of God - those vows were very important - and said 'What God has joined together let not man put asunder.' And so we don't need to find new excuses to broaden the loopholes. I think we need to find more reasons to keep it together and - so as I talk about this, one thing we can learn from Hosea, if God is telling a man to go marry a woman who already has a reputation for harlotry, is it possible for Christian couples to keep their marriage together even if there has been an event of infidelity? Does the Bible say that if there's unfaithfulness they are required to get divorced - or permission is allowed? It doesn't mean they have to - I think a lot of couples could - their marriages could have been salvaged but someone said, 'Ah, the loophole I've been waiting for.' And they ran out of that relationship. And it - you know, the person slipped and it could have been - there could have been redemption - it could have been saved and when you read the story of Hosea, I mean, it's like exhibit a. If God - look at what the church has done to the Lord - how often the church has played the harlot. Matter of fact, when you get to Revelation - matter of fact - I'll read this first before I get there.

Ephesians 5, verse 25 - and I'm going to read through verse 28 - just to show the analogy that God is making here. Ephesians 5:25 through 28, "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church" - you see the comparison here? - The love of the husband for the wife as Christ loved the church - "and gave himself for her, that he might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word," - the word has a sanctifying, cleansing effect - "that he might present her to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish." How pure does God want his church to be? 50/50 Or holy without blemish? No spot. He wants us to be pure. "No spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself."

Take it from me, that is true. And you've all heard the expression that 'If momma ain't happy, nobody's happy' and it is true that sometimes the best thing that a man - and it works both ways - and a woman can do for their spouses - as you love them, they're a little happier and everybody's happier. And loving means as you are sacrificing and patient and giving - you go that second mile it just can make everybody happier when you have the love of God in your family. So here it says, 'we should love our spouse and talks about as Christ loves the church - it makes that relationship. Now I'm going to have you jump to the last book in the Bible - Revelation 19:7 - Revelation :7 - and I'll read verse - through verse 9, "let us be glad and rejoice and give him glory, for the marriage of the lamb has come, and his wife has made herself ready.'"

Do you see the analogy here between Christ and the church is his bride? "And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, 'write: 'blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the lamb!'' And he said to me, 'these are the true sayings of God.'" Now, when you read Revelation - we'll be talking about this a little bit in our message that follows - you've got two principle women in Revelation. You've got the bride of Christ who's pictured in chapter 12 of Revelation. She's clothed with light. She's clothed with divine glory - the sun, moon, and stars.

God made the sun, moon, and stars. It talks about 'His' light. This is like the bride of Christ and she's being persecuted by the dragon. Obviously, this is the good church - she's being persecuted by the dragon - anything the dragon hates you're probably doing okay - it means that's the right church. Then you get to Revelation - there's another woman and it says that she is - she's got a name on her forehead and it's what? 'Mystery, Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth.’

And it tells us that this was someone who took God's name but then was unfaithful. And, you know, this is listed in prophecy. You see in the Old Testament God's people played the harlot with other Gods - even before they got into the promised land. They did it before they even went to Egypt - during the time of Jacob. And so you can see a history of this.

They did it there in the Garden of Eden when Cain didn't offer his sacrifices the way God had prescribed. It was 'religious harlotry' is how God used it in the Bible. And you see this pattern - but not our church - we're the pure bride, right? When we go after - when we go after other Gods in our lives, in our teachings, it's spiritual infidelity. How does it hurt the Lord? Does God say, 'I am a jealous God'? He uses that word because, even in the Ten Commandments, we're His bride. The church is the bride of Christ and it deeply hurts the Lord when that happens and He guards us as the apple of His eye.

Alright, let's go here to Revelation. Now, why would God tell a prophet to literally marry a woman of the night to illustrate this? By the way, it's not the first time it's happened, biblically. Can God take a prostitute and make her a virgin? Talking about, at least, spiritually. Did Rahab start out in the red light district? And did she end up becoming a respected mother in Israel and an ancestor of Jesus? Did Tamar put on the garments of a harlot and seduce her father-in-law? And did she end up becoming one of the ancestors of Jesus - and she's listed there in Matthew? How about Mary Magdalene? Didn't she have a reputation - 'don't let her touch you'? And she ends up being the first one that Jesus appears to and he sends her out to proclaim that he's risen? I'm leaving someone out. Oh, I'll have to think about that - I thought there was one other woman there in - no, Ruth was a Moabitess but it doesn't say - she was a woman of integrity even before that.

Anyway, oh and then the church, of course, is the fourth one. Alright, so Isaiah was asked to act something out - Isaiah 20, verses 2 to 4 - you know, I didn't - I tell you what, someone look up for me - just so I can get you ready - Mark 11 - I'm not sharing the microphone - Mark 11, verse 20. We've got a mic over here? Hold your hand up - mike - over here. Come on. Come on.

Hold your hand up. We've got a young man here - needs to see. Alright, I'm going to read Isaiah 20, verse 2, "...at the same time the Lord spoke by Isaiah the son of Amoz, saying, 'Go, and remove the sackcloth from your body, and take your sandals off your feet.' And he did so, walking naked and barefoot. Then the Lord said, 'Just as my servant Isaiah has walked naked and barefoot three years for a sign and wonder'" - why did he do it? - As "'a sign and a wonder against Egypt and Ethiopia, so shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians as prisoners and the Ethiopians as captives, young and old, naked and barefoot, with their buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt." Now whether Isaiah was totally unclad - you see, biblically, it was considered - you were considered naked if you only had your speedo on. You remember it said Peter was out fishing - well he, no doubt, had a loincloth - but it said he was naked and then he put on his coat and he dove in the water and then swam out to meet Jesus.

Do you remember that? But it used the word 'naked' but he still had something on. So God didn't make Isaiah - probably - totally strip down, but he was illustrating that these nations were going to be carried away captive. As prisoners they usually stripped them. They took all their clothes. How'd you like to be Isaiah? It would be kind of embarrassing, but he was trying to illustrate 'this is what's going to happen.’

Did it happen? It did. It happened to the Egyptians and the Ethiopians. They were conquered by the Assyrians. Now you're going to read for us, mike, Mark 11:20-21. Mark 11:20 and 21, "now in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. And Peter, remembering, said to him, 'Rabbi, look! The fig tree which you cursed has withered away.'" I think you all know this story. You find it in Matthew and in Mark. It may also be in Luke - I don't remember. But it's the story where Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem - he was teaching in the temple in the morning - as the sun was coming up - he was hungry, looking for some breakfast - poor - just - you think about how poor Jesus was. He had to just sort of forage in the fields to find breakfast - and he saw in the distance a fig tree in full leaf.

Now, unlike apple or pear trees, when a fig tree is in full leaf that usually means the fruit is ready. It - the fruit pollinates and it begins to ripen and get thick just as the leaves are coming out when the leaves are in full leaf. Our next door neighbors, that are members of this church, have a fig tree that kind of hangs over the fence and I glean some because I have a biblical right to do that and - but so I see this first hand in our backyard and it's true - that when their leaves are fully mature the figs are ripe at the same time. Jesus saw this had fully mature leaves - it was advertising 'I have fruit.' He went to it and found nothing but leaves. Maybe the blossoms had all frozen off and there was no fruit.

And so Jesus lost his temper and in a divine tantrum he said, 'no man will ever eat from you again.' And after he said that, he went to town and he did his teaching and came back and it was withered from the roots and the disciples said, 'Wow, look at how fast that thing - that tree was cursed.' Why did Jesus do that? Did Jesus do that because he was being vindictive against the fig tree? Or was there a three-dimensional illustration he was dramatizing by doing that? What did that fig tree represent? Fig tree represented the nation of Israel that had all the outward forms and ceremonies - all the leaves and the pretense - but they did not have the fruits. You know, the fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace, goodness, faith, temperance - so forth. What does the Lord want in our lives, the pretense of religion or fruit? When he comes to us he says, 'I want fruit.' He says, 'if you abide in me you will bear much fruit.' But if we don't bear fruit, what happens - to the vine? Cut it down. It's good for nothing. And so Christ was illustrating this to the disciples and all the disciples could think about was 'wow, look at that power.

You cursed it in the morning it's dead in the afternoon. We wish we had that power.' Jesus said, 'oh, if you've got faith like a mustard seed you can move mountains.' But they were really missing the point. Later they understood what Jesus meant by the tree. And, by the way, you should think about - I think it's in Matthew - it says speaking of the second coming, 'behold the fig tree when its branch is yet tender and it puts forth shoots you know that summer is nigh. So likewise when you see all these things come to pass, know that it is near, even at the doors.’

Jesus then incorporates the fig tree - some have wondered if that was a sign, of sorts, that Israel would get their land back again before the final events. Many have pointed to it that way. I'm not going to make a case for that. Luke puts it this way, 'Behold the fig tree and all the trees.' But it specifically mentions the fig tree. Some have wondered - Nebuchadnezzar's dream of that great tree that's cut down but it comes back again - it's held in the ground for seven years with a band of brass and iron - if that was a fig tree and a type of Israel that was cut down as a nation but somehow came back - you know, a duel meaning to that prophecy.

But what did Adam and Eve use to cover their nakedness? Fig leaves. That was a type of man-made righteousness - self-righteousness. God said 'that won't work. That's your own righteousness you're using. I will cover you with skins.’

So the fig tree sort of became a symbol of - fig leaves in particular - the nation of Israel and self-righteousness and that's why it was cursed. the Lord wants real righteousness. Alright, let me give you another example of a dramatic recreation. You know, before I read this, should Adventists use media in spreading the gospel? Well i, that's - you know how I feel - we're doing it now, you know? But what about when you use drama? Well, did Jesus - I think you need to be very careful - I do - and there's some very clear spirit of prophecy statements on this. Have you ever seen a dramatic recreation? There are some excellent programs out there that they don't act for the sake of drawing attention to the actor, they recreate historical events and I think that there's a place for doing that.

Excellent series out by the llt on the Sabbath - where it teaches the history of the Sabbath - there's some dramatic recreations. You've probably seen it in our final events and our left behind series - we try to illustrate certain points - and if you're doing what the prophets did and what we're talking about there, I think there's a place for that. I think we need to be very careful in church, during the worship service, to have theatrics. Do you know what I'm talking about? That's a different scope of something and, you know, I'm not condemning - I've seen people that have done children's stories where they try to recreate Zaccheus or something and the children are very visual and you teach this way, but there's a fine line. Can you see that? You can find some Bible examples where God asked prophets to recreate things to teach, but you can also see where a church can turn into a theater and I think that you need to be very careful in those areas.

So I just wanted to say that, because we're kind of delving on that right now. Certainly, don't you all go out there thinking you're Hosea, if you know what I'm saying. Ezekiel 4, verse 6 - here's another example of a prophet. Ezekiel did a lot of strange things - I don't - and there's one on Jeremiah too I'll get to in a minute. "You also, son of man, take a clay tablet and lay it before you, and portray on it a city, Jerusalem. Lay siege against it, build a siege wall against it, and heap up a mound against it; set camps against it also, and place battering rams against it all around. Moreover take for yourself an iron plate, and set it as an iron wall between you and the city. Set your face against it, and it shall be besieged, and you shall lay siege against it. This will be a sign to the house of Israel. 'Lie on your left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel upon it.

According to the number of the days that you lie on it, you shall bear their iniquity. For I have laid on you the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days, three hundred and ninety days; so you shall bear the iniquity of the house of Israel. And when you have completed them, lie again on your right side; then you shall bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days. I have laid on you a day for each year.'" By the way, many have wondered 'why do you use a day for a year in interpreting prophecies? Not always but, you know, in prophetic interpretation, most scholars apply the principle of a day for a year. This is one of the places - one of the verses - there's several - where you get that.

He had to lay on his side. He built this little - like, you know, have you ever seen kids take their plastic soldiers and they build a little war scene? And here Isaiah - Ezekiel, rather - is supposed to make this little war scene of Israel being besieged and he surrounds this tablet with these mounds and these ramps and he's laying on his side. And people are going, 'What are you doing?' He said, 'the Lord has told me. Thus says the Lord.' And - because we remember odd things. God wanted his people to remember these prophecies so when they came to pass they'd say, 'oh, you know, I remember when Jesus cursed that fig tree and when Jerusalem fell.’

They remembered. He said, 'behold the fig tree.' 'Before this generation passes away all these things will be fulfilled.' And they remembered those things. So, same thing, when the Babylonians laid siege to Jerusalem they remembered what Ezekiel said. Go to Jeremiah 27. Jeremiah 27, verse 1, "in the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, 'Thus says the Lord to me: 'Make for yourself bonds and yokes, and put them on your neck, and send them to the King of Edom, the King of Moab, the King of the ammonites, the King of Tyre, and the King of Sidon, by the hand of the messengers who come''" so Jeremiah was supposed to make bonds that he put on his wrist and a yoke that he put around his neck and this is not the kind of yoke you use when you yoke cows or oxen, it was the kind of yoke they would put on prisoners when they led them away with shackles around their necks.

And the he called up ups or fed ex and he said, 'I want you to send these to the Kings of Tyre and Edom and these other kingdoms and let them know 'this is what's going to happen to you. You're going to be carried away by the King of Babylon like this.' And so, as he walked around the city with a yoke on his neck, people said, 'what does that mean?' And that visual picture told them, 'you need to surrender to the Babylonians because they're going to conquer you and carry you away and you're going to be dressed like this.' So he was illustrating to them. The Lord also asked him to write down - to buy some property and put it in a clay jar and then someone took that and they buried it by the river bank and then said, 'You will come back to the land of Israel, even after your seventy years of captivity you'll come back again.' He illustrated it that way that this deed was buried by the river to tell them that someone's going to have to dig that up years later because seventy years after your captivity you will come back again. So several things were illustrated by Jeremiah to try and teach these lessons. Alright, now that was all under the first section.

We've got to move along here. Someone look up for me Leviticus 21:7 - we've got a hand over here. Hold your hand up so they see you. And someone else has got Deuteronomy 31:16. Who has - do we have another mic over here? Yeah, there you go.

You'll do Deuteronomy 31:16 in just a minute. Alright, while they're getting ready I'm going to read Jeremiah 3:1. "They say 'if a man divorces his wife, and she goes from him and becomes another man's, may he return to her again?' Would not that land be greatly polluted? But you have played the harlot with many lovers; 'yet return to me,' says the Lord." Did you know that in the law of Moses it says that if a man divorced his wife and she married someone else then he could not take her again. You and I know strange cases where that's happened. There's maybe been some adultery and the person goes off with the other party and then that falls apart and they're alone and their former spouse is still unmarried and they say, 'boy, I've made a fool of myself, maybe we can get back together again.

They remarry. Sometimes it works out. And you say, 'well, what are they supposed to do now, get divorced?' When God made a law for his people - of course, this is when they were a theocracy, he didn't want them to get the idea that they could divorce and remarry and if it didn't work out go back to your first wife and it just turned into a nation of wife swapping. And so, there was a prohibition against that. That's why Jeremiah is referring to this in chapter 3.

He said, 'Won't the land be greatly polluted? What will happen to the families? You're supposed to be a nation of priests and Kings for me. But, in spite of my law, and the fact that you've played the harlot with many lovers - other kingdoms, other Gods - 'yet return to me,' says the Lord.' So here it sounds like God is breaking his own rule. He's saying, 'you know, I wouldn't want you to do that because it's wrong. Once someone plays adultery and they get married and come back again - he says, 'but I love you so much I'll take you back.' Doesn't that tell us something about the grace of God? What does that say to the backsliders in the church that have gone away and they played the harlot with the world and God says, 'you know what? If you'll repent and come back to me I'll take you back.' Isn't that what it's saying? Alright, read for me Leviticus :7, I think - Jan? "They shall not take a wife who is a harlot or a defiled woman, nor shall they take a woman divorced from her husband; for the priest is holy to his God." Now we don't know whether or not Hosea was from the priest family. The Bible doesn't tell us that.

He may have just been from the northern kingdom and connected with the school of the prophets, but clear enough that God said that the priests especially - he doesn't say no one was to marry someone that was divorced, but God had the highest standards for the priests. By the way, one of the reasons that we don't believe that we should drink is not just all of the social problems with drug addiction and alcohol, but the Bible says we are a nation of Kings and priests - we're living in the antitypical day of atonement and, as a nation of priests, we should have a higher standard, right? Priests - what happened to Nadab and Abihu when they went into the temple of the Lord and they were inebriated? Fire came from God out of heaven - people outside the tent might have got away with it, but if they were going to come before the Lord they needed to be pure and they were zapped by lightning from God for that. So he had the highest standard for the priests and so part of that was the priests were not to get divorced or marry someone that was divorced. Let me read another verse before we go to Deuteronomy. Ezekiel 16:32, here he says, "You are an adulterous wife, who takes strangers instead of her husband." - God speaking to the church - to the people - "men make payment to all harlots, but you made your payments to all your lovers, and hired them to come to you from all around for your harlotry." You know, the way it typically works - and you don't want to talk too much about this in church, but it's in the Bible - it's a pretty - pretty common subject in the Bible. If there are ladies lining the streets in some parts of the town - I guess there are young men too - that are standing out there advertising their profession and cars pull over and they usually have a quick exchange and find out 'how much?' But the one who's asking how much is - the man in the car is asking the young lady 'how much will this cost?' What God is saying to Israel - 'you have got it so bad that you're out there saying, 'I'll pay you' to the guys driving by. That - 'I am looking for other Gods' instead of them looking for you. And the Lord said, 'Boy, you're just - you're in such a hurry.' You read in the Bible that when - when Israel turned away from God and began to worship other Gods, God says, 'you did it even more than the pagan nations that I cast out before you.' In other words, 'you went to greater lengths than they went to.' Have you ever seen that sometimes a person who walks with the Lord and turns away and becomes an atheist - they become more zealous about it than someone who was just born an atheist? They become an evangelist atheist. It's like they've got something to prove.

Alright, Deuteronomy 31:16. "And the Lord said to Moses: 'behold, you will rest with your fathers; and this people will rise and play the harlot with the Gods of the foreigners of the land, where they go to be among them, and they will forsake me and break my covenant which I have made with them." Now who did God say this to? The Lord said to - Moses. Before Moses even died and they were going into the Promised Land, God told him what was going to happen, didn't he? You can read Deuteronomy 28 and - backsliding - the devil is constantly fighting against the church and backsliding is a problem. Let me read to you now - we're not getting enough into Hosea - let me read Hosea 2, verses -13. You got that? Hosea 2:8-13, "for she did not know that I gave her grain, new wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold" - now, one of the things that they claimed to get from these pagan Gods like Baal - they said, 'You know, we pray to God because he gives us the rain.

He gives us the nice weather so that our crops are full.' God said, 'no, it wasn't Baal.' Shouldn't they have learned that from the experience of Elijah on Mount Carmel when they were worshiping Baal and they danced all day long and Baal never did anything. And then Elijah prayed and God sent the rain. "I multiplied her silver and gold" - God said, 'I'm the one who gives you the power to get wealth - "which they prepared for Baal. 'Therefore I will return and take away my grain in its time and my new wine in its season, and will take back my wool and my linen, given to cover their nakedness. Now I will uncover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers, and no one shall deliver her from my hand.

I will also cause all her mirth to cease, her feast days, her new moons, her Sabbaths all her appointed feasts. And I will destroy her vines and her fig trees," - God is saying 'I'll send famine because she's praying to the wrong God - "of which she has said, 'these are my wages that my lovers have given me.' So I will make them a forest, and the beasts of the field shall eat them. I will punish her for the days of the Baals to which she burned incense. She decked herself with her earrings and jewelry, and went after her lovers;" - you know, I can't count how many times in the Bible that these artificial adornments are associated with pagan religions - "and went after her lovers. But me she forgot,' says the Lord.”

Pretty clear. So he's told to marry this pagan woman as a sign of what's happening. Then you've got the - you know, before I rush past that passage I just read, are we ever guilty of that? Are we ever guilty of forgetting where our blessings come from? Do we ever give credit to, 'Well, thank goodness the politicians finally worked it out and the economy is doing better. What would we do without these clever politicians?' No, we don't say that do we? Or do we ever say, 'It's because of my industry and clever investment strategy and my hard work that I've got this prosperity right now.' We might take credit - sometimes we might make ourselves - it's kind of - it's a different kind of idolatry. And then Hosea chapter 2, verses 14-16 it talks about restoration, "Therefore, behold, I will allure her," - he says, 'I'm calling - I'm wooing - romantically trying to bring my wife back' - "will bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfort to her.”

When God saved Israel he brought her into the wilderness and made his promises there - "'I will give her her vineyards from there, and the valley of Achor as a door of hope; she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, as in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt. And it shall be, in that day,' says the Lord. That you will call me 'my husband,' and no longer call me 'my master.'" What kind of relationship does God want to have with his church? A master/slave relationship or a husband/wife relationship? There should be this - this love. As Christ loves the church. There should be a fondness - an affection.

God wants to have this affection. The old covenant - master/slave - new covenant - 'I'll write my law in their hearts' and it's a love relationship. You know, if your heart was absolutely overflowing with love for God, you couldn't help but obey him. You couldn't stop yourself. You couldn't help but teach others about him.

It's like Paul said, 'Woe unto me if I preach not Christ.' If your heart is absolutely just erupting and bubbling over with love for God, it's a pleasure to do God's will. You want to because you love him. It's always on your mind to talk about him. So it's that relationship that's going to make the difference. Then it says, 'the case against Israel.’

And this is - we're jumping to Hosea 4:1-3, "hear the word of the Lord you children of Israel, for the Lord brings a charge against the inhabitants of the land. There's no truth nor mercy or knowledge of God in the land. By swearing and killing and stealing and lying and committing adultery, they break all restraint with bloodshed upon bloodshed." Before the blood dries from one crime scene there's new fresh blood. "Therefore the land will mourn and everyone who dwells there will waste away with the beasts of the field and the birds of the air. Even the fish of the sea will be taken away.

There'll be a drought and even the streams will dry up and the fish would die. Now, Hosea goes back and forth. During his sections of the book he says, 'here's what's going to happen because of your sin, but if you repent and return to me, because I love you I'll heal.' And so, he's giving the warning and he's giving the blessing and the promise - and he mixes it up and he goes back and forth. Well, you know, I'm running out of time. Let me just jump down to 'a call to repentance' because that's a very important section.

John 17, verse 3 - matter of fact, somebody read for me John 2:4 - did I give that to someone? Right back here. I'm going to have you read that. You'll get the final word. I'm going to read John 17:3, "And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ who you have sent." Hosea 4:6 he says, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge." What is that important knowledge that saves? 'Knowledge of God that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.' Go ahead. You read for us 1 John 2:4.

"He who says, 'I know him,' and does not keep his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him." One of the ways we show that we really know the Lord is a willingness to obey him. That's why God said, 'Don't say, 'Lord, Lord,' and keep not My commandments and don't do My will. If you love Me keep My commandments. Follow Me. Obey Me.’

And, you know, even in a marriage relationship there's rules. Do we all agree with that? There's certain rules and when you have love for your spouse you follow those vows that you've made. Our time is up. I want to remind our friends that are watching we've a free study guide we're happy to send you. It's yours free - just ask for it.

Read it and then share it. It's called 'A Love that Transforms' and it will bless you when you learn about the love of God in this study and call the number 866-study-more - that's 866-788-3966. Ask for offer #15 - no no! - Offer #710 - when you call. God bless you until we study together again next week. In six days God created the heavens and the earth.

For thousands of years man has worshiped God on the seventh day of the week. Now, each week, millions of people worship on the first day. What happened? Why did God create a day of rest? Does it really matter what day we worship? Who was behind this great shift? Discover the truth behind God's law and how it was changed. Visit Sabbathtruth.com.

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