S (Scripture) – Hosea 1:2 “When the LORD first spoke through Hosea, the LORD said to Hosea, ‘Go, take to yourself a wife of harlotry and have children of harlotry; for the land commits flagrant harlotry, forsaking the LORD.'”
O (Observation) – When the word “harlotry” is used three times in a single sentence, it prompted me to investigate the meaning of the word further. If someone is committing harlotry, it is infidelity. Infidelity is the act of being disloyal. When someone is disloyal, it is as if he or she has abandoned someone. The people of Israel had abandoned the Lord who had always been faithful to them. They were being disloyal to the One who rescued them from Egypt and never left their side. They were committing infidelity against their God by turning away from Him in the selfish pursuit of their own desires and flesh, ignoring His persistent beckoning to return to Him. God had been so patient with their stubbornness. He had been sending prophets to warn His people about what would happen to their land if they continued to abandon Him. His protection would only continue if they decided to return to Him. God told Hosea to marry a woman of harlotry so that his family life would be a personification of how God felt about His people. Hosea would experience firsthand the emotion that God was feeling as He watched His people consistently choose a life of dishonor and unrighteousness…the feeling of having someone you love so much consciously choose to abandon you despite your continued faithfulness.
A (Application) – Our God is a God of love, yet let us not forget that He is a holy God of righteousness. He cannot tolerate sinful behavior that is not dealt with at the cross. If we continue to live in a state of dishonoring those around us, and in a lifestyle of sin (lying, cheating, stealing, promiscuity, addictions, etc.), yet think that it is all alright because God loves us, we are living a lie. God wants us to be whole, restored, transformed, redeemed, and usable by Him for His purposes. We cannot fulfill our God-given destiny without being wholeheartedly surrendered to Him. His faithfulness to us must be matched by our faithfulness to Him. Not in our own strength, but by His grace and His Spirit. Deuteronomy 6:5 tells us to “love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” If we are in love with the world, or the things of the world, the love of the Father is not in us (1 John 2:15). Let us take a moment and ask God to examine our hearts – is there any un-forgiveness in our hearts? What lies have we been telling to ourselves and to others? What habit have we done so much that we have rationalized that it is fine to continue doing although we know it isn’t the right thing to do? May we be fully committed to God’s process of making us more like Jesus, and in so doing, may we continue to grow closer to Him instead of further away. There is no staying still.
P (Prayer) – Heavenly Father, forgive me. Take away the judgmental attitude and un-forgiveness. Take away the critical spirit and irritable mind. Instead, replace it with grace and compassion; with honor and peace. I want to grow closer to You, Lord, with each passing day – not drift further away. Thank You for always being faithful to me, and never giving up on my heart. You are so good to me.