WHAT HAS GOD DESIRED FROM THE TIME HE CREATED US?
UNION AND COMMUNION:
FOR US TO WANT HIM TO BE OUR GOD.
FOR US TO LIVE WITH THIS IN OUR HEARTS:
I AM MY BELOVED’S AND HE IS MINE,
HIS BANNER OVER ME IS LOVE!
BUT IN TRUTH,
WE HAVE NOT WANTED HIM TO BE OUR GOD,
WE HAVE NOT BELIEVED HIS LOVE
AND WE HAVE RUN AFTER OTHER LOVERS
AND BROKEN HIS HEART.
God asked Hosea to marry an unfaithful woman as a living portrait for His people,
for His people who refused to be His people
who wanted to be free to run after their idols.
Oh how personal it sounds, when Hosea cries:
She is not my wife, and I am not her husband.
What does he mean?
It is a marriage only in the legal sense.
She has broken the covenant.
She is sleeping with others lovers
and is bearing their children.
And, in fact, Hosea names the daughter, Lo-Ruhama, which means
And the son, Lo-Ammi, which means
Not my people.
For the broken-hearted bridegroom says:
“You are not my people, and I am not your God.”
WE CAN BE SO THANKFUL THE STORY DOES NOT END HERE.
For though reeling,
God does not give up.
He keeps His covenant.
He betroths us to Himself in righteousness and justice,
in steadfast love and in mercy
(Do you see the gospel in Hosea 2:19?)
And one day, the Lord tells Hosea:
I will have mercy on No Mercy,
and I will say to Not My People, “You are my people”;
and he shall say, “You are my God.”
How can this be when we have been so unfaithful? I know that I can look at how I have betrayed Him and think, How could He see me as beautiful?
When Gomer’s lovers were done with her, they sold her naked on the auction block. God told Hosea to go and buy his wife back, to purchase her, and cover her. And he did.
How can we know with confidence that despite our daily failures and sin that we are His? He purchased us, not with silver or gold like Hosea, but with His precious blood. “The wrath of God was satisfied!” That means that we are fully paid for and we can be confident:
The lyric, “the wrath of God was satisfied” is from a beloved new hymn by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend: In Christ Alone. Recently a USA Presbyterian church in Nashville refused to put this hymn in their hymnal unless that lyric was changed. They said that the idea that the wrath of God needed to be satisfied was repugnant, it would mean God killed Jesus. Getty and Townsend explained how important this doctrine was — for the word “satisfied” shows that our debt is FULLY paid and we don’t have to question whether or not we are His anymore.
Liberal churches want to throw this out. Legalistic churches want us to think we have to obey the law to have the wrath of God satisfied. As Tertullion said, “the gospel is crucified between two thieves: antinominism (against the law) and legalism. We need to cling to the gospel or we will never be confident. (If you are interested in that article and the controversy, here it is: Link)
In preparation for this week sing along with In Christ Alone. It is all about the sufficiency of the gospel to make us His. When you get to the third verse you’ll see the words “I am His and He is mine.” It is only in the context of the gospel, of the shed blood of Christ in fully purchasing us, in fully satisfying God’s wrath, that we can be confident: I am my Beloved’s, and He is mine.
Here in the song: sing along with it.
Because this week’s Bible study is longer I am going to wait for the audio from Mike Reeves until next week — for I don’t want to give you so much work that you don’t have time to listen to him. It’s a message I don’t want you to miss.
1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
2. On what basis can you be confident that God loves you, that you are His, and that He will never ever leave you?
Monday/Friday Bible Study
Staci found two great songs last week on The Song of Songs — this one is titled Song of Solomon. I KNOW it will prepare your heart. Watch and then comment.
COMMENT ON THE ABOVE SONG:
A repetitive theme of Scripture is God’s yearning to be able to say:
You are my people
and have us respond
You are my God
Before we look at it in The Song of Songs, let’s see if we can get to the heart of what He longs for by looking at the picture He painted through the life of his prophet, Hosea. Answer briefly in these fact gathering questions, and then we will contemplate.
3. Fact-gathering questions from Hosea:
A. Why, according to Hosea 1:2, did God ask Hosea to marry an unfaithful woman?
B. When Gomer bore an illegitimate daughter and son, what did Hosea name them and why according to Hosea 1:6-8?
C. Hosea 2:2 contains the name “I AM” that God uses for Himself, but this time it is different. How is it different and why?
D. What reason does Gomer give for her unfaithfulness in Hosea 2:5? What is Hosea’s cry in the end of 2:13?
E. What will God do to bring her to her senses according to Hosea 2:14-15?
F. What promise does God make through Hosea in Hosea 2:16-20?
G. What does God show Hosea will one day happen in Hosea 2:21-23?
H. What does God tell Hosea to do in Hosea 3:1-3?
4. Contemplative questions on Hosea:
A. Think about the reasons you give your soul when you give into the temptation of your idols? Are they similar to Gomer’s?
B. How are they lies? How have your idols hurt you? How has God been true?
C. How do you see the gospel in the opening of Hosea 3?
5. CHALLENGE QUESTION (SKIP IF YOU LIKE) Read Romans 9:25-26. (This is a challenging chapter about election, but it should also make us so confident that we are His Beloved and He is ours.) What point is Paul making?
6. Read The Song of Songs 2:16-17. What does the bride say?
7. On what basis can you be confident that You are His and that nothing can quench His love?
8. Read The Song of Songs 4:16-5:1. To whom does the garden belong? What parallel do you see
with Song of Songs 2:16-17?
HOW THE MARRIAGE BED ILLUSTRATES THE GOSPEL
Nancy Leigh de Moss, who believes The Song of Songs is first and foremost a picture of Christ and His Bride, asks, “Do you think God invented marriage and then said —I wonder what this could illustrate? No — first He planned the gospel and then used marriage as a mysterious illustration of the gospel. Likewise, Tim Keller says “earthly marriage is as close as we can come to comprehending intimacy — for we long for Someone wonderful to see us naked and love us to the sky.”
Despite our flaws, we are still His, and He is ours.
8. Read 1 Corinthians 7:1-5 for fact gathering:
A. What do verses 3-5 say?
B. How does this illustrate our relationship with Christ?
Jamie Lash, in “A Kiss A Day” writes: “To belong to Yeshua means we no longer belong to ourselves.” This is pictured by what God ordained for the marriage bed. Instead of thinking of our own needs, we give in glad surrender to bring joy to the other. Tim Keller tells of counseling an unhappy couple and asking them, for the next month, to just focus on the other’s needs in bed and not their own. It changed their marriage.
C. What do you think it means to “not deprive one another?” If you are married, what would this
look like for you? (You may not wish to share everything.)
9. How did Jesus fully give to us, not counting His own desires? Does this help you fall in love with Him and long to give Him joy out of love rather than duty?
10. Are you growing in the area of glad surrender? Is He quickening you to step out of your comfort zone and care about what He does? If so — how?
11. What is your take-a-way and why?