Then I will sow her for Myself in the earth,
And I will have mercy on her who had not obtained mercy;
Then I will say to those who were not My people,
'You are My people!'
And they shall say, 'You are my God!' "
Then the Lord said to me, "Go again, love a woman who is loved by a lover and is committing adultery, just like the love of the Lord for the children of Israel, who look to other gods and love the raisin cakes of the pagans."
So I bought her for myself for fifteen shekels of silver, and one and one-half homers of barley. 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."
For the children of Israel shall abide many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar, without ephod or teraphim.
Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the Lord their God and David their king. They shall fear the Lord and His goodness in the latter days.
Just to step back to our previous sermon on Hosea, we saw that the Lord will call Israel in the last days, whereby he makes the first move. This is future prophecy and is yet to happen. The last word prior to today's passage is Jezreel (The earth shall answer with grain, with new wine, and with oil; they shall answer Jezreel), which literally means: 'God will sow'. The meaning has changed from chapter 1 verse 4 where Hosea names his son the same word - Jezreel, meaning in that context, 'God will scatter'. We move from a global scattering as prophesied through Hosea's son's name, to a very specific scattering, scattering with a purpose; that of sowing seed into fertile ground in order to grow and bear fruit. Wheat does not grow if left heaped, it needs to be scattered into good soil - as in the act of sowing, watered, and nurtured. I find it fascinating how God subtlety shifts meanings of the same word to make a point. What we note here is the shift in these verses from scattering the children of Israel to the four winds as punishment for sins, to God now sowing, in order to bring in His own crop, a new version of Israel, often noted in Scripture as the remnant, a version that belongs to Him, with absolute reciprocity of Israel turning their hearts to the Lord. God will plant, and this time, the seed will fall on fertile ground, and the seed will produce fruit, much fruit!
This is our setting for just a brief period today, a positive amidst much condemnation that Hosea is to speak. These verses are looking forward to the last days when the church era has ended and the Christian has gone to heaven, raptured out, and the unfinished business of God's people, God's own bride, is being taking place. We know this as we see a similar picture in other prophetic works, for example we read in Zechariah 10:
"I will sow them among the peoples,
And they shall remember Me in far countries;
They shall live, together with their children,
And they shall return.
I will also bring them back from the land of Egypt,
And gather them from Assyria.
I will bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon,
Until no more room is found for them. (9-10)
Compare these verses with those we find in the New Testament, again, in the Jewish context, not Gentile, and we see how this very familiar parable fits like a glove and replicates the picture given in both Hosea and Zechariah as quoted.
But when he came to himself, he said, 'How many of my father's hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants." (Luke 15:17-19)
The Jews scattered across the world will realise what they have thrown away and they will hear the call and recognise that God is indeed their husband (as we heard) and will return as the prodigal son, or as we see in today's reading, the wayward bride. We note in Zechariah that the remnant is not small. In these verses God is shown moving the boundaries of Israel beyond today's disputed borders, and we see them in Lebanon to the north, and Gilead to the east were Jordan is today, east of the river Jordan! These are the original boundaries God had set out when Israel was first given to the people.
The rest of these verses are a demonstration of God's grace. These verses do not belong solely to Israel; they can be said of the Christian as well. Keeping the context in mind, God will say to His people – Israel, who right now are not his people – just take a look at the modern Jew!, God will say that they are back in the fold, they are now His people. We Christians were once sinners, separate from God, condemned and alienated. We were destined for hell, yet Christ comes along and says to us: I come to seek that which is lost, or as we see where John wrote those forever immortal words:
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (3:16)
The act is the same – salvation through grace. We read in Ephesians 2:8-9:
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
This verse reminds us as to who created us –why we exist, and the gift of salvation, given to us before we were even born. We just had to accept it, nothing more. Re-read Hosea 2:23: And I will have mercy on her who had not obtained mercy: we can see that God has not changed, His way is the same, His standard fair and reasonable for both Jew and Gentile – He will have mercy on Israel, He has had mercy on us, grace will abound for those who love Him and turn to Him.
Naturally we need to remind ourselves of the warning Paul gave to the Romans;
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (6:1-4)
We can see that Israel will remain God's chosen people, God's own wife, who has acted towards Him as we see clearly in our recent studies in Hosea, as Gomer acted towards Hosea. In a minute we will delve into Hosea's need to buy back Gomer as his wife. This example gives us no excuse at all, no licence to sin. Israel has its story and it is given to us for a lesson. We, as Christians already have been bought, Christ will not re-buy us, and therefore, this is not what Hosea is about, for that unsound concept makes His first sacrifice a temporary thing, and makes the thrust of Hebrews nine null and void. However, the two parallel stories have the same ingredient –grace providing salvation.
Grace comes from God. He expects us to not only praise Him for it, but use it – it is a commodity that is never-ending, as the grace we receive is never ending – which is why we cannot accept the false doctrine that transposes the church into the space left by Israel's decimation – God never breaks a covenant, and He will restore them as promised. So, how can we use grace and how do we apply what God has said to Israel to our own lives.
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. (1 Corinthians 15:10)
Here is the starting point. Understanding that our Christian faith is by the grace of God. We are who we are through His grace. A little later Paul writes to Corinthians:
But as you abound in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us—see that you abound in this grace also. (2 Corinthians 8:7)
We have to abound in it and if we don't we fail. Our human nature is easily offended. We stop talking to people, we avoid people we find irritating, we gossip, we say nasty things; in fact, some literally harm through words, others, despite their faith in God. None of these things are befitting the Christian. Abounding in grace – it is a practical aspect of life, how we act towards people, especially those people who are most difficult. Matthew tells us this little example:
Then Peter came to Him and said, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. (Matthew 18:21-22)
We should not be literal and forgive only 490 times for the same sin? Jesus is saying, never not forgive; ever!! God had mercy on Israel and still has mercy on Israel and will restore her as we have mentioned. We therefore are to have mercy through the grace that abounds in us from God on all we come across and we must apply mercy always as well. We may struggle with this, but then, maybe it is because we are trying to be merciful in our own strength. The applicator (as it were) is this verse: And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:9), and, if we need more, James tells us: But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble." (James 4:6) Note the little rider – 'to the humble'. Tough, but doable.
Let us see how doable forgiveness it is for us in the majority of our circumstances.
I think that we need to consider at a personal and 'feelings level' the internal churnings that Hosea must have had when God gave him the command: Then the Lord said to me, "Go again, love a woman who is loved by a lover and is committing adultery. The man must have had the most humble of hearts to be able to say – yes God, and go and do so. The humbleness of Hosea is spelt out in these passages, and it won't have come from within, but from God Himself who provides the grace to enable us to forgive that 491st time or the 591st time.
God provides a reason for Hosea to do this. It is for an object lesson for His wayward people. Let us start by seeing the context of the command:
Then the Lord said to me, "Go again, love a woman who is loved by a lover and is committing adultery, just like the love of the Lord for the children of Israel, who look to other gods and love the raisin cakes of the pagans."
Hosea's wife had a lover, or two! She was a harlot, one who would have been known by many men, and not too few wives either. Her reputation was shot, her image in tatters. God says – that is how you are Israel. You are a harlot, selling your services to those around you. Israel made alliances with various neighbouring states over the centuries, depending on who the enemy was at the time. They continue to do the same today. Israelites worshiped the gods of those that they were being allies to, or just whoever they wanted. Their love of raisin cakes are an interesting statement here for it shows their love of the food offered to idols. Jeremiah says:
The children gather wood, the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead dough, to make cakes for the queen of heaven; and they pour out drink offerings to other gods, that they may provoke Me to anger (Jeremiah 7:18)
These are apparently the same cakes as mentioned in Hosea. God singles this out for special highlighting. There are some people who make controversy of this translation, and prefer the term flagons of wine. Generally scholars tend to agree that the Hebrew is talking of cakes, but some insist on a different translation, however, one reads such arguments with dismay, as it matters not what idol worshipping offering is being loved by Israel; they were loving an object created by God, but in the worship of false gods. There love was for wooden idols, not the true and living God. Albeit cakes of raisins, or the juice of the same fruit made into wine and therefore the attitude and the heart were in the wrong place. Rather than worshiping the Creator, the people were worshipping idols made with what God created – something they loved. Sometimes the arguments people make about a translation has the same context of idol worship; they make something seem so important that is not important at all, for the sake of their own barrow (ego). Jeremiah brings home this point to us, and puts it neatly into context:
Has a nation changed its gods,
Which are not gods?
But My people have changed their Glory
For what does not profit.
Be astonished, O heavens, at this,
And be horribly afraid;
Be very desolate," says the Lord.
"For My people have committed two evils:
They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters,
And hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water. Jeremiah 2:11-14.
Anything worshipped apart from God is a broken cistern. It holds nothing, is worth nothing, and in all reality could be called just plain rubbish. But we do it ourselves, all the time. We love chocolate. We love a football team. We love our children excessively, more than God, living our lives through their success, or pushing them to success that we might not have had ourselves for our own gratification. We do the same in our jobs, where work becomes more important than God, or our gardens, or our hobby, and so the list goes on. If you were youth I would point to smart phones and its various modes of communication, the person never letting the phone out of sight just in case someone tweets, Facebooks, or beeps!! We become obsessed with what others are saying about us. It is all the same. We must not sit back and think that the foolishness of the Israelites is not the same foolishness of ourselves. We may not go to a temple and worship with wine, raisin cakes and temple prostitutes, but we go to our shed, our football oval, our special retreat, even church – if we go there for our own satisfaction, and not for the glory of God, we are stepping into the same sin as Israel. This is not to say that having a hobby is wrong, nor is it a sin to have a workshop, or special place to go, so long as the activity does not take away from God what is rightfully His.
Moving forward to chapter 3 verse 2 we see another interesting statement: So I bought her for myself for fifteen shekels of silver, and one and one-half homers of barley. Commentators here agree that this is not Hosea forking out a dowry, it is much too cheap; in fact it is the price of a down-market slave girl of the day. Even more noteworthy is that he only spends half the value of her in silver, the rest he pays in grain – note that this is barley not wheat, something the current lover, who appears to be happy to sell her to Hosea, can use to feed other slaves he may own. Gomer is a cheap good. Her value is of the cheapest slaves. That is the value of Israel to God now. They do nothing for His reputation in that they are doing nothing towards showing the world the greatness and goodness of their God. Israel right now is a hotspot of political turmoil, the focus of fighting and threats of war. Israel is no longer what the Lord gave to His people:
I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey (Exodus 3:8).
Or when describing Israel as the bride:
Your lips, O my spouse, drip as the honeycomb; honey and milk are under your tongue; and the fragrance of your garments is like the fragrance of Lebanon. A garden enclosed is my sister, my spouse, a spring shut up, a fountain sealed. Your plants are an orchard of pomegranates with pleasant fruits, fragrant henna with spikenard, spikenard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense, myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices— a fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon. (Song of Songs 4:11-15)
Now she is cheap, trashy, and easily bought back. Even the lover is willing to sell her for a discount! We may ask, why would God want to? We see that Hosea did as God asked, and he bought Gomer back, giving him a wife, the same one as before, but defiled and used, needing to be bought at the price of a cheap slave. However, it is one thing to buy a slave, it is another thing to love them. Hosea is a man like you and I and one must imagine how he feels about the women he first married who has spent the greatest part of their married life prostituting herself, (even despite his knowledge that she was not going to be faithful when he married her). Can he trust Gomer? Can he love her, even a tiny bit? How about love her as a husband, as Christ loves the church level of love?
Let us look at the communication Hosea provides us towards his restored/bought wife:
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." For the children of Israel shall abide many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar, without ephod or teraphim. (3:2,3)
Sex was her downfall; she played the harlot, giving her body to many men for short term pleasure and payment. Hosea may have her back, but she won't be sharing his bed in the near future and she too becomes part of God's lesson to His people. Perhaps we can look at a similar context, an interesting instruction from the LORD to Israel:
"When you go out to war against your enemies, and the Lord your God delivers them into your hand, and you take them captive, and you see among the captives a beautiful woman, and desire her and would take her for your wife, then you shall bring her home to your house, and she shall shave her head and trim her nails. She shall put off the clothes of her captivity, remain in your house, and mourn her father and her mother a full month; after that you may go in to her and be her husband, and she shall be your wife. (Deuteronomy 21:10-13)
Here is the order for a man who wants to have a wife from the spoils of war. This is not the usual instruction from God, in fact we know in Malachi that God berates the priests for taking foreign wives (2:11), yet, God knows the heart of man, and when he sees an attractive woman amongst the captives, lust comes to his heart, but God says, that cannot be fulfilled without marriage and a time of settling in – she will need to mourn her past life, and come to accept her new situation.
Hosea in essence was doing the same. He bought Gomer for a price. She will now come into his house, and for a period of time, we know not how long, she was to remain living with him, but not enjoying the conjugal rights normally afforded spouses.
What was the lesson to the Israelites? The second half of this short paragraph tells us:
For the children of Israel shall abide many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar, without ephod or teraphim. (2:3)
How many days has it been? The Jew that is still searching for God and Jesus Christ in all the wrong places, keeping the law within a much reduced form, is exactly that today – they have no king, there is no prince that they know, the temple was destroyed in 70 AD and since that time that have had nowhere to sacrifice, no place to pour wine, oil burn incense, and their ephod has disappeared with the teraphim. In all reality, they have been like this for over two and a half thousand years – since they were scattered to the four winds. Maybe you say, God has abandoned them, they will never share the marriage again? That is what those who believe that the church has replaced Israel think, God has replaced Israel. Wrong – this is not what Scriptures are saying.
Thus says the Lord: "Where is the certificate of your mother's divorce, whom I have put away? or which of My creditors is it to whom I have sold you? For your iniquities you have sold yourselves, and for your transgressions your mother has been put away. (Isaiah 50:1)
Isaiah is being rhetorical here. The first two questions have no answer, there is no certificate of divorce, and there is no sale to creditors. Israel is not in the state that they are in today because of God. We know this because Isaiah then tells us why Israel is in its current state; they sold themselves out they chronically sinned against God and therefore they are estranged from God. But there is no divorce because God has not abandoned them. He is waiting, with His perfect timing to call them, or as we heard last sermon, to allure them. Israel remains his bride, and he has paid for her, through the blood of His Son.
What is interesting to note is that in the seven hundred years immediately after Hosea prophesied nothing happens. They remain without a national identity, they are forced to be subservient under numerous rulers, overruled by various dynasties – Persian, Babylonian, Greek, and at the time of Jesus, Roman, yet, when Jesus speaks to the rulers of the day, the religious leaders and He says to them this telling statement in a tone that says – 700 years and you did not change!:
"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!
"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.
"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, and say, 'If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.'
"Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers' guilt. Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell? Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city, that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation. (Matthew 23:23-36).
What is most astounding about all of this is even with completely blinded religious leadership Jesus still came down to earth to suffer and to die, so that they might be saved, He still brought in the new covenant, one of grace and mercy and truth, one where the law was no longer engraved on rock but on their hearts, and with the Holy Spirit within, they could find liberty freely, without needing to meet any law (2 Corinthians 3). But most failed to take up the offer and failed to accept Jesus as their rightful King and Prince, but rather they crucified Him and therefore condemning themselves to another couple of thousand years of separation from their God, albeit still His bride (as recognised by God at least), but isolated from the bridegroom. How do we know that this is as it is, not God turning His attention to those who have been brought into the new covenant and cutting His ties with the disobedient children? The last verse of our passage today is plain and simple, and one for our rejoicing:
Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the Lord their God and David their king. They shall fear the Lord and His goodness in the latter days. (3:5)
When Hosea wrote these words, King David was long dead and buried, so seeking the Lord their God and David their king cannot be literal. We know that the meaning of this is always a picture of the Lord Jesus. Therefore, this is a line of future prophecy, for we know that since it was written, the children of Israel as such, have not returned to seek the Lord. The people in Israel today are there for altruistic reasons, claiming back a homeland, but Scripture clearly talks of them seeking the Lord and their King, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah. Sure, some Jews are searching for the King, but are looking in all the wrong places, with refusal by some to accept that the prophecies and Scripture are literal in the main about this prophecy. They no longer wish to believe that God is being literal, especially when the prophecies relate to Jesus. They choose to ignore Jesus and look for a different messiah, blinded to the facts found in Scripture.
Finally, we know this will be the children of Israel returning and becoming part of the overall kingdom in that Hosea tells us that not only will they seek, but they will serve. They will fear the Lord, they will embrace His goodness with godly fear – serving Him in the way He wants them to, not in their own way as of the 'religious' Jew of today.
Hosea was not the only one that said this either. For example, amongst the prophets such as Isaiah, Jeremiah and Daniel, is Micah. He writes:
Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and peoples shall flow to it. Many nations shall come and say, "Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths." For out of Zion the law shall go forth, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between many peoples, and rebuke strong nations afar off; they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. But everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid;
For the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken. For all people walk each in the name of his god, but we will walk in the name of the Lord our God forever and ever. (4:1-5)
Those who say this has happened already are lying to themselves. This scenario has never played out in Israel, not then, not now, and never in between. It is for the latter days, that is, days to come and certainly days after we in the Church have been raptured from earth, and God then returns to restore Israel. Revelation tells us some of the dreadful things that will occur just prior to this, until Israel true to God raises their hands and as Hosea tells us, will return to God, and fear Him as the original covenant had them do.
So what can we learn from this? 2 Corinthians 3 tells us a different story to that of Gomer's unfaithfulness, a story we need to live by. We live in a time of grace and favour, if we have accepted the Lord Jesus as our saviour. We need not live a life separate from Him, in isolation, even when we sin. This chapter in Corinthians reminds us that: the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life (6). We are indwelt with the Holy Spirit. When we are repentant and right with God, God sees us as righteous. We can shine forth: But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord (18). However, this does not stop us playing the harlot, unfortunately. God specifically hates all sin, so we are expected to help our fellow believers when they sin to bring them back into repentance and the joy of fellowship. However, the main message for us in this portion of Hosea is the patience of God. God has waited over five thousand years for His people to come to Him and be obedient to Him wholly and forever, ever since he called them out of Egypt, in fact, when he called Abraham, God was hoping for this. In the early days they had times of faithful obedience, at times for periods of up to about 40 years: that was the best run they could do. However, more often than not, they lived in disobedience and turning to other gods.
How about us? We have the book that tells the story and the consequences, also the faithfulness of God towards us. Do we take note and live accordingly? We have been bought with a price:
[D]o you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
We have no licence to sin and we have no mandate to do our own will. We have a sovereign God who is a jealous God. Sure, God does not promise us lives of fun and happy days, even when we are obeying His will. If we do obey, He promises us joy, and strength, and the ability to cope with whatever is thrown at us. But if we are constantly disobedient – there are some verses that we need to take note of that provide us with a solemn warning as to what God will do. This is not to remove our salvation, but life will get tougher:
Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. (Romans 16:17)
Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled (Hebrews 12:14)
or as a final example:
[E]ach one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is. If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. (1 Corinthians 3:13-15)
As you can see, there can be consequences for ongoing, non-repentant sin, from our own brothers and sisters avoiding us like the plague, through to standing in shame before God, with nothing to offer.
Unlike Gomer, we have already been bought with a price – before we were saved. However, God, as for us, paid the same price for His people as well. Unlike Gomer, we have been forgiven – as we repented, unlike Gomer who before being bought lived in unrepentant sin. We are not isolated from Jesus Christ, though in our sins as Israel currently are, we may disconnect (Jesus never disconnects), but we remain His. Praise the Lord, as Israel also will praise the Lord that He will call them His people once more.
The greatest conclusion one can draw from this passage is that the grace of God is beyond any imaginable limit we may think of. Even when we think no limit, we cannot imagine the power, the depth, and the enormity of God's grace towards us even with a no limit thought! He makes a promise and keeps the promise. He is even willing to pay the price for Israel, despite thousands of years of rejection, and have them back, despite the lifestyle – harlotry - they have lived. God therefore, expects us to show mercy to all those we have contact with, love them with an unending love – not their deeds – we are to exhort, encourage, even expose and correct sin, but with love. We are to forgive a person a 1000 times for the same sin, then some, and some more after that. We do not walk away and leave them to their own devices, or for others to fix, (unless they have reached the state of Romans 16:17, but only until they repent). We as Christians have a responsibility towards our brothers and sisters. Others (non-Christians) may offer them a form of love, but be willing to sell them on as Gomer's lover did. No, they need our love, our faithfulness towards them as fellow heirs, despite the misery they have dug for themselves in the mud of self-destruction. We are to assist them by dragging them out through the Holy Spirit's work in us, only rarely needing to turn them over to Satan for a time (1 Corinthians 5:5), in order to bring them to their senses.
Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. (Colossians 3:12-17)
Let us pray
 New King James Version, Olive Tree Bible Software Bible+ v6 accessed 20/08/2015
 This is a play on words – A sower to sow, scatters the seeds onto the ploughed field, hence the word 'to sow', has the connotation of scattering.
 Jamieson, Faucet and Brown Commentary Hosea, Olive Tree Bible Software Bible+ v6 accessed 22/08/20