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Hosea & Gomer
by John Piper

The old man and his wife sat by
The winter fire and looked out high
Above the plains of Ephraim,
And saw around the last regime
Of Israel the shadows snake
Their way from east to west and take
Possession of Samaria.
“How long until Assyria,’
They thought, “would break Hoshea’s rod,
And violate the wife of God?”

But strange as it may seem, the doom
They saw across the land left room
For hope. And when they looked into
Each other’s eyes, as they would do
At night, they knew, as none could know
But they, that God would bend his bow
Against the charms of foreign men,
And take his faithless wife again.
They knew it could and would be done,
As surely as the rising sun
Drives darkness back unerringly,
And drowns it in the western sea.
They knew, because they had rehearsed
The tragedy and played it first
Themselves with passion and deceit.

“It’s true that life is far more sweet,”
Hosea thought, “when it is lost,
Then bought again at dreadful cost;
And love grows strong when it must wait,
And deep when it is almost hate.”

Such things as these he often said
To Gomer as they watched the red
And crimson echoes of the sky
Descend Mount Tabor’s cliffs and die
In darkness far below. And she
Would say to him, “Your love for me
Was like a mountain waterfall,
And I the jagged stone. Of all
The knives and hammers once applied
None made me smooth or clean. They tried,
But harlotry was in my blood,
Until your love became a flood
Cascading over my crude life
And kept me as your only wife.”

They knew as none but they could know
What it would mean that long ago
The Lord allowed his love to swell,
And married faithless Israel.

The passing of the years now found
The children grown and gathered ’round
This night: Jezreel and Loammi,
Hosea’s sons, and at his knee
Loruhamah. The room was sweet
With memories, and each replete
With pleasure and with ample pain.
Among the memories one main
Experience above the rest
Embraced them all. It was the best;
Indeed it was the mountain spring
Of every happy stream from which
The family ever drank, and rich
With hope. It was Hosea’s love.
The children stood in wonder of
The way he loved, and Gomer too.
But this had not always been true.

Hosea used to say, “It’s hard
To be a seer, and prophet bard.
The price is high when he must sing
A song of ruin over everything
In lyrics written with his life
And lose his children and his wife.”

And so it was, Hosea heard
The Lord. It was the strangest word
A holy prophet ever got:
And every pointed precept shot
Like arrows at Hosea’s life:
“Go take a harlot for your wife,”
Thus says the Lord, “And feel with me
The grief and pain of harlotry.
Her father’s name is Diblaim;
He makes fertility with cream
And raisin cakes. He will not see
Her go without a price, for she
Has brought him profits from her trade.
Now go, and let her price be paid;
And bring her back and let her bear
Your son. Call him Jezreel. For there
Is coming soon a day when I
Will strike and break the bloody thigh
Of Jehu’s brutal house, and seal
With blood the valley of Jezreel.

And after that, though she’s defiled.
Go in, and get another child,
And make your tender face like rock.
Call her Loruahmah and lock
Your heart against all sympathy:
`Not pitied’ is her name. No plea
From faithless Israel will wake
My sympathy till I forsake
My daughter in the wilderness.

Now multiply once more distress:
Hosea, go beget a son,
For there is yet one child to shun,
And call him Loammi, in shame,
For `Not My People’ is his name.”

Hosea used to walk along
The Jordan rim and sing the song
His father Beeri used to sing.
Sometimes the tune and truth would bring
Him peace, and he would pause and look
At all the turns the Jordan took,
To make its way down to the sea,
And he would chant from memory:

Think not, my son, that God’s great river
Of love flows simply to the sea,
He aims not straight, but to deliver
The wayward soul like you and me.
Follow the current where it goes,
With love and grace it ever flows.

The years went by, the children grew,
The river bent and Gomer knew
A dozen men. And finally
She left and traveled to the sea,
And sold herself to foreign priests
Who made the children serve at feasts
Until they had no shame.
And then
The God of grace came down again,
And said, “Hosea, go, embrace
Your wife beside the sea. And place
Your hand with blessing on the head
Of Loammi, and raise the dead
Loruhamah to life in me,
And tell Jezreel that I will be
For him a seed of hope to sow
In righteousness. Hosea, go,
The gracious river bends once more.”

And so the prophet loved these four
Again, and sought them by the sea,
And bought them with the equity
Of everything he owned.
That was
The memory tonight, because
Hosea loved beyond the way
Of mortal man. What man would say,
“Love grows more strong when it must wait,
And deeper when it’s almost hate.”

Jezreel spoke softly for the rest,
“Father, once more let us be blessed.
What were the words from long ago
That gave you strength to love us so?
Would you please bless us with your rhyme,
And sing it for us one more time?”

“Think not, my son, that God’s great river
Of love flows simply to the sea,
He aims not straight, but to deliver
The wayward soul like you and me.
Follow the current where it goes.
With love and grace it ever flows.”

“And children,” Gomer said with tears,
“Mark this, the miracle of years.”
She looked Hosea in the face
And said, “Hosea, man of grace,
Dark harlotry was in my blood,
Until your love became a flood
Cascading over my crude life
And kept me as your only wife.
I love the very ground you trod,
And most of all I love your God.”

 I’m really excited about our Sunday morning bible study this week!  I’ve been WAITING for this (I know!  Don’t laugh!  I say that every week.)  We get to tell the kids about Mephiboseth, though!  As fun as that is… the best part is that he is only a springboard to dive into CHRIST!!!  I can hardly wait to gush about my God to the kiddos again!!! 

I first heard about Mephiboseth when my dad FORCED me to listen to a tape, many many years ago!  It fell on deaf ears. 

But OH!  When I became a believer!!!  I heard it again and it stole my heart!

Worship your King!
Take the time to listen to a more recent version: Covenant Mercies and Fetching Grace!

Here’s an outline, too!

Saul; the people’s king, had been rejected by God for disobedience and rebellion (I Sam. 15:26); and David, a man after God’s own heart (I Sam. 13:14), now reigned over all Israel. One of David’s first acts as king was to inquire of the house of Saul, “Is there yet any left of the house of Saul, that I might show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” Ziba, a former servant of the house of Saul, reported to David that Mephibosheth, son of Jonathan, yet lived and was a cripple, lame on both feet. David sent and fetched Mephibosheth and gave him the estate of Saul with many servants and a place at the king’s table all the days of his life.

This is a beautiful picture of the grace and mercy of God toward unworthy sinners for Christ’s sake, which can be told in SEVEN words.

    1. (Vs. 3) “AND THE KING SAID…”

    Where the word of the king is, there is power, authority, and total sovereignty. There is no council, no conference, and no bargaining here. The king speaks from his sovereign throne, and what he decrees shall be done.

    Our God is infinitely sovereign over all his CREATION. He reigns in total authority in heaven and earth (Psalm 115:1-3; Dan. 4:34-35). Our God is sovereign in PROVIDENCE (I Sam. 2:6-8; Isa. 45:5-7; Isa. 46:9-11) . There may be second and third causes, but God is the first cause of all things (Rom. 8:28; Eph. 1-11).

    Our God is sovereign in SALVATION (Exo. 33:18-19; Rom. 9:15-18; Jonah 2:9).

    2. (Vs. 3) “THAT I MIGHT SHOW THE KINDNESS OF GOD TO HIM.”

    The word kindness is MERCY. David, the king, was a man of mercy. The house of Saul was David’s enemy and deserved no mercy nor pity, but David found it in his heart to show mercy to some.

    Our God is holy, righteous, and just; but He is also merciful. He delights to show mercy (Psalm 130:3-7). Adam’s race is a fallen, rebellious race and deserves no mercy. God is not indebted to sinners, but He has determined to show mercy to some (Exo. 33:18-19). The language of religion is merit, rewards, and service; but the language of true redemption is MERCY. “I obtained mercy” (I Tim. 1:13-16). “Lord, be merciful to me, the sinner” (Luke 18:13).

    3. (Vs. 3) “WHICH IS LAME ON HIS FEET.”

    Ziba, the servant of the house of Saul, reported to David that Jonathan had a son called Mephibosheth, who lived in Lodebar and who was now a poor cripple because of a tragic fall when he was young (II Sam. 4:4).

    The word LAME through a fall not only describes Mephibosheth, but it is our condition since the fall of our father, Adam (Rom. 5:12, 17-19; I Cor. 15:21-22; Eph. 2:1-3). All of our faculties were affected by this fall, and in our flesh dwelleth no good (Rom. 3:9-19).

    4. (Vs. 5) “THEN DAVID SENT AND FETCHED HIM.”

    King David purposed to show mercy to someone of Saul’s house. When he heard that Jonathan had a crippled son in Lodebar, David sent his servant to where Mephibosheth was and fetched him; that is, the servant called and brought him to David.

    The Lord of glory is love, and love must be expressed. The Lord of glory in His sovereign mercy determined to show mercy to a fallen race. He set His love and affection on lame sinners and sent His only begotten Son into the world to be our Saviour (John 3:16-17; Gal. 4:4-5; Rom. 5:6-10). Christ came where we were, became what we are, and by His obedience and death honored the law, satisfied justice, and enabled God to be just and justifier of all who believe (Rom. 3:19-26; I Peter 3:18). He then sent His Holy Spirit to FETCH us, call us, and make us willing to come to Him (Gal. 1:15; Eph. 1:13-14; Psalm 110:3).

    5. (Vs. 7) “AND DAVID SAID FEAR NOT.”

    Mephibosheth was afraid in the presence of the king because he was of the house of the king’s enemy; therefore, he fell on his face before the king and did reverence. David said, “You have no cause to be afraid; I will show you kindness.”

    Men and women who know something of God’s holiness, their own nature and sin, and what the law and justice of the king demand have every reason to be afraid in His presence. God will punish sir,. “The soul that sinneth shall surely die.” “The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord” (Luke 18:13).

    6. (Vs. 7) “I WILL SURELY SHOW THEE KINDNESS FOR JONATHAN’S SAKE.”

    David said, “I have not fetched you to destroy you; so you need not be afraid. I will surely (certainly) show you mercy for the SAKE of Jonathan, your father, whom I love.” Before Mephibosheth was born, David made a COVENANT with Jonathan, promising to show mercy to Jonathan’s sons because of his love for him (I Sam. 20:11-17).

    Before the foundation of the world, God the Father entered into an everlasting covenant of mercy with the Lord Jesus Christ, giving Him a people out of Adam’s race and making Christ the surety and redeemer of those people (John 6: 37-45; John 10:24-30; John 17:1-3, 9; Eph. 1:3-14; II Thess. 2-13; Heb. 13: 20-21). The mercy and kindness God shows to sinners is because of His love for Christ (Rom. 8:35-39). It is for Christ’s sake (Col. 1:14-18).

    7. (Vs. 13) “FOR HE DID EAT CONTINUALLY AT THE KING’S TABLE.”

    David fulfilled every promise to Mephibosheth, as God will fulfill every promise to His elect in Christ; for none shall ever perish, but shall all be made like Christ and enjoy His presence forever (Rom. 8:33-39).

     

Dig into all of those Scriptures and find more!  Feast at your King’s table today!  He wants you there, DAILY!!!

 

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