Time Out (by Jerry Schmoyer)
The story of Hosea and Gomer is one of the strangest love stories in literature. Imagine God telling a prophet, a committed servant of his, to marry a woman who was (or who would become) a prostitute! God gave him a deep love for a woman who would break his heart over and over. She didn’t share his commitment to God. She wasn’t faithful. She wasn’t a good mother. It doesn’t even seem like he was the father of the children she bore. She didn’t love Hosea back. She was bitter, angry and self-seeking. She only thought about herself. Even when the life she was living led to slavery and Hosea sought her out and paid good money to buy her back she didn’t seem to love him. But later on, love and appreciation would grow. Still, imagine how this was for Hosea, a prophet who spoke for God and tried to turn the people back to God. His own wife was among the worst. How it must have hurt him and burdened his heart. So why did God make such a demand on Hosea?
Hosea was living out his message. Day after day he preached about God’s unconditional love for His people. Even though the Jews were unfaithful to Him and committed spiritual adultery with false gods and pagan idols, He still loved them. They took advantage of Him, used Him, hurt Him and deserted Him. So what did He do? In love He pursued them and paid the price to buy them back and restore them to the place that was rightfully theirs. He did this because He loved them. He loved them. It was one thing for Hosea to speak the words but another to actually live them out right in front of the very people he was speaking to.
God wants us to tell others about Him and His love. But more than that, He wants us to show it by how we love them. Loving those we like is easy, but to love those we don’t like, those who hurt and take advantage of — that’s the kind of unconditional love the world needs to see because it reflects God’s love. We can only do that through His strength, but He calls us to do more than preach a message — He calls us to live it first of all. That means starting in our home, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, be a reflection of His unconditional, sacrificial love. Standing up and speaking God’s message is easy and rewarding, but living it? That can be tough. But that’s where it must start, in our daily lives. Does your life reflect the unconditional love of God which your words speak. It better, for words alone won’t do much good.
1 John 4:7-12, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”
1 John 4:16, “God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.”
1 John 4:19-21, “We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.”
- Are there any areas in your life where your walk is not matching your words? Confess it and ask God to help you be faithful in that area.
- God has a higher standard and greater expectations for those who commit their lives to serve Him. Are you willing to be more than a mouthpiece for Him, but to be an example as well, no matter what it will cost?
- Who are you having trouble showing unconditional love to now? Why? Ask God to give you His love for them and for you to see them as He sees them?
- What can you do today to show unconditional love to someone you’ve been having a hard time loving?
Jerry Schmoyer has been a minister in Pennsylvania for over 25 years and has worked with teenagers for 14 years, ever since I became one myself. He authors the weekly Time Out series here at Life in Student Ministry in hopes to spiritually refresh your soul as you continually pour so much of yourself into students. God bless!
Posted on July 26, 2009