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Once Upon a Marriage - Week 4

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Hosea was a prophet, "Hello!" Who was told by God to marry a harlot named Gomer. "Hello!" At first, their marriage was lovely and productive, but soon Hosea became distracted by work. Gomer became distracted by other things. "Hello!" And before long, Gomer bore another son, which looked suspiciously like the mailman. "Wait a minute!" "Uh oh!" Find out what Hosea did next this week in Once Upon a Marriage. Those videos crack me up, I just think they are funny! If you have your Bibles with you or your mobile phones with YouVersion, let's turn to the Book of Hosea in the Old Testament. As you are turning there, are you ready for a challenging message? If so, say yes! Say sock it to me! Sock it to me again! Okay, just remember you asked for it okay? So, just remember you asked for it! Just a couple of real light opening questions. How many of you plan on one day committing adultery, cheating on your spouse, getting something on the side? How many of you? Raise your hand, raise your hand, raise your hands. How many of you plan on getting married, popping out a few kids and then getting a bitter, ugly divorce? Divorce, divorce, divorce. Five year plan, ten year plan; divorce, divorce, divorce. Interesting, interesting; I ask you, do you plan on doing these things and nobody does. And yet, the half or so of you will do both, according to statistics. Somewhere, more than half, according to some studies will commit adultery. Somewhere around half, according to almost every study will end up divorced. You don't plan on doing that and yet a lot of people do. Why is that? All sorts of answers are possible. One of them I believe, is that society does a horrible job preparing people for marriage. In fact, I would argue that society is more successful at preparing people for divorce. Think about it. What dating has become is really good preparation for divorce. Think about it, it used to be there were things reserved for marriage. Now the difference between dating and marriage is often just a little ceremony that doesn't mean a whole lot to people because when they're dating, they do what married people used to do. Little things, like say I love you and give you my heart and physical things and sharing our bodies and staying the night in the same bed and sharing the same sink with a toothbrush, and living together and such. So, people basically play house, pretend to be married, do married things. When it doesn't work out, they take their toothbrush and their broken heart, pick it up and basically practice divorce. After we've done that with two or three people, or eight people, or twelve people, or twenty two people, it's no wonder that when the only thing that's really different is a little ceremony that doesn't mean that much to that many people. When things get tough, why is it any wonder that many people grab their toothbrush and what's left of their heart and move on? Society has trained us well for divorce. Many of you who will be married one day, or who are married now, you are going to face some bumps in the road. The normal logic is, when things get tough, take your toothbrush and go somewhere else. What I want to do today is look at a story that is very painful, and very beautiful all at the same time. We will see that when there is every good reason for divorce, often times God has something different. We are going to look at a couple named Hosea and Gomer. Everybody say Hosea, everybody say Gomer! Hosea is the man and Gomer is the unfortunate woman, who again has a horrible name! Gomer, I mean that's almost as bad as Hagar; not quite, Hagar is worse! But Gomer is pretty bad. And we are going to see a marriage that had every reason to end in divorce, but we are going to watch as God calls these people to something different. Let me give you the context. This was at 760 years before the birth of Christ. Jeroboam II was king of the northern kingdom of Israel, and they were enjoying the time of unprecedented prosperity. Sadly though, whenever there is economic increase, there's almost always moral and spiritual decrease; and that is what we were seeing here. So, God raised up a prophet, named Hosea, to speak into the spiritual adultery and vial sins of the people of the land. Hosea, Chapter 1:2-3 tells us; in the beginning it is a very unusual story. When the Lord began to speak through Hosea, the Lord said to him, God's going to ask him to do something that is insane in my mind, God says: God says, "Go, take to yourself... (you can say it in church, work with me!) "..an adulterous wife and children of unfaithfulness,..." The Hebrew word translated as 'adulterous wife' can be translated as harlot, or prostitute. God tells the prophet to go marry a very immoral woman. Why would God do that? He says: "...Because the land (or the people of the land) are guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the Lord." So he married Gomer daughter of Diblaim,.." This Diblaim became famous years later, when Fantasy Island was popular and Tattoo every week would shout; help me out, he would shout "The plane!" I know that's bad, work with me! Those of you under 35 years of age, you are going, "What is Fantasy Island?" Don't worry about it, just praise God that you do not know! It's a good thing! So he married Gomer daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son. Pause. Why in the world would God tell this budding young prophet to go marry a prostitute? This story is very difficult to stomach. This story has got layers upon layers. We are going to watch as one layer is a very literal story between Hosea and immoral Gomer. Then, we are going to see another layer, which is a picture of God; just like Hosea is loving this immoral woman, God is loving the immoral people, Israel. Just like another layer is God, who is loving us as we continue to reject and sin against Him. So throughout this whole story, there's layers upon layers of meaning buried in this very disturbing and yet very beautiful marriage. Let me do this, just to make it easy to understand; I'm going to put their marriage in the context of our day. If they were living today, it would go something like this: You've got this girl with a pretty bad past. One day she meets a young preacher and God tells the preacher to marry this girl. So the preacher is probably thinking; well, if God told me to do this, it's going to work out good, because if God leads me to do something, it's going to be a good thing. She's probably thinking; wow, he's nice and he's not just looking for one thing and he's got a good job, and I like his family, finally a decent man likes me. So, they go and they get married and they've got these hopes and dreams. They go to Hawaii, and they get a little happy in Hawaii and they get pregnant, okay. They come back and they are all excited, what are we going to have? What are we going to have? She gets a little poochie, poochie, and then one day the baby kicks and she's like, oh; she's falling in love with the baby and they go and they get the ultrasound, is it a girl? Is it a boy? And they look on, they are like, there's a stem on the apple; it's a boy! It's a boy! So, they are going through names, what are we going to name him and this and that, and no it's an old boyfriend, can't name him that. She had lots of old boyfriends, so they are narrowing down, what are they going to call this kid? They are doing the baby showers, and painting the room blue! Then, one day the baby is born, and she looks down; oh, he's got your toes, he's got your eyes, and they are going through this whole deal. They are happy, and dreaming of this great future. Then life happens. Much the way it may have happened to you. His ministry picks up, he's spending more time at the church. She's resentful, because he's not really helping with the baby. He doesn't know what to do, he doesn't know how to change poopy diapers, doesn't like them, so he's neglecting that. She's upset, he's not taking out the garbage, like her Dad did. Every woman knows, every guy is supposed to take out the garbage, his Dad didn't do it, so he didn't really know, he didn't know it was his job. She's upset. She's letting herself go. Her body is not what it used to be, she just had a kid, she's coming down with all of these wacko hormones. She's not real friendly and she's feeling trapped, and he's feeling neglected. She's not paying much attention to his needs because she's not and he's not, and they're not doing well. Then one day something happens. An old boyfriend talks to her on facebook. She goes down to the gym to try to get back in shape with a cute trainer who pays attention to her. She takes a part time job, because finances are tight, and there's a guy there that's really nice. The red-headed mailman shows up one day too many. Something happens and this woman believes the most common marriage misconception that there is and she buys into the lie and believes that what I'm missing is better than what I have. What I'm missing is better than what I have. I've got a pretty good guy here, but he's not bringing me everything that I want. Those things that I do not have are more important than the many things that he's bringing. So, what she does in verse 5 of Hosea 2: ...She said, 'I will go after my lovers, who give me my food and my water, my wool and my linen, my oil and my drink.' Although this guy, he offers me so much, there are few things he doesn't offer me that someone else can. So, she does what people have done for centuries, they trade the 80 for the 20. One of the most foolish and most common trades there is. They trade the 80 for the 20. You say, what in the world are you talking about? Well, in decent marriage, a person is gonna provide and meet about 80% of your needs and expectations; no one is going to meet 100%. It is physically impossible, you want to set someone up for failure? Pretend like they can meet all of your needs and expectations, no one can. This guy is delivering at about 80%, but yet there is this 20% that he is incapable of delivering. And so, since she doesn't have the 20%, she takes the 80% and trades it in for the 20% and ends up with far less than she had in the first place. I don't know what 20% these other men offered. Maybe, because they got busy, he got distracted and he wasn't as on his game because he just wasn't. So, some other guy, he listened to her, and he complimented her. Or, maybe he bought her little gifts, or told her she was special. Or maybe he had a better income than this other minister guy, and promised her more things. In the man's world, it could go like this; you know, this other woman at work, you know, she thinks I'm cool. I mean, she doesn't tear me down all of the time and she laughs at my corny jokes, and she enjoys watching sports with me and we have these things in common. Let's just be honest, she's more exciting than my wife. They trade in the 80 for the 20, and end up with less than they had in the first place. They believe the lie, what I'm missing is better than what I have. I was working with a total, 100%, full-blown idiot! He's a friend of mine, so I have the right to call him an idiot. He is an idiot, I'm telling you right now if your listening, you are still an idiot. You're an idiot. This idiot, after 18 years of marriage, decided to trade in his wife for a woman half her age. He liked her at work, and his reasoning was, we have more in common. Their more in common was they liked to watch old movies, and they liked to play golf, and they liked to have forbidden sex, which is impossible to have with your wife, because it's no longer forbidden. So, there's more excitement and all of this stuff, and I was just in his face saying; "Dude, you are going to destroy what you've worked for all of these years." He's like, "No, I've got more in common." I said, "Listen to me, how can you have more in common than 18 years of history and three children with this woman who has been faithful to you? You are trading the 80 for the 20." And sure enough, he ended up with 20%, and he thought for years that the grass was greener somewhere else. I told him in his face, "Whenever the grass looks greener somewhere else, it's time to water your own yard!" If it looks better somewhere else, it's only because you can't smell the poop in the other yard! You're not close enough! You get close and you are going to find some poop over there too! What is missing is not better than what you have, if you will invest in what you have! What is more in common than the years of faithfulness you have to one another, and the children that you had together? And yet, it's so, so common, because life starts happening and we start to believe the lie that what I'm missing is better than what I have. This is what Gomer did. She went out, met a couple of other guys and got pregnant and had these kids. She had a daughter named Lo-ruhamah. And God actually told her husband to name this daughter, Lo-ruhamah; her name means unpitied, unloved, or not loved by the true father. These names were actually revealing the hurt that God had. Then she went out and found another guy and got pregnant with a son, and God said; "Call Him Lo-ammi," which means no kin of mine, not related to me. You can start to hear the hurt that God has when His people are rejecting Him over and over and over again. If you've ever been cheated on, you know the pain. God felt cheated on. God felt like His people were committing spiritual adultery. If you read through this book, it's really painful to watch God hurt, and this is what He does. He hurts, and I could try to spin it and make it look like what it's not; but, what it is, is He kind of throws a fit, and He really does. You can read it and He is just like, He's angry, He's hurt, He's jealous; and He has every right to be, because He is God and He wants all of our hearts. I want to just again, divert a little bit from the marriage, to where I want to look at God's heart for a minute, and show His two responses to spiritual adultery, because quite honestly, there are some today who are sinning grievously against God. This is how are sin makes Him feel. His first response, if you are taking notes, is He has this very righteous anger. There is such a thing as unrighteous anger, and there is such a thing as righteous anger. This is God speaking of the people of Israel and He says this in Hosea 2:8-10, He says: She has not acknowledged that I was the one who gave her the grain, the new wine and oil, who lavished on her the silver and gold... "Therefore I will take away my grain when it ripens, and my new wine when it is ready. I will take back my wool and my linen, intended to cover her nakedness. So now I will expose her lewdness before the eyes of her lovers; no one will take her out of my hands. You can hear this hurt, you can hear this jealousy; because in the Old Testament God says, I'm a jealous God, you can have no other gods before me. You have no idols, you worship me and me alone and because He's God, He has every right to ask for that. When He knows how good He is, and how foolish we are for rejecting Him, it hurts Him, it makes Him angry. He says, "Give me your heart and your love." Then you can almost hear Him saying, you know what? You want to do life without me, let's see how it is. You want to go do life without me? Go do it and see how you like it! I can almost sense that God may do that with marriages today. God may say, you know what? You want to do marriage without me? Do it! See how it works out! Go and put idols at the front of your life and not me! Go and do marriage without my Word and my presence! You want to see how it goes? Try it! That's the way many people are living today, isn't it? Then, I kind of like this; God says, there's a sense of possessiveness, ain't nobody going to steal her from me! I would say that if you were ever betrayed and you find yourself a bit angry, don't go beating yourself up, "I'm being a non-christian!" There's a time where there's a righteous anger. You know, "We swore before before God and you broke that and I'm not happy about it." That's not always an unrighteous stance. And there can be even some possessiveness with this, which is; "You know what Satan? You are not stealing my marriage! You think I'm going to role over and go away like most people? Oh, no, no, no, no! When I said something to God, I meant it, and I am going to fight for this thing. I don't care what ole' bozo is doing, I don't care where they are, I don't care if they are out, I'm in! I am still in this baby! No one is taking this away from me!" Sadly, in our society today we have been trained, oh it's difficult, let's do what we've done 18 times before which is, take our toothbrush and go somewhere else. God might say, just because you do have grounds for divorce, it doesn't mean you give up that easily. I'll fight for this thing. So, God responds with this righteous anger. But, here's the deal; we are not going to get very far if we always stay angry. If you read this story, there is this beautiful and very sudden shift in God's response. I mean, it's sudden. He's angry, and then just bomb! As fast as He is angry, He shows a second response, and that is a very, very definite unfailing love. A righteous anger, and an unfailing love. Here is the shift, it happens in verses 14-15, He says: "Therefore I am now going to allure her;" Listen to the language, it's beautiful! "....I'm going to allure her; I will lead her into the..." The most dry place, where there's nothing else for her to depend on but me. "....I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope." In your Bibles, you might circle the word Achor and write out right beside it trouble, because that's what it means. Very literally what it means. I will make the valley of trouble into a door of hope. I will make the valley of trouble, a door of hope. Did you know, there are basically two ways to have a great marriage? Way number one, is do everything right. It works, I promise! Just don't sin! Do it right! Way number two is to walk through the Valley of Achor together, until you find the door of hope. What does that mean? You don't always do everything right. You sin, you mess up, you do cruel things, you're rebellious, you reject one another, you repent, you return to God, you cry together, you hug, you apologize, you cry some more, you let God break off some of your rough edges, you make Him conform your mind to the mind of Christ, you conform your heart to the heart of Christ. You mess up again, you cry some more. You walk through the valley of trouble, and on the other side, when you walk through together, there is always a door of hope. Some of the best marriages I know walk through the valley of betrayal, walk through the valley of adultery, walk through the valley of pornography, walk through the valley of rejection, walk through the valley of deceit; and when they walk through it together, with God leading the way, they always come to the door of hope. Here's the deal, I promise you; some of you, you're married, but you've given up on it. If you will continue to pursue God, especially if the two of you will; if the two of you, both of you will pursue God, I promise you, you will always walk through the Valley of Achor to the door of hope. The challenge is that sometimes you are someone that is not going to walk with you. So, what you do is you just decide that you are going to walk alone, with your hand out, ready to accept your spouse, whenever your spouse is ready to join you. But, you are not letting go of God. You are not letting go of God. Some of you right now, you are in the Valley of Achor, and you just can't have any hope. I am telling you, there is always hope with God. There's always hope with Him. I told you this was going to be tough, and it doesn't get any easier from here. This is a tough message. God's going to say the most amazing thing to this man who has been nothing but faithful, and been nothing but betrayed by this woman. If you fast forward in the story, what she's done is she is now left him, and he's shown his love to her again and again and again, and she is out prostituting herself again, which you can only imagine how horrible that would be. And the text even implies that she's got a pimp, or a manager basically; because as you read into it, she's full on into this business of prostituting herself. God gives a very clear, very challenging, and very profound message to the betrayed spouse, and here's what God says; summarized, here is what I want you to do. I want you to forgive and love as you've been forgiven and loved. In my mind, I'd say you know what? Blow that girl off! Seriously, she's done that, you know what? She had her chance, you tried, blow her off, let her go. God is going to say something and it was God speaking and He told Hosea this, Hosea 3:1: The Lord said to me, "Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress...." Can we pause for a moment and just ask the question, how in the world, how? I'm in his shoes, how is that possible? How? I can't find that in my emotions. This is how, God says here's how: "....Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods...." Love her, love her as God is loving us right now, as we do not deserve it. Love her as God is loving us, as we continue to worship the idols of this world. Love her as God continues to freely love us as we openly and consistently reject His goodness. How do you love and forgive? The same way that He has loved and forgiven us. Now, this is getting to where we all live. There's no guarantees what she's gonna do. And there's no guarantees this marriage isn't going to end up in divorce. There are no guarantees that your marriage isn't going to end up in divorce. If you do everything right, there's no guarantees. But, even though we can't control the outcome, God is very, very clear on what we should do. That is, we should love and forgive as we've been loved and forgiven. Now, what this also doesn't mean, it doesn't mean if you've forgiven, you don't become this big honkin' door mat! It doesn't mean that if you're trying to reconcile, you don't bring some new rules to the game. It doesn't mean that you don't, you know, if he's always out looking at porn that his computer doesn't go away. You might move to a new town, it doesn't mean you don't make some changes. It doesn't mean that you just let someone walk all over you, but what it does mean is that no matter what your spouse does, you are going to choose to do what's right, even though there's no guarantees. That's a hard part of this story. There's nothing easy about that, because I can promise you, when it gets tough, every friend around you, most friends around you are going to say, "Dump him, break it off, get divorced." That's what you've been trained to do anyway. It may be, that God would say, "It's not time to give up yet!" Marriage is really, really important. My goal is not to bring condemnation on those who have been divorced, and there are times when you are going to do everything right, and you are going to end up divorced, because someone else won't. But, it doesn't mean you don't go down without trying to do the right thing to honor God. These topics bring up a lot of emotion. I had some people come up to me saying, "Thanks for the series, but you just don't understand Craig, you're married to Amy, and you know, you guys don't have problems!" I just want to say, whoa dog, back up that train! Okay, I'm serious, I want you to think about this. Do you really think that we've had six children together without challenges that go with that? You really are going to insult me in such a big way. Come over to my house for dinner for one hour for one night! Okay, and just see the dynamics. The strain that puts on our marriage, the stresses of their schedules, do you really think that we started this ministry in a two car garage with nothing and have led through all the changes and all the innovations, and all the controversy, and all the criticism, and all of the spiritual pressure, and all the hurt relationships, and all of the public attention both good and bad, and all of the weight of that, and the grueling schedule; do you really think that we've been through that all of these years, and it wasn't really hard on our marriage? My wife's health problems for years, and burying her brother at the age of 34, please don't insult us and pretend like we don't go through things. Here's what we've done; we've walked over and over and over again, through the Valley of Achor, over and over and over again, through the Valley of Achor; and there has always been a door of hope. I was talking to a couple this week, that the husband betrayed the wife. They have this phenomenal marriage. I said, "Would you undo the adultery?" And she said, "I would never want anyone to endure what I endured, but I wouldn't change what I walked through, for what I have now. That's what God can do through the door of hope, if you walk through it, if you walk through it. Let me tell you the end of the story. God tells this prophet to go and pursue his very immoral wife and here's what he does, to go show his love again, this is what he does; he goes and takes his own money, and he purchases out of prostitution. He pays for his wife, which is precisely what God did for us. That while we were prostituting ourselves against God, while we were still sinners, Christ died for the ungodly. He shed His blood to purchase us back, so we could truly know His love. We don't know how the marriage ended. There is no record of what she did. My thought is, once he did that, how in the world could she ever walk away from him again? Because he loved her enough to purchase her out of her sin. The reason I feel that way, is because when I look at what God did for us through Christ, I just ask the same question; how could we not offer Him our whole lives back? When you see what He did for us, then you can see why He wants all of our hearts, and you can see why His heart breaks when we continue to commit spiritual adultery against Him; because He said, "I gave it all for you, and I want all of you. I want your heart, I want your worship, all of your faithfulness, I want you to lay down your life and know me and serve me forever. When you see what He did, what other kind of response could we have? Tough sermon? You asked for it! God, do a work in a way that only you can do. God, I acknowledge the layers of pain and all of the different emotions and hurt and confusion, and I pray there would not be a sense of guilt; but God, somehow there would be a sense of hope. As you're praying today at all of our locations, let me just ask very broadly, in any area of your life, it could be relationally, it could be spiritually, it could be financially, it could be emotionally, it could be any number of things. How many of you would say, "Right now, I feel like I'm in the Valley of Achor?" Raise your hands, raise your hands right now, lift them up. God I pray, I pray for those who are there, or those who would one day be there. God, I pray that your presence would be so real, even as you promise us in the 23rd Psalm, that we will walk through the valley of the shadow of death and we will fear no evil, because you are with us God. The valley of the shadow of death, the Valley of Achor, the valley of desperation, the valley of depression, the valley of rejection, the valley of the struggling marriage, the valley of financial hardship, the valley of fear, the valley of self doubts, the valley of guilt. God, we embrace you. God, teach us to put our faith in you, not in another person, not in our own ideas, not in our own ability to manipulate, or to get our desired outcome, but to put our faith in you. God as you may even lure us into the desert to speak tenderly to us; God, give us the faith in the valley, that no matter what we endure, there is always a door of hope. God, for those who have given up on their marriages, God I pray for a door of hope. Even acknowledging God, that's no guarantee, but give them a door of hope, give them a door of hope. As you keep praying today, some of you, you know what? You may be in a valley right now, and this may be a purposeful valley. This is what's crazy about God, He loves you so much, He will take you into the desert to get your attention! He will, He will lead you into the desert, where He can speak tenderly to you. Some of you right now, you are in the desert, you are in the valley. You don't know where else to turn. Guess what? He's speaking to you, He's alluring you, He's reaching out to you. Here's what He's saying, He's saying you know what? I love you so much, I'm willing to purchase you out. I love you so much, that I sent my Son, Jesus for you. You can't get out yourself, you can't overcome your sin yourself. I sent Jesus to do for you, what you could never do for yourself. I loved you that much, I sent my Son, Jesus; who shed innocent blood for the forgiveness of your sin, that if you call on Him, you will be saved, you will be forgiven, you will be transformed. I will lead you through the valley, into a door of hope. The door of hope is Christ. Jesus said, "I am the door through which all men enter." He is the way, He is the truth, He is the life. Perhaps you are in a valley by divine appointment, because it's time for you to truly call on Jesus. Let me just ask you, you may believe in Him, you may be kind of around the church and not around the church, is He truly first? Does God say, "You know what, I've got all of you?" Because that's what He wants and He has a right to ask for it. When you call on Jesus, it's everything, everything. Not just a selfish, keep me out of hell prayer, that's nothing but selfish, but a fool blown surrender; Jesus, I give you my whole life. There are those of you here because God wanted you here for this moment to surrender completely unto Him. All of our campuses, those of you who would say, "Yes, I'm in the valley and I want the hope, Jesus be my hope, my Savior, my Lord." Lift your hands high right now, lift them up high, leave them up if you will and let me just meet you eye to eye. All four of you right here together, God has something for all four of you, praise God for you! Ma'am, right back here, God bless you guys. Right back over here in this section, and both of you right here, praise God for you! Right back over here, and way back over here in the back and others; I want to see you, I want to acknowledge you, right back here. Welcome into God's family, right back over here, and right back over here as well. Call on His name, Jesus, call on Him, right back here, in this middle section toward the back and way back here, God bless you as well. Those of you at Church Online, just click right below me. All of our campuses, praying together, everybody pray aloud. Pray Heavenly Father, I am a sinner who needs a Savior. Jesus, save me, change me, make me new, lead me through the valley to the door of hope, you are my hope of a new life. I believe you died for me, so I could live for you. I give you all of my life. Thank you for new life, now you have mine. In Jesus' Name I pray! Life Church, explode with worship of a good God! Welcome those today born into His family!

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Duration: 37 minutes and 4 seconds
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Posted by: lifechurchopen on Sep 28, 2011

Once Upon a Marriage - Week 4 - Craig Groeschel - LifeChurch.tv

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