When Hosea’s wife, Gomer, committed adultery against him, he suffered the agony of betrayal, humiliation, and shame.
To the neighbors and friends who saw his pain, Hosea delivered a divine message through words and actions: Israel, God’s wife, was just like Gomer. The chosen people were committing spiritual adultery.
The prophet Jeremiah compared God’s unfaithful people to “a prostitute” who lived with many lovers despite everything that God provided for them (Jer. 3:1, NIV). In a similar way, the prophet Ezekiel called idolatrous Israel “an adulterous wife” who had departed from her true husband (Ezek. 16:32, NKJV). For this reason, idolatry in the Bible is viewed asspiritual adultery.
Read Hosea 2:8-13. What warning is given here? In what ways could we, as Seventh-day Adventists, be in danger of doing the same thing in principle?
The expression “grain, new wine and oil” also is used in the book of Deuteronomy (Deut. 7:12-14, NIV) to describe Israel’s staple produce that people enjoyed in abundance in accordance with God’s promises as given through Moses. In Hosea’s time, the people were so ungrateful to God, so wrapped up in the world around them, that they were presenting these gifts, originally given them by God, to their false idols. What a warning this should be to all of us that the gifts we have been given should be used in the service of the Lord, and not in ways that never were intended for them (Matt. 6:24).
“How does God regard our ingratitude and lack of appreciation of his blessings? When we see one slight or misuse our gifts, our hearts and hands are closed against him. But those who received God’s merciful gifts day after day, and year after year, misapply his bounties, and neglect the souls for whom Christ has given his life. The means which he has lent them to sustain his cause and build up his kingdom are invested in houses and lands, lavished on pride and self-indulgence, and the Giver is forgotten.”—Ellen G. White, Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, December 7, 1886.
Think about how easy it is to take the gifts given you by God and use them selfishly, or even in an idolatrous manner. What are practical ways of preventing this sin in our lives?