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Israel and Gomer: Unfaithful

(Hosea 1:2-9; 2:1-4)

Lesson 7 -- third quarter 2001
July 15, 2001

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 2001, Christian Light Publications

What is faithfulness?

Faithfulness is not a feeling or an emotion. Faithfulness is a choice. Faithfulness is a choice that needs to be made often. How often? As often as the opportunity for unfaithfulness presents itself . . . and even before!

Faithfulness is not related to how we or other people feel. Faithfulness has nothing to do with circumstances. Faithfulness is not affected by the unfaithfulness of others. This is all true because faithfulness is an expression of character. And character doesn't go by feeling or circumstance or influence.

Faithfulness is the choice to do right because our character demands it.

They chose faithfulness.

Despite Gomer's repeated and deliberate unfaithfulness, Hosea chose faithfulness. That faithfulness showed itself in mercy, love, forgiveness and restoration. Because of his faithfulness he could put up with far more than any husband should have to put up with. His character moved him to put her well-being and God's message ahead of himself. Hosea could see beyond what she was to what she could become . . . if he were faithful.

Hosea's faithfulness allows us to see again a portion of the measure of God's faithfulness to Israel. But even more importantly, we can understand just a little more clearly how our unfaithfulness tests God . . . and how His character triumphs over our failings. Even in the face of our errors, sins and rebellious moments, God always chooses faithfulness.

Choose faithfulness!

Odds are you don't have a wife to whom you should be faithful. And if you do have a wife, she very likely does not test your faithfulness the way Gomer tested Hosea's faithfulness. Even so, this lesson has sufficient challenges and applications for you.

Be a faithful family member. When it comes to faithfulness in family settings, we invariably think of the husband and the wife being faithful to one another, and of children faithfully obeying their parents. However, all family members need to choose faithfulness to one another as parents or children or siblings. For instance, your siblings should know that they can depend on you to stand up for them in adversity. They should have confidence that you will never despise and reject them personally, no matter what. They should also be able to count on you doing your share of the work, and even theirs when they can't. What are some other ways of expressing faithfulness toward your family?

Be a faithful church member. Abiding by the rules and attending all services are two good, obvious ways of being faithful in a church setting. Helping needy members is another way to show faithfulness. How about praying for the members, guarding your example, shunning gossip and complaints, and giving and accepting reproof -- do they qualify as expressions of church member faithfulness? I would say so. Now you come up with some other ones.

My challenge for us here is that we allow God to continue His work in our lives, developing in us the character quality of faithfulness. When we have the opportunity to be unfaithful, let's choose faithfulness instead! May our faithfulness be a demonstration of God's own faithfulness.

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