Wednesday, May 31, 2006
by: Sheryl L. York
I would have to admit that one of my favorite Prophets in the bible is Hosea. There are a few reasons for this and I hope you won't mind my taking a minute to explain. For one he is quite an unusual man. The bible literally tells us that when the Lord began to use Hosea, He used him by demonstration. In fact Hosea was a man chosen in his day to live out God's message to His people. He wasn't one who just walked up and said a few 'Thus sayeth the Lords,' while hoping that the people would get the message and turn to their God. No, Hosea was told by God Himself to marry a harlot and have children with her. His intention was not just to share His love through words, but to show the people what He really meant when He said; "I love and accept you."
Hosea 1:2-3 When the LORD began to speak through Hosea, the LORD said to him, "Go, take to yourself an adulterous wife and children of unfaithfulness, because the land is guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the LORD." So he married Gomer daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son. NIV
I love what the Spirit Filled Life Bible shares about the content of the book of Hosea and will quote it hear below.
"The book of Hosea is about a people who needed to hear the love of God, a God who wanted to tell them, and the unique way God chose to demonstrate His love to His people. The people thought that love could be bought ("Ephraim has hired lovers," 8:9), that love was the pursuit of self-gratification ("I will go after my lovers who give me," 2:5), and that loving unworthy objects could bring positive benefits ("They became an abomination like the thing they loved," 9:10) God wanted Israel to know His love, which reached out for unlikely and unworthy objects ("When Israel was a child, I loved him," 11:1), which guided with gentle discipline ("bands of love," 11:4), and which persisted in spite of the peoples' running and resisting ("How can I give you up?" 11:8).
The problem was how to get this message of God's love to people not inclined to listen, and not likely to understand if they did listen. God's solution was to let the prophet be his own sermon. Hosea would marry an impure woman ("wife of harlotry," 1:2), love her fully and have children by her (1:3), and go after her and bring her back when she strays ("Go again, love," 3:1). In sum, Hosea was to show by his own love for Gomer the kind of love God had for Israel." end quote
God used the Prophet Hosea to live OUTLOUD for all to see what He was speaking to His people. The world at that time was not much different than it is today. On the plus side people were living in plenty and prosperity, but Hosea knew full well that there were corrupt leaders, unstable families and that there was widespread immorality, hatred and poverty. In fact in only a few short years there would be a political collapse of the nation. Hosea however, held out hope to inspire his people to turn back to God. "Hosea's strongest sermon was his relationship with his wife. The source of his power for preaching was his home and his family."
Another reason I love the story of Hosea and Gomer is because I believe that God used this same pattern in our lives. My husband Jerry was a born again and Spirit filled believer for 20 years before he met me. He had been called into the Prophetic years before meeting me and the Lord always seemed to use him in demonstration. Jerry preached and prophesied wherever the Lord would lead him, but to this day if you mention my husbands name to those who have seen or known of him they will say; "Yea, I remember him. He was the one who prophesied with one shoe off to make a point one time." or "You must be talking about the guy who took off his shirt to speak of the transparency the Lord was looking for in the body of Christ."
One thing that many wouldn't know however is that when Jerry met me I was not saved and was far from serving the Lord. In fact I was divorced from my first husband, and was pretty much out looking for love in all the wrong places. You might be surprised that I am admitting this to you, but I honestly believe that it is only in truth and transparency that the lives around us are changed. The truth is supposed to set us free, not bind us up. The Lord has revealed to me personally that the more honest I am today, the more I can shut up the mouth of the enemy who would attempt to come against me later on in the ministry that He has called me to. I have never understood those who keep secrets or Skeleton's in their closets. Anything that is hidden will be revealed dear friend, so if you are called and chosen the very best thing you can do for yourself is get everything out in the open and under the blood so that the enemy can't use it at a later time to hurt you in any way.
Jerry led me to Christ and to this day I don't believe anyone else could have been used in my life the way he was. It was seeing this man walk uprightly that revealed to me how far I had strayed from the Assembly of God teachings I had as a child. After only two months of knowing him I asked the Lord to take over my life. I had never known anyone who would love me unconditionally or forgive me for everything I had ever done. I was able to tell Jerry every awful, dark, horrible thing about me and my life and yet he didn't judge me. He just kept pointing me to Christ who he knew would receive and forgive me for all the things that were keeping me bound in darkness.
Where does Hosea and Gomer fit in?
A few months after I was born again, Spirit filled and committed to the Lord Jerry heard the Lord tell him that I was to be his wife. The Church he attended at the time was completely against him marrying me. He couldn't find support from anyone at all except his mother who wanted so much to see her son happy. (Side note: Today his mother is also born again and living a Spirit filled life which she admits she wanted because of seeing the life we lived of peace, joy and love). The Leaders and Elders however, believed that his wife should come through the Church and that marrying me (even though I was now saved) was going to lead him astray somehow. It is still today my belief that God used Jerry (like Hosea) to live outloud what He was saying to this particular church. God didn't want them to keep Him in a box. He was trying to tell them to see and go beyond themselves, their 4 walls and even their beliefs at the time. He was leading them back to loving those they deemed unworthy and to accepting all people in the beloved.
Very soon after we married I was cast out of the church and we were forced to move on. Of course back in those days it was difficult to see God's wonderful hand in it all, but today we know that God was leading us in a new direction and that He would carry us through. Sadly those in the Church didn't understand God's message for many years and by the time they did it was too late. Only a few years after we moved on the entire Church broke up and scattered. There were some terrific people in that church and many are still to this day serving the Lord and in the Ministry.
Unlike Gomer however, I did learn from my past mistakes and the Lord became all consuming for me. I began to grow in the things of the Lord and actually had to grow exponentially to play catch up as Jerry was already walking in the prophetic and learning the restoration of the Apostles even back then. Today we have been very happily married for more than 11 years and have 4 beautiful children together. God has truly blessed us far above what we ever could have thought back in those beginning days.
Taking God out of the Box...
Ask yourself this question. "Can others see the Lord speaking through my life?" Although God does speak through words He is not limited to speaking that way. He speaks through signs, symbols, metaphors, foreshadowing and of course we know that Jesus spoke in parables. One of the greatest things that ever happened to me was finding out that God was not limited thru using His people either. I found out that a Prophet wasn't just one who spoke like Elijah, or today who speaks like Kim Clement or Dr. Bill Hamon. Like these other men of God my husband could prophesy to individuals or corporately, but he was also used to speak to Leaders and even to the unsaved. When it was prophesied over me that I was a Prophet I thought the speaker was nuts. I guess you could say I was like Sara who laughed when she heard that she was supposed to get pregnant at a very old age. I couldn't possibly prophesy like I saw Jerry doing. I couldn't be called to be a Prophet, or could I?
One thing that we must constantly take into account is that God's ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts. If He can speak through a Donkey He can certainly speak through you and I. The question is, are you a willing vessel? Do you hear and obey or do you hear and question everything the Lord tells you and never really step out to do what He has said? Your obedience will be tested friend. If God speaks and you continue to ignore Him there are plenty of other fish in the sea. I often remind people of Jonah. We see children's animated movies about Jonah being swallowed up by a big fish and the movies always depict Jonah finally walking in obedience, but what the children's movies leave out is that the end of the book of Jonah is God basically rebuking him for his serious attitude problems. We don't really see Jonah used mightily again after his long journey to Nineveh. Therefore, our attitudes and/or disobedience apparently causes God some grief. I have to admit that I have been asked by God to do some pretty strange things. To this day it seems a little crazy, but I have finally come to a place where my obedience is far more important to me than how crazy I appear.
Another man who lived OUTLOUD was David, but let's take a look at 2 Samuel 6:14-16 Amplified.
And David danced before the Lord with all his might, clad in a linen ephod [a priest's upper garment].
So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting and with the sound of the trumpet.
As the ark of the Lord came into the City of David, Michal, Saul's daughter [David's wife], looked out of the window and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, and she despised him in her heart. 2 Samuel 6:14-16 Amplified
It is said about David that he was a man after God's own heart. If this is true and David had no problem dancing and leaping before the Lord then what must Michal's heart have looked like to God? She was apparently a prideful person who saw David's dancing as humiliating rather than out of the complete love and humility David had before the Lord. In fact she was not only unwilling to dance before the Lord herself, but she didn't want her husband to live outloud like that either. In one translation the bible actually says that Michal's heart was filled with scorn toward David when she saw him dancing this way before the Lord.
I have found through much trial and error that we are as individual to our Father in Heaven as our children are here on earth to us. Not only do we have different personalities, characteristics and giftings or callings, but His intention is to use each of us individually as well. Many years ago I heard teachings on Prophets called Seer's, Sayers' and Prayers'. It was through that teaching that I found the freedom to be ME. The teaching went through the lives of the biblical prophets to show that like Hosea they were each used individually and had been graced differently for the time they were in.
· Seers... were visionaries, dreamers and often given revelation. They could see prophetically what He was saying, but didn't always necessarily have an opportunity to walk up to a congregation and speak freely. The Lord could tell them of things to come through foreshadowing and they would be used to share with others or to pray it through to fruition for the Lord.
· Sayers'... were those who could just open their mouths knowing by faith that God Himself would fill it. They didn't rely on their own head knowledge or thoughts, but had the ability to put self aside and allow God to speak whether it be to an individual, a congregation of people or even to a Nation. They were also used to speak into the lives of the unsaved. God had the ability to use this type even in evangelism.
· Prayers'... were what we today call Prophetic Intercessors. However, just because one calls themselves an intercessor (because they pray) doesn't mean they are a prophetic intercessor. A Prophetic Intercessor will not just go before the Lord with a list of needs for the people they are praying for. A true intercessor will go to God asking Him what He or she should pray for His people. The caution here is that anyone who believes in their own mind that they truly know the needs of the people is in pride already and not seeking His Kingdom first. Instead they have their own resolution and bring it to God expecting Him to resolve it their way. The bible teaches us that God already knows our needs so a true intercessor will ask Him what He would have them pray for.
Are you an epistle read of all men?
Living outloud is a choice. If God were to actually tell a man today to marry a harlot as a symbol to a nation the body of Christ would probably not only refuse to see or hear what God was saying, but would probably reject the prophet all together. We say we believe the Word of God, but tend to believe that everyone should live by our standards, make the same decisions and choices that we make and we basically try to carbon copy each other. Friends, we are as individual as we are willing to be in Christ. Each of the Prophets in the Word of God was used very differently and each of the Apostles was also very individual. Peter (one of my favorites) was used mightily by the Lord, but that was after he denied the Lord 3 times. In today’s Church Peter would be out of ministry, discarded as unfaithful and rejected by most believers yet today we love him because he shows us God using man in his humanness. If God wanted a type of perfection He already had the Angels right? The truth is God isn't the one looking for perfection, but He is looking for those who are willing and obedient.
Finally beloved, I encourage you to make a choice today to LIVE OUTLOUD. Be an epistle read of all men. Don't become just another symbol of religion or self righteousness which is one reason people run from the Lord. Jesus Christ is real, He is alive and He dwells in you and me. He wants to show Himself to the world just as individual as He created each of us to be. And I will leave you now with three questions the Lord spoke to me even before I wrote this article today.
1) Can you still see and hear what your Father in Heaven is saying to the church today?
2) If God Himself speaks or gives you a sign do you obey Him immediately or ignore His voice?
3) Can you go against the grain like Hosea did and would you be as obedient as he was in living your life symbolically to speak to His people or would the fear of man and what they would think or say keep you in bondage?