What did God do when His kids broke His heart? You may be surprised. Join AMBrewster and many other Christian parents as they open the book of Hosea to glean Truth for your families.
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The book of Hosea is one of those Old Testament books that I believe is too often ignored.
Some people skip over it because it’s heavy and painful. Some people may think it’s depressing. Other’s think it isn’t relevant to the New Testament church because it deals with the sins of the nation of Israel and God’s judgment on them.
And it is a heavy book, but I don’t believe it’s depressing, and I don’t believe it’s not relevant. There’s some significant Truth for us New Testament believers, and specifically — for husbands, wives, and parents.
But more on that in a minute.
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Okay, so what does the book of Hosea have to offer us for our parenting?
Generally speaking, if anyone knows anything about Hosea, it’s that God commanded this prophet to marry a prostitute and have children with her as a living object lesson to the children of Israel. (1:2)
Even though that’s a powerful plot-line, the real story is what’s going on between God and the Israelites.
You see, many of us have something very much in common with God — our children rebel.
And when it came to the Israelites, they rebelled hard.
So, in our larger discussion of love, I want to mine some Truth from Hosea for those whose children are currently rebelling. But I also want it to be relevant to those of you whose kids aren’t involved in any nation-of-Israel level rebellion. These same principles, which grow from the same True Love about which we’ve been learning, can be used in those “lower intensity” situations as well.
Okay, let’s set the stage the way God does. In chapter one verse two God commands Hosea to: “Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the Lord.”
Now, that’s pretty hardcore, but before we get to the point, I want to make sure you realize that this is not advice that we should be taking. God commanded the prophets to do many unique things during that time in Israel’s history. Each of them was a deliberate picture with a deliberate message for the people.
Again, this is not the norm.
Anyway, the reason God wanted Hosea to marry this particular woman was that her physical infidelity perfectly illustrated the spiritual infidelity of the nation of Israel, and what Hosea would do to win her back was similar to what God wanted to do.
Now, we’ve discussed the concept that our idolatry is the same as adultery in God’s eyes. When we or our children worship our own desires and fulfill our own lusts, we’re cheating on God.
We cheat on God when we take those paper supplies from work. We cheat on God when we refuse to eat our broccoli and throw it on the floor. We cheat on God when we brag about our children and gossip about our fellow church members when we’re out with the girls.
Each of those sins represents us getting into bed with our own puny god. And the same goes for your kids. Of course, it’s more egregious when we high handedly and deliberately shun God for our impotent god, but the reality still stands.
This understanding will help those of us with younger children or kids who aren’t living in flagrant rebellion. Sin is sin. It’s all adultery in God’s eyes.
Now, this may sound all very dramatic, but it’s the biblical reality.
So, let’s see how God handled the Children of Israel and glean some insight for our homes.
Now, I know it’s just like me to try to tackle an entire Old Testament book for a single episode. But — never fear — this is going to be a shorter episode.
So, let’s do a flyby of the book by looking at the big themes from each of the chapters.
In chapter one Hosea is instructed to marry Gomer and have children with her.
In chapter two, we learn that Israel has been unfaithful to God and will receive consequences.
However, near the end of chapter two we read about the Lord’s mercy on Israel.
Chapter three is very short and shows us this same parallel as Gomer leaves Hosea, moves in with another man, and Hosea goes and literally pays money to get her back. Please don’t misunderstand, this isn’t a man purchasing a woman as property. This is a husband doing whatever it took to get his wife back.
Then in chapter four, God accuses Israel of their numerous accounts of adultery.
In chapter five, God lays out the coming punishment for the Children of Israel.
In chapters six and seven, we read that the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah are completely unrepentant.
So, again in chapters eight through ten, the Lord reveals that Israel is going to reap the whirlwind.
But, then in chapter eleven we read of the Lord’s love for Israel.
Still, His love doesn’t erase Israel’s indictment in chapter twelve and relentless judgment in chapter thirteen.
And the final chapter is a plea with the nation to return to their God.
I hope you’re seeing a pattern.
Let’s rewind a little bit in the Old Testament. The Children of Israel could not complain that they didn’t know the Lord’s expectations or seen Him keep His promises thousands of times over.
That’s an important point as we consider the scenario where a child has rebelled against us. We’re not God, and in my ministry to parents I’ve encountered far too many who claim to have parented “just fine,” but they regularly provoke their children to wrath.
It’s true the child is responsible for their own choices, but when we in anger or fear or hatred push our children away from us — let me just say that sometimes I understand why the child can’t wait to get out of the home.
Now, that’s not true for all of you, but I simply want to make the observation that — liked we learned way back in episode two — we’re responsible to check our own hearts first.
Okay, so let’s say our children really do know and understand the high biblical expectations we have in our homes and they still choose to disobey. Of course, that’s every child. That’s you and I if we’re being honest.
So, the child has rebelled. We parents need to explain the child’s sin and tie it back to God and His Truth. It can’t be about how he let me down or how she’s embarrassing me or how they such an inconvenience.
This is exactly what God did throughout the entire book! The underlying understanding is that every one of the sins God enumerates is a sin because it transgresses God’s law and attacks His character. We need to open the Scriptures and help our children see how their sin is against the almighty, all-loving God.
But we also need to invite them back. The book of Hosea is filled with invitations from God Himself. Some of my favorites are in chapter seven. In verse one He says that he desires to heal them. In verse thirteen He speaks of redeeming them. And then in chapter eleven He tells of the numerous times He’s called His children. Unfortunately, verse two says, “The more they were called, the more they went away.”
This should remind us that even a perfect parent can have disobedient children, and that parental determinism is a Failure Philosophy of the highest degree.
Now, let me stop right here and sum up the whole point of today’s episode. God is a perfect example of mercy and judgement. He simultaneously tries to win His people back as He righteously judges them for their actions.
His mercy still has expectations. Even when Hosea redeemed his wife in chapter three, he said to her, “You must dwell as mine for many days. You shall not play the whore, or belong to another man; so will I also be to you.”
But His judgment — which makes up most of the book because the children did not repent — still had those invitations of which we spoke.
You see, we parents too easily fall on either side of that tightrope. We’re either too merciful and gracious or we’re too filled with judgement.
Both of those responses are selfish. True Love understands the balance and works toward it because that’s in the best interest of the one loved.
Our inconsistency in rebuking, disciplining, and inviting our kids lovingly contradicts God’s True Love.
There is no room for hateful, selfish, angry, judgmental punishment. You’re not glorifying the Lord no matter how many times you claim “righteous indignation.”
But our inconsistency in giving consequences not only contradicts His righteousness, it also contradicts His True Love.
How does it do that?
Do you remember how Hebrews tells us that He corrects those whom He loves. “‘For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.’ It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.”
The first part is a quote from Proverbs 3:12, “For the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.”
You can’t say you love your kids and not give them biblical consequences.
How many times did God have to send His children into captivity? How many times was their nation ravaged?
God didn’t rejoice in that, but He consistently kept His promises that obedience would bring blessing and disobedience would bring a curse.
If you’d like some more guidance on how to handle punishment, correction, and discipline, please let me suggest you listen to episode 48, “When to Raise Your Voice: is yelling ever appropriate?,” episode 51, “How to Rightly Debate Your Child,” episode 74, “Spare the Rod | Punishment Versus Correction,” episode 89, “Discipline that Softens the Heart,” and our “Rock, Bread, and Donut” series that starts in episode 106.
So, today’s show is called what to do when your kids break your heart, and you may have been expecting something very different. But, it’s not about us. Yes, it’s painful to be hated and disobeyed, but if we make it about us, then we will not do the four things our children need most . . . the same four things God did with His rebellious kids.
When our kids rebel against us and disobey and terrorize us, we need to love them by clearly articulating God’s expectations. We need to love them by showing them how their sin is against God Himself. We need to love our kids by inviting them back with open arms. This doesn’t mean we remove all biblical expectations and consequences — we’re inviting them back to submit to God. We also need to love them by being willing to do whatever it takes to bring them back if they want to return. And we need to love them enough to either give them the appropriate consequences or allow the necessary consequences to come into their lives.
And we leave the rest up to God.
And if you’re in a situation with rebellious, terrorist children and feel like you don’t have a shred of anything left to give, I want to invite you to listen to two things. The first is episode 121, “No Greater Joy | what you need for joy in your parenting, Part 2.” That particular episode is just for you. And then check out our “Peaceful Parenting” series that starts in episode 69.
Please share episode today. Everyone’s kids disobey, everyone’s kids break their hearts to one degree or another, but not everyone responds to it the way God does.
And — as always — we have episode notes for you today to help you as you become an intentional, premeditated parent.
On our next episode we ask the question “Do You Really Want to Be Their Friend? | the requirement of befriending your kids.” We’re told we should be our kids’ friend. God tells us to love our kids. But I don’t think most of us understand what that entails.
So, join us next time as we not only ask the question but allow God to answer it through His Word.
And I’d like to give a special thank you to Matt & Sonja and their three great kids. Matt and Sonja are Patrons of Truth.Love.Parent. They believe in what we’re doing so much that they not only encourage us with their words and pray for us to our God, but they also support us with their finances. They are wonderful friends of the ministry, and we couldn’t be more blessed to know them.
If you’re thankful for TLP and would like to know more about how you can be a blessing to us as we seek to serve God by ministering to families all over the world, I invite you to click on the “5 Ways to Support TLP” link in the description.
We want you to know that God is the eternal source of hope for your family. We want you to know that we love you and are here to help you glorify God in your family.
Whether your kids are currently breaking your heart or not, there is hope.
See you next time.
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