Hosea: A Leader Who Made an Astounding Sacrifice!

by Max Dawson

One of the things I have learned about leadership is that sometimes, the best leaders are those who were reluctant to be leaders. Witness the case of Moses (Exodus 3:7-4:17). I have known men who were reluctant to serve as an overseer of the church, as a deacon, or even as a Bible class teacher; their reluctance was due to the gravity of the work. They were hesitant because they knew the work was such that, if not done well, they might do more harm than good to the kingdom.

I wonder if Hosea was a reluctant leader. There is no doubt that God chose him to bring a message to the people of Israel (Hosea 1:1). In the opening chapters of his book, Hosea appears to have no reluctance. If there was any reluctance, it does not appear in the text. But why would there be any reluctance? It would be because of what God directed Hosea to do! He was told to take a wife of harlotry, so he went and took Gomer as his wife (Hosea 1:2-3).

How it must have grieved Hosea to marry a woman who would not be faithful to him! He watched her drift from their marriage time and again. When Hosea was told to speak to the Israelites about their spiritual condition, he could do so with pain and passion in his heart, for he knew firsthand what it was like to have an unfaithful wife. He knew firsthand how God must have felt about His unfaithful wife, Israel!

Few leaders have been called upon to sacrifice more than Hosea. God told him to marry this woman, a woman who was destined to bring him lonely nights and endless heartaches. Where was Hosea's chance at personal happiness and contentment in life? How he must have agonized over Gomer—just as God agonized over faithless Israel.

Indeed, Hosea sacrificed so much in serving God and in being a leader in Israel. While his role as a leader was certainly unique, don't miss the point: Leadership is about sacrifice! Sometimes, people think leadership is about being looked up to and respected and about perks and privileges! Where were Hosea's perks and privileges? Who would look up to and respect such a man? Only those godly and devout Israelites who truly understood Hosea's role could look up to and respect him. They could appreciate his sacrifice.

An important lesson can be drawn from Hosea: Being a leader in God's kingdom is not about perks and privileges. It is not about gaining rights but more about giving them up! While God may not require leaders today to do as Hosea did, he does require leaders to sacrifice! For those men who lead God's flock as shepherds, God requires that they put time, energy, heart (and sometimes even money) into their work. Sacrifice.

Sacrifice. You can't serve God's people without it.

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