This is the fourth in a series of word studies that I am doing to try to reveal the best explanation of a specific scripture.
For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. – Hebrews 6:4-6
What does it mean to have ‘tasted the goodness of the word of God”?
The three previous posts in this study are starting to fold in together and combine into a message that spells out the ‘goodness of the word of God.” When you have been ‘enlightened’, you have tasted. When you have ‘tasted the heavenly gift’, you have tasted the ‘goodness’. When you have shared in the ‘Holy Spirit’, you have tasted. All of these things offer hope and that hope is in ‘the powers of the age to come.’
Instead of rewriting what I have already written, I will illustrate the combined meaning with a strange love story. This love story was written in the Bible to illustrate what God’s love is like for you. God is Hosea and you are Gomer.
When Hosea married Gomer, he knew she was a slut. He didn’t marry her for some sexually twisted purpose; he married her because he loved her. God put them together. Maybe, in her own way, she loved him, too. They began their lives, had babies, and everything seemed to be normal until Gomer started slipping away again.
She wore jewelry that she didn’t get from him. She washed filthy lingerie that he never saw her wear. The scent of her perfume was tainted with the scent of another man’s lust. Hosea’s heart was raked across a shredder every time she flipped her hair and laughed her drunk laugh.
He knew Gomer wouldn’t listen to him, not like a wife. Her hips weren’t his. She wouldn’t be moved by witnessing his pain, not like he was her husband. It was somebody else’s breath that was on her. But, maybe she would listen to her children…
“Plead with your mother, plead—for she is not my wife, and I am not her husband—that she put away her whoring from her face, and her adultery from between her breasts; lest I strip her naked and make her as in the day she was born…” -Hosea 2:2-3
Gomer smirked at the threats.
‘I will go after my lovers, who give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.’ –Hosea 2:5
Hosea was a joke to her, but there was something she didn’t know.
It was Hosea that bought the jewelry that other men gave her. It was he who paid for the lingerie that other men removed. It was his wine that left her drunk and naked in another man’s bed.
“And she did not know that it was I who gave her the grain, the wine, and the oil, and who lavished on her silver and gold…” -Hosea 2:8
Why would he do that? Why would he slip gold into the hands of another man who would just use them to use her? It was because he was setting her up. He was giving her something to lose and, when the time came for her to see the whole truth, she would know that there was nothing she could do that would make him not love her. She thought she had secrets, but she was the one who was in the dark. He loved her so much, that he told the other men how to love her the way she wanted. He laid down his life for her and let her betray him so that when she lost her life, she would only have one place to go: back to him.
Therefore I will take back my grain in its time, and my wine in its season, and I will take away my wool and my flax, which were to cover her nakedness. Now I will uncover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers, and no one shall rescue her out of my hand. -Hosea 2:9-10
Hosea waited until she was high on herself, and then he took his provision away and let her fall. He let her suffer the shame and embarrassment of no longer being wanted. She saw herself as she really was. Used goods. Naked with no way to wash off the smell of lust and no fresh change of clothes for her walk home. She had to take the walk of shame and feel the hangover of the many nights before.
This is exactly where he wanted her. Smudged mascara, wrinkled dress, twisted underwear, and hangover breath. Yesterday’s hair, chipped nails, walking barefoot along the sidewalk because she couldn’t find her other shoe. A whore’s morning wilderness.
And there, says Hosea, “Therefore, behold, I will allure her,…And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth,” (Hosea 2:14, 15)
Hosea took her un-showered and showered her with his love because that was the only way she could really believe it. If she argued, ‘Don’t touch me. I’m dirty.’ He would respond, ‘If I touch you while you’re dirty, you will never doubt my love.’
He made a promise to her, “I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land, and I will make you lie down in safety. And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know…” (Hosea 2:18-20)
And she responded, “My husband.” (Hosea 2:16)
When God finally has you, and you are finally grasping His love, you can practically see Him lift His head to the heavens and yell, “I love her!” And the heavens will tell the earth, “He loves her!” and the earth will tell the grain, “He loves her!” and the grain will tell the wine, “He loves her!” and the wine will tell the oil, “He loves her!” (Hosea 2:21-22)
“…and I will sow her for myself in the land. And I will have mercy on No Mercy, and I will say to Not My People, ‘You are my people’; and he shall say, ‘You are my God.'” -Hosea 2:23
When you have ‘tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, then everything you see, everything you drink, everything you touch, will scream, “He loves you!”
“…if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good” then you are “a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious,” (1 Peter 2:3-4)
The story between you and God is a strange love story. It’s designed to grab you when you have no where else to turn and adorn you when you least deserve it. ‘Rejected’ by everyone else while being called ‘chosen and precious’ by Him.