Love Affair: Part 4 – Briar Rabbit: Transcript & Outline



Briar Rabbit

Ed Young

October 1-2, 2005

[At the beginning of the service, a video is played on the side screens of a real couple discussing the adulterous affair that occurred within their marriage. After the video is played, Ed walks on stage.]

His head was spinning. He had a sick feeling in the pit of his stomach. He tried to answer his children’s questions the best he could, but his worse nightmare had become a reality. The love of his life, his wife, had left. He awkwardly tried to prepare dinner. He tried to help the kids with their homework. And as he prepared to go to bed, he could still smell the faint scent of her perfume.



Briar Rabbit

Ed Young

October 1-2, 2005

[At the beginning of the service, a video is played on the side screens of a real couple discussing the adulterous affair that occurred within their marriage. After the video is played, Ed walks on stage.]

His head was spinning. He had a sick feeling in the pit of his stomach. He tried to answer his children’s questions the best he could, but his worse nightmare had become a reality. The love of his life, his wife, had left. He awkwardly tried to prepare dinner. He tried to help the kids with their homework. And as he prepared to go to bed, he could still smell the faint scent of her perfume.

So goes the story of two biblical characters, Hosea and Gomer. Hosea was a prophet. He was God’s spokesman to the nation of Israel. Scripture says that his wife, Gomer, was the most beautiful woman in the land. (She had to be hot with a name like Gomer!) She decided, though, to leave. She cruised away from Hosea, her husband, their kids and she became a high-priced call girl.

Just picture Gomer tooling around Samaria in a black Bentley. Everything was going great for her. In her desire for independence, though, she desired a number of other things—especially all of the money and stuff and jewelry that went along with it. But something happened. God stepped in and began to do something to work in Gomer’s life.

Here’s what I’ve discovered about my relationship with God. Whenever I cruise away from God, I crash right into him. Have you discovered that? God is the pursuing lover and he seeks us and he follows after us and he loves us back.

A lot of people here are walking on the edge and the ledge of compromise. A lot of marriages are right here on this ledge. [Ed walks along the edge of the stage.] You have your eye on someone at the office, around the health club or maybe around your neighborhood; and you’re thinking about sleeping in the wrong bed. You’re thinking about taking a swan dive into the pool of rebellion.

The path of promiscuity follows a predictable pattern. The path follows a very predictable pattern. You can see how the course is cut in almost every situation. There are certain stages that people must go through in order to leap off of the ledge, and we’re going to see these stages played out in the life of Gomer.

As you continue to read about her, you see that things stopped working so well for her after a while. She thought she was getting one thing, but she’d signed up for another. And that’s what happens so often when we cruise away from God. We have this sin nature, this desire for independence. And we follow our desire and we follow independence, but after a while our desires begin to rule us. They become our master and we become slaves to our desires. So in our independence, we end up being dependent on the desires.

Conversely, if we stop in our tracks and turn to God and depend on him; if we have total dependence on him, then we will discover true independence.

What happens, though, when we go Gomer? What happens? What are the stages? What does that predictable path look like?


Several years ago, my family and I were hiking near a lake. And as we were making our way through the woods, we came upon this hill. I was leading the way, which was hilarious because I have a horrible sense of direction. And as I began to make my way through the woods, I looked around and found myself surrounded by briars. These briars were ripping my clothes, and then I looked back and saw that Lisa was in the same predicament. Then, my son EJ’s shirt was so ripped that he had to take his shirt off. He had to strip right there just to get out of the briars. And then, very carefully, we turned around and made our way back. We retraced our steps to get out of the predicament.

Here is what God said about this whole situation, this whole scenario with Gomer cruising away. Hosea 2:6-7, “Therefore I will block her path with thornbushes; I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way. She will chase after her lovers but not catch them; she will look for them but not find them.” 

God loves you and me enough to build a barricade of briars around us when we start cruising away from him. It’s out of God’s love. God tenderly says, “Come back home. Come back.” But so often, we just go our own way. And then we’re barricaded with briars. What do we do? We feel the puncture of the thorns; we begin to feel ripped with sin. Because sin does rip, doesn’t it? And if we continue, sin strips. It will strip us to the bone. We’ll have nothing left.

God allows that to happen so that we’ll come back to him. But notice, the first stage when we run from God is the briar stage. We’re barricaded with briars. When you feel the puncture of those thorns, what do you do? Do you keep pushing through the briars getting deeper and deeper into the stuff? And do you continue over the edge and the ledge? Or do you retrace your steps? Sin rips and sin strips.

Gomer was driving this black Bentley. Now she was probably in a Bonneville. She began to get some miles on her. All the cosmetic procedures she’d done didn’t really work out. The Botox wasn’t happening for her.

And speaking of Botox, man, these screens are so big I think I need some Botox. [Ed is referring to how large the image is on the side screens and how every detail is obvious.] Scary. I hope you know I’m joking. But if I ever do get Botox I promise you I’ll video it and we’ll all watch it together.

But this girl who was sought after, this girl who was lusted after, this girl who was the hot girl in the nation of Israel now had a hard time even getting a date. I mean guys were saying, “Um, Gomer? No way!”

And here’s what happened. This is very interesting. God and Hosea got into this conversation about Gomer. And if you read between the lines, you can almost hear God saying, “Hey, Hosea, do you know where Gomer is?”

Hosea was probably saying, “Well yeah, I know where she hangs out.  I know the hotels and corners that she works.”

And God said, “Hosea, I’ve removed a lot of stuff from her. She’s gone over the edge and the ledge. She’s gone through the briars, and now I’m going to take away all the bling-bling. But,” God said, “Hosea, I want you to get some silver and gold, some groceries and some clothes and, Hosea, I want you to track down Gomer. I want you to find your wife, who slept in all these wrong beds. I want you to track her down and I want you to get her this stuff.  I want you to bless her.”

So Hosea obviously found one of her lovers, one of the last few guys who would have anything to do with her, and he gave this guy all this stuff—gold and silver and clothes and groceries and money and all this stuff. And then Hosea stood at a distance and watched his wife’s lover walk up to her and give her all this stuff. His stuff! Well, the lover takes credit for it. Hosea is standing at distance thinking, “Man, if Gomer only knew the source. If she only recognized the source!” That’s some unconditional love isn’t it?

I ask you, what happens when you are blessed? Who gets the credit when you get silver, gold, groceries and money? Who does? Do you say, “Well, man, I did it! I’m the man! I’m the woman! I made the company! I’ve got creativity! I’ve got ingenuity! I’m intelligent! It’s me! I did it!”

God is standing at a distance watching you and watching me. Who gets the credit? Now some of you are going, “Well, man, Ed, who do you think gets the credit? The Lord does! I’m a Christ follower.”

Oh, really? The Lord does? Who gets your devotion? Who gets your worship? Who gets your talents? Who gets the tithe? God is standing at a distance and we’re blessed so abundantly. Who gets the credit? It’s a good question.


Let’s keep on reading, because Gomer went from the briar stage to the blingage stage. God, after we go through the briar stage, will begin to remove all of the resources from our lives if we continue to run away from him. Immediately? No, not always immediately. But ultimately he will.

In Hosea 2:9 God says, “Therefore I will take away my grain when it ripens, and my new wine when it is ready. I will take back my wool and my linen, intended to cover her nakedness.”

What do we do? We bolt through the briar stage. God warns us. He says, “Don’t do it.” But we bolt right through the briar stage and begin to walk on the edge and the ledge of compromise. Then God removes stuff.

And we think in our humanness that if we sleep in the wrong bed, if we have sexual intercourse outside the covenant of marriage, that will add to our lives. But what happens? It takes away. You saw the film. It takes away. So God says in Hosea 2:9, “I will take away,” and he says, “I’ll take back.” 

Look at Hosea 2:10, “So now I will expose her lewdness before the eyes of her lovers.” 

Verse 11, “I will stop all her celebrations.”

Verse 12, “I will ruin her vines and her fig trees which she said were her pay from her lovers.” Obviously, her lovers owned a lot of vineyards.

Verse 13, “‘I will punish her for the days she burned incense to the Baals (that’s the false God’s); she decked herself with rings and jewelry (that’s blingage), and went after her lovers, but me she forgot,’ says the Lord.”

Don’t forget the Lord. He loves you and me enough to barricade us with briars. He loves you and me enough to remove the blingage from our lives. He loves you and me enough to seek us out and to go after us—just like Hosea sought Gomer.

So what happened with Gomer? She was Miss Universe. And now she’s moved from a black Bentley to a Bonneville. Maybe she’s driving a bomb. And guys won’t even touch her anymore. She can’t even get a date! Is that pitiful?

And then—you talk about being on the bottom—this girl decides to sell herself into slavery. Read about ancient auctions. Read about what went on. It was horrible stuff. They would take the person and strip them naked. What does sin do? It rips and it strips. Gomer was standing there naked. She was being yelled at, and poked and prodded. She had to show her strength. People began to bid for this woman. Someone said, “5.” Another one said, “8.” Someone else said, “10.” A voice from the back said, “11!”

The gavel fell and the auctioneer said, “Sold to the man in the back!” And Hosea made his way through the crowd and through the clamor. What do you think happened when he locked eyes with Gomer? Gomer probably looked at him; he was a little grayer, a few more wrinkles. And the Bible says that he clothed her. He covered her nakedness and he brought her back as his wife.

[A video is played on the side screens that shows the couple from the opening video talking about how they worked through the affair and have continued to work on their marriage.]

Maybe you’re saying, “Ed, I can identify with what I just saw. I busted through the briar stage and I’m in the blingage stage, because God is ruthlessly removing those resources. Is there help for me? I’ve hooked up with the wrong person? I’ve slept in the wrong bed. Is there help for me? Is there a chance for me?”


Well, there’s stage three. And stage three is a stage that’s supernatural. We would think that when someone bolts through the briar stage and when God begins to ruthlessly remove resources and the blingage; one would think that God would just zap the person. We’re thinking judgment of God stuff. Hell, fire and brimstone.

Stage three, though, is the blessing stage. Yes, sin rips. It will strip us naked. But God’s grace grips us.

I know a lot of you have committed adultery physically. And I’m going to tell you, based on God’s word, there is hope for you. All of us, though—don’t miss this—all of us in this room have committed adultery spiritually. All of us have. Jesus Christ is the bridegroom. The church is what? The bride of Christ. We’ve slept in the wrong bed. We’ve chased other lovers. We’ve been unfaithful in this marriage. And in a real way, we’re slaves. Slaves to sin. We’re dependent on our desires and we’re standing on the auction block, naked. The auctioneer has started the bidding for your life and mine. Sensuality says, “I bid this.” Money says, “I bid that.”  Power says, “No, I’m going to up the bid.”

But a hand goes up in the back, a nailed pierced hand, and this young man says, “I bid my precious blood for that one.”

And Jesus points at you and he points at me. He makes his way through the crowd, through the clamor, and he clothes us in his righteousness. And he brings us in and adopts us into his family. He provides us a mansion in heaven and a purpose and a power and a strength that is beyond what this world can even comprehend. That, friends, is a true love affair.

As our heads are bowed and eyes are closed, let’s just spend some time thanking God for his grace. Yes, we know that sin rips and strips. But God, we thank you that your grace grips us. Some here, I know, are in the stage with the briars. You’re hung up. You feel the puncture in your life. Don’t take another step. Retrace your steps and come back to where you need to be.

Others are saying, “You know, I’ve bolted through that. I’ve taken that swan dive off of the edge and the ledge. And now God is doing the blingage thing. He’s ruthlessly removing those resources from me.”

If that’s you, just come clean. Tell God what he already knows and turn back, because he wants to forgive you and love you and make you whole.

Let’s just thank God for his grace that grips us. And maybe, just maybe, you’re here and you’ve never received God’s grace. You’ve never said, “God I receive it.”

What is grace? Grace is unmerited favor. What is grace? It is something we don’t deserve? What is grace? It’s you and me standing naked in our fallen-ness and in our sinfulness on the auction block. It’s Jesus Christ paying the price for us. And it’s us agreeing to that and receiving that and appropriating that into our lives.