Hosea 4:14 I will not punish your daughters when they play the whore, nor your daughters-in-law when they commit adultery; for the men themselves go aside with whores, and sacrifice with temple prostitutes; thus a people without understanding comes to ruin.

The question for this evening is very simple – what is wrong with living together? This is not a question about children who fight and cannot get along with each other – it is a question about what happens when a man and a woman become one flesh. The Bible is very clear what happens at that point, and its simple, you are married, till death parts you in sickness and in health for richer or for poorer, you are married.

But you are married without the blessing of God, or your parents, or the prayers of your friends and family. Marriage is not always easy, why would anyone want to begin something without every benefit? But putting that aside, not only does God command us to lead chaste and decent lives in word and deed, and each honor his spouse – he also commands us to obey authorities, and the government says if you are going to be married, you must take out a license. So weddings are both for the sake of asking God’s blessing on the beginning of a life long journey – and also because the state requires these journeys to be licensed. And for the record, you can become one flesh, even if you do not live under one roof.

So why do people do it? Sex is tempting. The problem is that sex outside of marriage does not satisfy, and is like any other drug addiction, it takes over your life and gives nothing back. Sex, like any addiction or any sin, tends to lead only to more sin – but never to fulfillment, contentment or satisfaction – it does not make you happy – it does not make your life meaningful. But not only does it not deliver what it promised – it does do something else – and this promise it keeps – those who continue in sin are brought to ruin.

Our text does one other useful thing – these days, we often spend much time trying to figure out whose to blame – the text says forget that – the real question is not who is to blame – but how to act responsibly. If you see temptation, what do you do? Do you go a little closer to check it out? NO!! God gives us very good advise – if you see temptation – go the other way – that is – FLEE!! Nothing wrong with running away from something which leads to ruin and destruction. Indeed, that is why we pray in the Lord’s prayer – "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil."

That is the fruit of temptation – what promise does sin offer?

Hosea 4:10 They shall eat, but not be satisfied; they shall play the whore, but not multiply; because they have forsaken the LORD

Have you ever seen that cereal commercial, where you find out how much you would have to eat to get what you need – 14 bowls of cereal seem like too much – then don’t travel down the road of sin, you can eat and eat, make a pig of yourself, and never get what you need – and perish as a result.

So – what’s the point? Turn from sin, and turn to God. You already know sin doesn’t keep its promises, you already know that sin doesn’t satisfy. So where can you turn to get what you need, where can you find meaning in your life, where can you find purpose, fulfillment, contentment, peace – along with the forgiveness we already need on account of sin [for we are all sinners] – turn to God – he has promised all this and more in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Is there time? Yes, the warning went to all Israel and to Judah, even to Ephraim on the other side of the Jordan. But Ephraim was already well entrenched in sin, and it did not repent and it perished. Israel in the north was also deeply in sin, and although they heard God’s gracious call, and although they knew they were on the path to destruction – they did not turn, their kingdom fell, never to rise again, and they were carried off into captivity. Judah also heard, but they didn’t quite get turned – but in their captivity they repented, and they called upon the Lord, and they sought to follow his ways, and in their captivity God heard them as they called, and God had mercy upon them, and forgave them, and brought them back to the promised land.

And that is the real question, isn’t it? Do we want to remain in captivity, or continue in the way of ruin – or will we accept the grace of God and the salvation which will lead us back to the promised land? Remember our text- "A people without understanding comes to ruin."