Hosea… it’s like him and Gomer have moved in over here at our place and they just refuse to go back home. Our Pastor has been working through this prophet’s work for some many weeks, and as we opened our Sunday School literature this week, guess where we’re studying? Yep, Hosea.
This is a very good thing though. The message brought to Israel by this prophet is timeless and applicable to every generation. “God’s desire is that His creation love Him with their all. This love is recognized by His people’s love for one another in fairness and mercy. He alone provides the empowerment for His people to accomplish this.”
What if seeing this relationship from a different perspective is how God chooses to reveal our problem that we have with Him? What if the biblical picture of marriage is the ideal representation between God and His image-bearers? If this is the case, then how is our sinful behavior and unfaithfulness described by God?
To reveal these answers, God figuratively placed Himself into the shoes of Hosea, a man commanded to find a woman of harlotry and marry her. The key to grasping how God reacts to our sin is to personally examine how we would feel if we came home from work one day to find our spouse engaged in an adulterous affair. Imagine walking into the bedroom and there passionately snuggled up to another was your husband or wife. The defilement of the marital bed has produced no small number of murders, and our prisons are filled with many whose reaction to such findings brought about brutal retaliation.
I am sure this is a painful topic for many who have personally walked through the dark days of an event as this, but it really gives us an understanding of what God sees happening when we sin. Only our sin isn’t done in hiding. God doesn’t happen to walk in on our unfaithfulness. We perform our adulterous acts before His eyes.
The message to Israel was “sin is infidelity to your Husband!” It comes in many sorts and flavors, but it is all treasonous. The Lord said, “She went after her lovers, but Me she forgot (2:13).”
After the first chapter of Hosea reveals the problem at hand, the next chapter is a display of the husband’s anger. He has caught his wife in an affair, and he responds as expected; in a furious rant.
Received as the text presents it, there is little to struggle with. Every right-minded husband would react in like manner. Comprehending this is no major thing, but God’s next move is unfathomable.
After a decree of divorce (“You are not My people!”), God promises to allure His runaway bride back into His arms (2:14-23).
In the third chapter, Hosea is given another command, “Go find your wife!” She is found being sold as a prostitute on the slave market. Hosea pays a price so great for his bride that it literally would have meant selling everything he possessed to purchase her out of slavery (the people didn’t pay the prophets very well… they didn’t even listen to them).
The imagery is provocative, but one can’t help seeing the message of the gospel flowing from Hosea’s prophecy. “While we were still sold into the slavery of our sin, Jesus went to the cross and died there to purchase us for Himself.”
To His people, God promised, “I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and justice, in loving kindness and mercy. I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness, and you shall know the Lord (2:19-20).”