Hosea 1:1 – Superscription
Hosea 1:2–3:5 – The Unfaithful Wife And The Faithful Husband
Hosea 1:2–2:1 – The Children As Signs
Hosea 2:2–23 – The Unfaithful Wife
Hosea 2:2–13 – The Lord’s Judgment On Israel
Hosea 2:14–23 – The Lord’s Restoration Of Israel
Hosea 3 – The Faithful Husband
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Let the Word evoke words. May your life encourage lives.
One Reply to “Hosea Begins”
Going from Ezekiel to Hosea is a bit of a shift back in time. We know that the books of the Bible are provided chronologically, but I had to stop and look at the Kings and Prophets diagram to remember that Amos and Hosea (cohorts of sorts) prophesied to the Northern Kingdom just before the Assyrian exile–Hosea being the last of the prophets for Israel (the Northern Kingdom that is). Six kings in just 25 years, all bad with worse times to come. This is not the history I would have kept if I were trying to convince someone of my faith, but it is the history nonetheless.
Chapter 1 provides the backdrop for Hosea’s 38 years of ministry during this turbulent time. The Lord told Hosea to marry a “promiscuous woman” (NIV) or a “prostitute” (NLT) and have children with her. Hosea marries Gomer and they have a son, Jezreel; then a daughter, Lo-Ruhamah; then another son, Lo-Ammi.
The people of Israel, led by kings who betrayed the people by worshipping pagan idols, by turning their backs on God, have gone astray. Such a sad statement. Yet Hosea records that one day Israel and Judah will be reunited, they “will come together; they will appoint one leader and will come up out of the land, for great will be the day of Jezreel” (1:11). One day.
Chapter 2 is split into two halves, verses 1-13 and 14-23. The first half symbolizes the punishment of Israel for its unfaithfulness, really worse than that, for its flagrant violation of all God requires. The picture I get in my mind is one who deceives so well that most simply accept the person as true and kind. It reminds me of the Universal Church movement, one that accepts all paths to God are equal and teaches toleration over discernment. It’s the Desiderata phrase that provides the lure, “be at peace with God, whatever you conceive him to be.” Really? Yes, indeed. This is the testimony of our modern culture, the history of Israel that Hosea is speaking to. God is patient and tolerant, but this comes to an end, “Therefore I will take away my grain when it ripens, and my new wine when it is ready” (2:9).
The second half of chapter 2 really changes things, “therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her” (2:14). It gets better, “I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the Lord” (2:19-20). There will be restoration because the Lord wants restoration, not because of some stunning insight that I may have or some incredibly clever thing that I do. Restoration will happen because God himself extends his grace, his love and his forgiveness.
In Chapter 3, Hosea is told to love his adulterous wife again and pledge fidelity, a monogamous relationship, as a symbol of how God will renew the covenant with Israel.
In this society, sexual promiscuity is nothing new, to the point that people come to expect such behavior. Our young Christian friends and family are portrayed as weird for saving sexual intimacy for marriage. Hosea’s words in a different culture are probably more provocative than in our “modern” society because so many have become numb to the concept. This is a sad state of affairs, one which is so relevant to our current day and age. We just went to a beautiful Christian wedding last weekend. The presiding pastor let the young couple know that the love they have will only get better and grow with age. This is so true for those who put Christ in the center of their marriage, for those who stop chasing foolish idols and acknowledge Christ as Lord. Lord help me to keep a true and proper perspective on our relationship, between you and I, to grow in love for you and understanding of what Jesus did for us when he allowed the world to mock and shame him. Remind me often of the glorious day of Easter, when the world changed. Guide my heart and put words in my mouth that are consistent with your will.