What kind of love is this? Hosea lived in the time of splendor under Jeroboam’s brilliant rule and he obeyed God and married Gomer, a woman of the streets. Three hundred years had already passed since God promised king David an everlasting kingdom. By opening the pages of Hosea, we enter into what is known as the Minor Prophets of God’s Word. Hosea was sent by God to live and preach to the ten Northern tribes during the forty one year reign of king Jeroboam of Israel.
As the Major Prophets; Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel were used by God to report volumes of what is to come, as one of the twelve Minor Prophets; Hosea tucks away a powerful message of God’s all forgiving love within just a few pages.
It is certainly a perplexing command from the Lord to Hosea, that he marry Gomer, a scandalous woman, a prostitute. (Hos1:2) Such a command seems to contradict God’s law, but who can know the mind of God.
The story of Hosea and his wife Gomer reveals God’s true love towards His unfaithful people. The word lust more accurately describes the fantasies held in the hearts of man. Hosea is the prophet of love, but not a love imagined, it enacts the astonishing love of God for His people, you and me.
“But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) God chases after those He loves, and He is relentless until we surrender to His love. All that Hosea had, God’s favor, a good reputation and comfort was sacrificed for the love he had for his wife. There was much gossip and murmuring about Hosea’s choice to marry such a questionable woman. Hosea and Gomer produced three children and then his wife was lured away by temptations.
Gomer allowed the lust of her flesh to lead her back into slavery. Through it all, Hosea remained faithful and he tried everything to win her back.
Gomer’s stubbornness reflects the human heart towards God, as her husband Hosea mirrors God’s enduring love for us. Our faithful God chose and married a wandering wife in Israel, a petulant and spoiled child. “As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.” (Isaiah 62:5) Israel is God’s bride while the Church is the bride of Christ.
Israel’s sad, persistent backsliding does not keep God from chasing His bride. The Word of God is a mirror that we hold up to peer into our souls for life changing self-examination. That we willingly agree that we fall short of the glory of God and choose to sincerely repent.
Through chapters 11-14 of Hosea we are given a glimpse of our Father’s unfailing love. “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.” (Hos 11:1) Indeed we can agree that God chooses the weak things of the world to confound the wise. (1 Corin 1:27)
Hosea was prophesying approximately 800 years before Jesus. Rome and Carthage were born and sea traffic increased with ships sailing from Southern Spain to the North. Also during these historic times, Buddhism was introduced in India. Change was in the air and Hosea was referred to as the Jeremiah in Northern kingdom. The people had already dismissed the warnings of the Prophet Amos, so God chose Hosea to continue to be His voice of hope.
God’s love for us endures with a persistent pounding on the hearts of those He chases down. The tumultuous period in which Hosea lived is described in detail within the pages of 2 Kings 15-17. Evil was winning souls as a dark cloud hovered over Israel. Within 20 years, four of the six kings were assassinated. In the midst of Hosea’s lifespan many Jews were taken captive by the Assyrians. Before Hosea died he witnessed many of his own prophecies come to pass.
Copyright © 2019 by Barbara Alley Hoyle.
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