Some of God’s prophets had the difficult challenge of confronting kings and, by God’s power, doing miraculous things to illustrate the impotence of foreign gods. Although their lives and ministries were difficult, there is some esteem with these men of faith like Samuel, Elijah, and Isaiah. There is also another kind of prophet, the ones who are called to live out an illustration of spiritual realities—prophets like Hosea.
Hosea lived and ministered in the period of time we now call the “Divided Kingdom.” You biblical historians will remember that after king Solomon died, the nation of Israel was divided into two kingdoms, north and south (see 1 Kings 12). The northern kingdom, Israel, descended into idolatry from which it never recovered.
Verse 1 of Hosea, simply orients us to this timeframe and that Hosea ministered for many years. In verse 2, God commands Hosea to take a wife of “harlotry.” The reason God gives for such a request is simple, Israel has committed “flagrant harlotry” (NASB). They’ve not only prostituted themselves, but done so with vigor.
Gomer enters the picture and the story shifts into high gear as she bears three children—note however that only with her first does the Bible say that she “bore [Hosea] a son,” every other child was simply “conceived” by Gomer. We aren’t sure if that means the children were biologically Hosea’s or not.
While each child represents a different consequence for Israel’s idolatrous affairs, chapter one ends with a hopeful promise. Even when the people say they “are not My people, it will be said of them ‘You are My people’” (10). And, verse 11 illustrates God’s irrevocable promise that His love will one day bring all of His people back together.
I’m not sure where you’re at as you’re reading this. Maybe you feel as though your affections for the Lord have waned and wandered recently. The book of Hosea reminds us that no matter how far we go, God will pursue us in righteous love, not looking over our transgression, but loving us because our transgression have been dealt with on the Cross.
By: Tyler Short — Connections Ministry Associate