The book of Hosea in the old testament is among the most heart-wrenching pieces of writing in the entire Bible. God speaks to Hosea and instructs him to marry a prostitute. Now, God’s handed out some strange missions to people throughout history, but this one is definitely up there. But when you come to understand the reasoning for this mission He gave Hosea, you really see the unwavering love of God and the unfaithfulness of His people in a whole new light.
Hosea 1:2 When the Lord first began speaking to Israel through Hosea, he said to him, “Go and marry a prostitute, so that some of her children will be conceived in prostitution. This will illustrate how Israel has acted like a prostitute by turning against the Lord and worshiping other gods.”
It’s immediately an example that makes me uncomfortable, but the most troubling aspect of it is how true it is. As you read Hosea, it illustrates what was going on with Israel at the time, but it’s applicable to what’s happening in our modern world today, as well. A faith proclaiming nation who has an all loving God yet constantly turns away and spends time with other gods. Definitely sounds like America to me.
As you read you see Hosea live it out in real life. He marries the prostitute named Gomer (not the most attractive name, lol), and no matter how well he loves her and how faithful and good he is to her, Gomer consistently returns to prostitution. Her husband is giving her all that she needs, is loving her so well, and yet she still cheats on him by going off with other men. And God uses this illustration to say “now you know how I feel.”
I hate knowing that’s how God feels. I hate knowing that in my own ways over the years I have contributed to making the God who I love with all of my heart feel that way. The God that’s never wronged me, never forsaken me, never mistreated me, I have made to feel like a loving husband who has to watch as I go off and give myself away to other pursuits.
Hosea 2:8 She doesn’t realize it was I who gave her everything she has— the grain, the new wine, the olive oil; even gave her silver and gold. But she gave all my gifts to Baal.
God’s speaking of the “unfaithful wife” here (us), and for some reason, this verse really got to me. All good things in my life come from the Lord. I know this for a fact. When I wasn’t with Him I had depression, emotional imbalance, unrest, only one friend, no money, no career, failing health, too many negative things to count. Since devoting myself to God and becoming a true disciple of Jesus, I have joy, emotional balance, peace, many amazing friends, more than enough money, a promising career, much better health, too many positive things to count. God’s my provider, and there’s a beautiful verse that helps remind me of that.
James 1:17 Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.
God gives us talents, what do we use them for? He provides great jobs for us, how do we spend our money? Just like this verse in Hosea 2:8, He’s saying I provided all this stuff for you and you turned around and gave it to idols. Took what is holy and made it unclean. And sometimes we not only use this stuff on other gods, we use it against THE God. We use our intellect to try to disprove the existence of the God who gave us the intellect. We use the freedom of choice that He so graciously provided to us to deny Him as our King.
Have you ever been the victim of re-gifting? You give your girlfriend a new pair of fuzzy boots and three days later you see her best friend wearing them instead. It hurts a little bit because it’s an indirect message that the gift you gave this person didn’t please them. But, imagine this. Not only do they regift it, but they give it to your worst enemies. The people who stand for the exact opposite things that you do, the people who actively campaign to hurt the people you love the most. We would be so unhappy with our friends and family for using the gifts we gave them in such a way, yet that’s how we treat God on an almost daily basis.
As I’m sure you already see, Hosea can be a very convicting and challenging book. Rarely does God use such a visceral example as he does here to show us how He’s feeling. I hope you’ll stick with me over the next week or so as I dig into some of the aspects of this book that really stood out to me. I love you guys and if any of you need any prayer for anything or would like to talk more in-depth about faith and God I want to encourage you to please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. It would be my great pleasure to pray for you or to converse with you about my faith.