Published January 27, 2011
Hosea 1:2-9; 3:1-5
Bible Studies for Life, Feb 6
Everyone dreads hearing a good news/bad news story. You can just imagine the outcome of a conversation between a dad and his son with this kind of storyline. The son goes to his father and tells him he is getting married. As the father begins the congratulatory process, the son informs him that not only is he getting married, but he is marrying a prostitute.
I can just hear the concerned father as he says, “Would you repeat that second part one more time?” Or as the late Gary Coleman might have said on “Different Strokes,” “What you talkin’ bout Hosea?”
Welcome to the wonderful world of Hosea! If Beeri needed any convincing concerning this startling revelation from his son, all Hosea had to do is remind him that he is simply following the Lord’s instructions (1:2), as if following the Lord’s instructions is ever a simple matter. In fact, sometimes they are very difficult to follow.
You only have to go back as far as the 22nd chapter of Genesis and read about Abraham’s willingness to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice. God’s instructions in verse 2 are very plain, yet, not so simple: “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, go the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.”
The prophet Isaiah reminds us that we may not always understand God or His Ways. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not My ways … For as heaven is higher than earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Is. 55:8-9 HCSB).
So the message in the book of Hosea is not about Gomer and it isn’t even about Hosea. As always, it is about God, and ultimately God’s Grace.
Hosea’s wife - Hosea 1:2-3
There are various interpretations and speculations concerning Gomer, the chosen wife for Hosea. Some scholars believe Gomer was a known prostitute that lived promiscuously when Hosea chose her to be his bride. Still others believe she was pure when selected by Hosea, later turning to a lifestyle of prostitution.
There are good Bible students on both sides of this issue, and it doesn’t need to be a point of contention. Whatever the situation, the ultimate message in the end is the same for both – a beautiful display of the wonderful grace of God.
While surely not understanding why God would instruct him this way, Hosea was obedient and married the woman God told him to marry. That is so often not the case today. Young men and women usually are more interested in who they want, rather than who God wants for them as a spouse. Ultimately, many of the marriages that end in divorce are probably because the couple did not marry “God’s person” for their life.
God’s message in this marriage is discovered in verse 2. God’s people had been living sinful lifestyles – in essence committing “spiritual adultery.” God was getting ready to deliver a message like only He could, and He was using one of His prophets to get the message to the people so they would understand.
While society used to look down on the physical act of adultery (sadly it seems that is no longer the case), God is showing His people that “spiritual adultery” is just as evil, if not worse.
Hosea’s children - Hosea 1:3-9
One of the greatest privileges new parents get to enjoy is the naming of their children. The thought process expectant parents use is sometimes amazing. Do we name him or her after my parents or your parents? If it is a boy, we will name him this, or if it is a girl we will name her that.
More often than not, the name of a child has a story behind it. Hosea and Gomer did not have the luxury of naming their children. That was done for them as a part of the master plan of God. There is no doubt that there was a message in the naming of Hosea’s children.
• The Name of Confusion! God told Hosea to name his first child Jezreel. The name means “to scatter” or “to sow.” In judgment, God is going to take a rebellious, sinful and adulterated people and scatter them in different places.
• The Name of Contempt! Hosea’s second child was to be named Lo-ruhamah, or as the HCSB translates it “No Compassion.” Her name shows the bitter contempt God had on the nation Israel because of their condition. He has contempt and no compassion for Israel.
• The Name of the Covenant! Hosea’s third child was to be named Lo-ammi. How strong the judgment of God is with this name! God and Israel had maintained a covenant relationship for many years. Because of their spiritual adultery, they had broken that covenant. God had not moved! God had not changed! The covenant people did!
As always, God’s love, mercy and grace shine in difficult times. In verse 10 we see that those who were said not to be God’s people, “You are the sons of the living God.” What a mighty God is He, One who forgives.
Hosea’s grace - Hosea 3:1-5
After declaring in chapter 2 that Gomer was not his wife because of her adultery, we see a new attitude in Hosea. Upon experiencing the compassion of God, Hosea felt he could show no less. As God spoke to Hosea in chapter 3, He reminds him that although Israel had turned to other gods and committed spiritual adultery, He loved them and forgave them.
Hosea then purchased Gomer, by a not-so-high price, to come and live with him. What a beautiful picture of what God has done for us today!
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. While Gomer’s purchase price was not that expensive, the price God paid for us was very expensive. It cost Him the life of His precious Son.
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