According to Hosea, what should be our response to the love of God?

According to Hosea, what should be our response to the love of God?

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8 months ago
“For the ways of the Lord are right. The righteous walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them.” Hosea 14:9
A dear friend of mine recently finished a study on the book of Hosea. If you’re scratching your head and wondering who in the world Hosea is, he was a minor prophet of the Old Testament who did all he could to warn Israel of their falling away from God while reminding them of God’s unfailing, persistent love and mercy.
The study made my friend think about who she is in Christ, and that got me thinking…who am I in Christ? Who is my family in Him? Where are we in our walk with Him? Are we being faithful? Since Hosea caused my friend some introspection, I thought I’d dig into this often-overlooked book of the Bible and see if I can find the answer.
A Little Cultural History
The book of Hosea occurs at a time when Israel was divided into two regions- Israel (Ephraim) to the north and Judah to the south (Jerusalem was in Judah). King Jeroboam II had just passed away after years of national peace and prosperity and now Israel was experiencing rapid moral decline.
The kings of both regions were incredibly weak. They continually promoted idolatry and formed political alliances with neighboring heathen nations as a means of defense instead of seeking God’s help. Their people were morally wayward and corrupt, and the Jewish nation as a whole had lost sight of God (again).
For thirty years, Israel’s kings were assassinated by others who wanted to take over the throne. The Assyrian empire took note of the mayhem and finally conquered Israel, and Judah to the south appeared headed to a similar fate. That’s when Hosea started prophesying.
Who is Hosea?
Hosea is sometimes called the St. John of the Old Testament because of his messages of God’s love. His main goal was to remind the Israelites of God’s persistent faithfulness and love. But, he also had another mission- to warn them of God’s imminent judgement on them. Day after day, he doggedly alerted everyone, but they wouldn’t listen.
God had yet another purpose for Hosea. He favored Hosea like He did Job, but God still made him suffer to prove an important spiritual truth to the Israelites. And, it started with God’s choice of wife for Hosea.

Hosea’s Marriage
Without question, Hosea truly loved the Lord. He was completely obedient to His laws and he loved keeping every one of them. So, when God told Hosea to marry a woman named Gomer, he didn’t hesitate. Immediately in chapter one we read,
“The Lord said to Hosea: ‘Go, take yourself a wife of harlotry and children of harlotry, for the land has committed great harlotry by departing from the Lord.’ So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.”
Now, I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone use harlotry three times in one sentence, so we must assume that Hosea knew full well what he was getting himself into. I’m not sure he fully understood exactly how tumultuous it would get, though.
From our 21st century perspective, we already know what’s going to happen to the marriage. Gomer was either already the f**ling around type or she was about to be. Maybe Hosea saw it coming too, but he still obeyed God.
God’s Plan
Hosea’s marriage to Gomer was meant to be a living example of God’s faithfulness to His people despite His bride, Israel, being complete unfaithful. In this grand illustration, Hosea represents God and Gomer represents Israel.
We can only assume Gomer was a virgin at the time she married Hosea because of who she represents, but because God called her a harlot, we can also assume she strayed from the marriage at some point. Similarly, the nation of Israel strayed from her husband (God) numerous times. And, numerous times God forgave her and took her back. Hosea forgives Gomer too, each time renewing his faithful love to her and proving that God’s love is greater than any sin.
In the middle of all this marital strife, Hosea tries to warn the people of Israel about their impending destruction if they do not return to the Lord. He delivers a message from God in chapter four:
“Hear the word of the Lord, you children of Israel, for the Lord brings a charge against all inhabitants of the land: There is no truth or mercy or knowledge of God in the land.” Hosea 4:1
Here, the word knowledge comes from the Hebrew word yada, which basically means an intellectual relationship. In other words, the Israelites had no meaningful relationship or connection with the Lord. It had gone on for long that it had raised God’s anger and now His just punishment was coming. But, God loved Israel so much that He felt a little torn about what to do, so He gives the people a quick historical review.
God reminds the people of Jacob’s lying to gain Esau’s inheritance, of their rebellion in the wilderness during their exodus from Egypt, and their shouting for a king, which God eventually gave them (1 Samuel 12). And now Israel was acting up again. In the final chapters of Hosea, we can sense God’s anxiety and frustration over what to do. So, He does the only thing He can do.
8 months ago
According to Hosea, our response to the love of God IS morning cloud
8 months ago
We are currently reading from the Book of the Prophet Hosea at daily Mass. The story of the Prophet Hosea’s troubled marriage is a powerful testimony to two things: our own tendency to be unfaithful to God, but also of God’s passionate love for us. We do well to recall the story, especially given the “great debate” among some in the Church today over the question of divorce and remarriage. And while there are many painful stories of what some have had to endure in difficult marriages, remember that God is in a very painful marriage with His people—yes, very painful! God knows the pain of a difficult marriage and a difficult spouse. The story of Hosea depicts some of God’s grief and what He chooses to do about it.

The precise details of Hosea’s troubled marriage are sketchy; we are left to fill in some of the details with our imagination. But here are the basic facts along with some “fill in”:

Hosea receives an unusual instruction from God: Go, take a harlot wife and harlot’s children, for the land gives itself to harlotry, turning away from the LORD. So he went and took Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim (Hosea 1:2).
Together they have three children, each with a symbolic name: Jezreel (for God is about to humble Israel in the Jezreel valley), Lo-Ruhama (not pitied), and Lo-Ammi (not my people). It is also possible that these children were not of Hosea but rather of Gomer’s various lovers, for although they are born during the marriage, God later refers to them as children of harlotry.
At some point, though the text does not specify when or under what circumstances, Gomer leaves Hosea for another lover and enters into an adulterous relationship. We can only imagine Hosea’s pain and anger at this rejection. The text remains silent as to Hosea’s reaction, but as we shall see, God’s reaction is well-documented.
Hosea takes her back. After an unspecified period of time, God instructs Hosea, Give your love to a woman beloved of a paramour, an adulteress; Even as the LORD loves the people of Israel, though they turn to other gods and are fond of raisin cakes (Hosea 3:1). Now while the quoted text does not clearly specify that this is the same woman he is to love, the overall context of chapters 1-3 of Hosea demand that this is the same unfaithful wife, Gomer. God tells Hosea to redeem, to buy back, Gomer and re-establish his marital bonds with her.
Hosea has to pay a rather hefty price indeed to purchase Gomer back from her paramour: So I bought her for fifteen pieces of silver and a homer and a lethech of barley (Hosea 3:2). The willingness of her paramour to “sell her back” indicates quite poetically that the apparent love of the world and of all false lovers is not real love at all. It is for sale to the highest bidder.
Prior to restoring her to any intimacy, a period of purification and testing will be necessary: Then I said to her: “Many days you shall wait for me; you shall not play the harlot Or belong to any man; I in turn will wait for you” (Hosea 3:3).
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