Bible Focus: Hosea
When the LORD first spoke to Hosea, he said this to him: Go and marry a woman of promiscuity, and have children of promiscuity, for the land is committing blatant acts of promiscuity by abandoning the LORD.Hosea 1:2 CSB
When infidelity arises in a marriage, it often strikes a fatal blow. Some marriages can and do survive infidelity, but not without a huge amount of work. The affected couple must find ways to sincerely confess and forgive, identify root causes, establish safeguards, and rebuild trust.
Even then, there is no guarantee that such efforts will be successful. Both spouses must stay committed to healing and reconciliation. This is especially challenging for the spouse who was never unfaithful in the first place. The loyal one who loves the unloyal one displays the greater love.
When it comes to us and God, we are the ones who have been unfaithful. He has always been loyal to us; we have not always been loyal to him. But God reaches out to us even when he would be justified in turning away.
After the nation of Israel split into the two kingdoms of Israel and Judah, both kingdoms struggled to be faithful to God. The lure of other gods pulled powerfully on most of the rulers and ordinary people of Israel and Judah.
However, the kingdom of Israel had greater difficulty being loyal to God. The prophet Elijah once complained that he was the only faithful one left in Israel. In response, God told Elijah that there were 7,000 others (1 Kings 19:18). Those faithful followers were notable, but they represented less than 1% of all Israelites.
The prophet Hosea lived in Israel around the same time that the prophet Isaiah was living in Judah. But while God had compelling visions for Isaiah, he had a quite different assignment for Hosea. God told Hosea to intentionally marry an unfaithful woman. Hosea’s marriage would become a living example of God’s love toward unfaithful Israel.
Hosea married a woman named Gomer. She was indeed unfaithful to Hosea, and she ended up leaving him. Later, God commanded Hosea to go get Gomer, even though Hosea would have to pay to get her back.
Then the LORD said to me, "Go again; show love to a woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress, just as the LORD loves the Israelites though they turn to other gods and love raisin cakes."Hosea 3:1-5 CSB
So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and nine bushels of barley. I said to her, "You are to live with me many days. You must not be promiscuous or belong to any man, and I will act the same way toward you."
For the Israelites must live many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar, and without ephod or household idols. Afterward, the people of Israel will return and seek the LORD their God and David their king. They will come with awe to the LORD and to his goodness in the last days.
God proclaimed through Hosea that Israel would fall to Assyria and go into exile because of her unfaithfulness. Even so, God still urged the people to turn back and be reconciled to him.
In the same way, all of us have been unfaithful to God. We’ve rebelled against him and followed our own desires. We reap the consequences of our actions, and our sins separate us from God.
But here’s the good news: God pursues us and offers to reconcile with us. This reconciliation is something that we can’t even pay for–Jesus paid it all when he went to the cross and died for our sin. Will we reject God’s love and refuse his forgiveness? Or will we trust his love, receive his forgiveness, and return to him?
Come, let’s return to the LORD. For he has torn us, and he will heal us; he has wounded us, and he will bind up our wounds. He will revive us after two days, and on the third day he will raise us up so we can live in his presence. Let’s strive to know the LORD. His appearance is as sure as the dawn. He will come to us like the rain, like the spring showers that water the land.Hosea 6:1-3 CSB
Featured image from Felix Berger on Unsplash.
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