Hosea: Faithless People, Faithful GodSeries: Overviewing the Bible
The word of the Lord came to Hosea around 760 BC when Jeroboam II was reigning in the northern nation of Israel. God’s instructions to him were plain, but shocking. “Hosea, marry a promiscuous woman and have children by her.” Hosea obeyed and married a promiscuous woman named Gomer. The first child she bore was a boy and the Lord told Hosea to name him “Jezreel.” Gomer had a baby girl and the Lord instructed Hosea to name her Lo-ruhama or “No Mercy.” Gomer had a baby boy and the Lord told Hosea to name this boy Lo-ammi or “Not My People.” It became very clear at that point that these last two children were most likely not Hosea’s children. Though Hosea married and cared for Gomer, she had been unfaithful.
Why would God instruct Hosea to marry a promiscuous woman knowing she would be unfaithful to him? Notice Hosea 1:2. Though the Lord gave Israel protection and prosperity in Canaan, the people broke their covenant with the Lord like an unfaithful adulteress and left the Lord. Hosea’s marriage to a promiscuous woman would depict to Israel how horrible their unfaithful idolatry was. Throughout Hosea’s prophecy, Gomer generally represents those responsible for teaching Israel and Gomer’s children represent the children of Israel who do not know the Lord. The child Jezreel represents how God would soon bring the bloodshed of that historically bloody location upon Israel. No Mercy represents how the Lord would have no more mercy on Israel. Not My People represents a shocking declaration: the Israelites are not God’s people.
Lamentations teaches us the destruction sin brings to our lives. Hosea causes us to see how misplaced trust and worship is adultery against God. With Israel’s covenant marriage to the Lord in mind, today we will consider the nature of Israel’s idolatry, Israel’s weak repentance, and the Lord’s faithfulness to his faithless bride. Hosea’s prophecies teach us that where we place our trust and why we repent of misplaced trust matters. Most beautifully, Hosea teaches us the Lord’s love is unfailing.
- Israel committed adultery against the Lord by attributing His gifts to other lovers and by seeking wisdom and protection outside of the Lord (2:1-8, etc.)
- Don’t stop marveling at God’s quiet, faithful provision for your life
- Don’t stop running to God first for sustenance
- Israel weakly repented when they remained in their sins and had selfish motivations for turning to God (6:1-7:3)
- Repent understanding our harm towards God
- Repent understanding that consequences last
- Repent simply because you want to learn to love God
- *Teach children God’s word, not just moralism
- Though Israel was bent on leaving the Lord, his faithfulness and compassion would preserve a remnant and call them back to him one day (3:1, 11:7-11)
- God’s heart can grow warm in compassion to the worst of sinners
- God’s love is unconditional - let this motivate deeper devotion
- This graciousness is displayed throughout the prophets - read the prophets!