By Sarah Snyder
One of my favorite books of the Bible is Hosea; not only does it contain typical prophetic poetry, but it also has a story line. It was written during the reign of Jeroboam II, probably the worst king in all of Israel (2 Kings 14). Throughout this story and through Hosea’s prophecy from God, we hear an incredible message: God will heal and save His people despite constant rebellion.
The book begins by God instructing Hosea to take a prostitute as a wife. It says in 1:2 “Go marry a prostitute who will bear illegitimate children conceived through prostitution, because the nation continually commits spiritual prostitution by turning away from the Lord.” So Hosea takes Gomer as his wife and she gives him three children. However, just as God said, Gomer returns to her ways and begins prostituting again.
One of the most beautiful moments in this passage is chapter 3. In this short chapter, God calls Hosea to go and retrieve Gomer and rescue her from her sinful ways. So Hosea goes and finds his wife and brings her home. Verse 1 says, “The Lord said to me, ‘Go, show your love to your wife again, even though she loves another man and continually commits adultery. Likewise, the Lord loves the Israelites although they turn to other gods and love to offer raisin cakes to idols.’” The end of this verse is very telling, though the Israelites continue to worship other god, God loves them and will bring them home. The story of Hosea and Gomer is a reflection into the story of God and the Israelites. Though they continue to rebel, God will bring them back to him.
There are two final moments in this book where God shows his love to Israel. Starting in chapter 4, Hosea announces Israel’s ruin if they do not repent. This is how the rest of the book flows, prophecies of Israel's doom if they do not repent. However, in chapter 11, God reminds the Israelites that he will restore them. Then again in chapter 14, the very last chapter, God says “I will heal their waywardness and love them freely” (14:4). Though this book is compelling Israel to repent from their wicked ways, God will continue to love his people and restore them.
The final verse of the book offers us great insight into God’s desire to heal and restore not only Israel, but all of humanity. This verse is from the author, the one who compiled Hosea’s writings. He starts by asking who is wise and discerning. Then he says, “For the ways of the Lord are right; the godly walks in them, but in them the rebellious stumble.” The author is telling us that this message from Hosea applies even today. God will continue to heal his people, despite their constant rebellion.
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