READ: Hosea 1:2
“When the Lord began to speak through Hosea, the Lord said to him, “Go, marry a promiscuous woman and have children with her, for like an adulterous wife this land is guilty of unfaithfulness to the Lord.”
The Bible contains a diverse collection of stories. Sometimes the Bible is straight forward and applicable, and other times it is confusing and metaphorical. Sometimes the Bible portrays beautifully simple love stories, and other times it examines shockingly dysfunctional relationships. This is evident in the prophetic writing of Hosea. This short book is about a preacher marrying a prostitute.
Hosea was a prophet to the nation of Israel during the reign of King Jeroboam II. Jeroboam was a wicked king who encouraged the nation to worship empty idols instead of their expansive God. This led the country into conflict with God and each other. There was stealing, abusing, cheating, lying, murdering, and suffering at the hands of fellow citizens. This lawlessness made Israel vulnerable to attack, so the Assyrians prepared a plan to overtake them.
Hosea rose up to warn the people of Israel. He was commanded to help them see the flaws in their ways and encourage them to return to their first love. Hosea was a powerful man of God. He was a bold leader with a big heart and a bizarre calling. Things got really weird when God called him to do the unthinkable. A voice from heaven commanded him to marry a promiscuous wife. He knew that she would cheat on him, but he sent out the wedding invitations anyway. He knew that sorrow was inevitable, but he picked out a ring.
Hosea was asked to paint a picture of God’s relationship with His people by marrying an unfaithful bride. Ultimately, His life was a metaphor. Hosea represented God while his unfaithful spouse represented Israel. The Israelites had broken their vows by turning to false gods. Their idolatry was like adultery. It wasn’t just wrong; it was heartbreaking. It wasn’t just casual; it had serious consequences. Hosea invited Israel to see that there was a way back to God, despite their rebellion. Their story doesn’t have to have a tragic ending.
Your story doesn’t have to have a tragic ending either. This love story is also our story. Unfortunately, our character is the cheater. Every scene depicts the divine, but sometimes dysfunctional, relationship we have with God. We are prone to wander, but God pursues us. We become irrational, but God stays steady. We try to run from God, but His grace always catches up. Our idolatry is like adultery, but God wants to renew our vows.