Israel is in disarray politically, economically, and spiritually. The people have assassinated rulers, and they were looking to the surrounding nations for help. They lived as if God had not called them and made them his people. The people worshiped other gods and abandoned the Lord who loved them. The book of Hosea uses the prophet's relationship with an adulteress wife as a metaphor to describe the love relationship between God and his people. God's people had forsaken him and embraced false gods, breaking their covenant with the God who loved them. They had no self-control and would give themselves away to any god or people who they believed would help them. This chapter continues to narrate the tragedy of Hosea's own marriage. Hosea's wife Gomer had abandoned him and their three children. The Lord tells Hosea to go again and pursue in love his wife, the adulteress. God explains that he loves Israel despite the fact that they turn to other gods and pagan practices. Hosea goes to the marketplace and sees his unfaithful wife who has fallen into slavery from which she can be released for a small payment. Hosea bought her by paying half in silver and half in goods. Hosea instructs Gomer to return to him and walk in fidelity consistently for many days. This display of repentance accompanied with her obedience would mean that the covenant relationship could resume.
The Message To Israel
Hosea's marriage and issues with his wife were to serve as a message to Israel. The people of Israel would experience a period of discipline. The sad truth was that Israel would be exiled to a foreign land and during that time, they would be ruled by a foreign king. They would suffer the loss of their religious privileges as well. There would be no pillar to be raised, ephods for priests, or idols. The point was that Israel would be deprived of both legitimate and illegitimate forms of government and worship. Israel's exile would not be the end.The people of Israel would repent and return to the Lord their God. They would seek him in worship and obedience. The prophecy also points forward to Jesus who would sit on the throne of his father, David. God's people would come in fear and worship because of his goodness. All of this would happen after the exile and ultimately in Jesus.
Things To Consider:
- Why do you think the Lord used such a graphic depiction of Israel's sins?
- How do you think Hosea felt when God told him to go and love his adulteress wife?
- How great is God's love?
- Do you marvel at the truth that God would set his affection on an adulteress people?
- How did God purchase us?
- What obligations are we under because of God's covenant and his purchase?
- Why is it important to look at patterns of obedience and disobedience?
- Why would God send the people he loved into exile?
- How does he discipline us today?
- How does one return to the Lord?