Day 6 Hosea 2:4-3:5 ... Human Object Lesson

God sent prophets to Israel and Judah to meet the need to the moment. When people were cocky, self-indulgent, and spiritually deaf, a screamer like Amos appeared on the scene. But suffering people called for another tone. Just a few years after Amos, as Israel was breaking apart and sliding toward chaos, a word from God came to Hosea. To a shattered nation, Hosea brought a hope-filled message of grace and forgiveness.

Most books of the prophets focus on the audience and all the things theyâve done wrong. Hosea, in contrast, shines the spotlight on God. What is it like to be God? How must he feel when his chosen people reject him and go panting after false gods? As if words alone were too weak to convey his passion, God asked the brave prophet Hosea to act out a living parable. He married a loose woman named Gomer, who, true to form, soon ran away and committed adultery. Only by living out that drama could Hosea understand, and then express, something of how Israelâs rebuke felt to God.

Poor Hosea lived a soap-opera existence. After Gomer had wandered off, fallen for another man, and then moved out, God instructed Hosea simply to invite her back and forgive her. The pattern hopelessly repeated itself. Gomer bore two children - but was Hosea really their father? According to the Mosaic Law, he should have turned his adulterous wife out on the street, or had her tried in court. What Hosea did, and God did, was unheard of.

Hosea is one of the most emotional books in the Bible, an outpouring of suffering love from Godâs heart. Read aloud, this chapter sound like a fight between a husband and wife overheard through thin walls. The book of Hosea, in fact, represents the first time Godâs covenant with Israel was described in terms of marriage. It shows that God longs for his people with the tenderness and hunger that a lover feels toward his bride.

In the covenant, Israel had agreed to love and obey God no matter what, "till death do us part." But as they prospered in the new land, that flame of love died. The old covenant was fractured. As Hosea tells it, the death of their love broke Godâs heart. God could only promise another chance, with a new covenant at a future time when "you will call me Îmy husbandâ; you will no longer call me Îmy masterâ."

Point to Ponder: Hosea describes various stages in Israel's relationship to God: during courtship and engagement, as newlyweds, when unfaithful, when separated. What stage are you in with God?