Groomsmen stand at attention as the music swells and the bride begins her long walk down the aisle, arm-in-arm with her father. The smiling, but nervous husband-to-be follows every step, his eyes brimming with love. Then happy tears are shed, vows stated, and families merged. A wedding is a joyous celebration of love. It is the holy mystery of two becoming one, of beginning life together and of commitment. Marriage is ordained by God and illustrates His relationship with His people. Thus, there is perhaps no greater tragedy than the violation of those sacred vows.
God told Hosea to find a wife and revealed to him ahead of time that she would be unfaithful to him. Although she would bear many children, some of these offspring would be fathered by others. In obedience to God, Hosea married Gomer. His relationship with her, her adultery, and their children became living, prophetic examples to Israel.
The book of Hosea is a love story–real, tragic, and true. Transcending the tale of young man and wife, it ells of God’s love for His people and the response of His “bride”. A covenant had been made, and God had been faithful. His love was steadfast, and His commitment unbroken. Just as Hosea’s wife, Gomer, was unfaithful to him, so the nation of Israel had been adulterous and unfaithful to God. Israel sought illicit relationships with Assyria and Egypt in pursuit of military might, and they mixed Baal worship with the worship of God.
The book begins with God’s marriage instructions to Hosea: “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.'” (Hos. 1:2) After Hosea’s marriage, children were born, and each given a name signifying a divine message (Hos. 1:4-9). Then as predicted, Gomer left Hosea to pursue her lusts (Hos. 2).
But Hosea (whose name means “salvation”) found her, redeemed her, and brought her home again, fully reconciled (chpt 3). Images of God’s love, judgment, grace, and mercy were woven into their relationship. Next, God outlined His case against the people of Israel: their sins would ultimately cause their destruction (chpts 4; 6-7; 12) and would rouse His anger, resulting in punishment (chpts 5; 8-10; 12-13). But even in the midst of Israel’s immorality, God was merciful and offered hope, expressing His infinite love for His people (chpt 11), and the fact that their repentance would bring about blessing (chpt 14).
The book of Hosea dramatically portrays our God’s constant and persistent love. Read the short book and 1) watch the prophet submit himself willingly to his Lord’s direction; 2) grieve with Him over the unfaithfulness of his wife and his people; and 3) hear the clear warning of judgment. Then reaffirm your commitment to being God’s person, faithful in your love and true to your vows.
Source: Life Application Study Bible (NIV)