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Hosea 1:12; 2:25; 3:15comment (0)

November 29, 2012

By Robert Olsen

Related Scripture: Hosea 1:12; 2:25; 3:15

Explore the Bible 
Assistant Professor of Christian Ministries, University of Mobile

Exposing a Broken Relationship

Hosea 1:1–2; 2:2–5; 3:1–5

Something’s Not Right Here (1:1–2)
The book of Hosea is the second longest of the minor prophets — only Zechariah is longer. Hosea could have been ministering for 50 years based on the number of kings who reigned over him. The first four kings (reigning between 793–686 BC) mentioned are kings of Judah, the Southern Kingdom. The last one mentioned, Jeroboam (reigned 793–753 BC), was a king of Israel, the Northern Kingdom.

It was in the Northern Kingdom where Hosea preached. From its inception the Northern Kingdom had turned from worshipping God. Jeroboam I had set up golden calves for the people to worship in Dan and Bethel so that his subjects would not go to Judah and worship in Jerusalem. The unfaithfulness of the Northern Kingdom is a main theme in the book of Hosea. 

The book opens with the line, “The word of the Lord came to Hosea.” This is important because it shows that Hosea is a prophet of God and that his message is God’s message, not the message of a mere man. In the opening of the book God tells Hosea to marry an unfaithful wife. Some try to interpret this as Hosea’s wife became unfaithful after they were married, but the clear reading of the text is that God told Hosea to marry a woman who was going to be unfaithful. This is important because it represents God’s faithfulness to the Israelites even though He knew they would be unfaithful to Him.  

Your Sins Will Come Out (2:2–5)
God is using the adulterous actions of Gomer as a way of speaking to Israel for her unfaithfulness. The words are addressed to Gomer’s children, but they are also meant for Israel. God is going to take action against Israel for her behavior. Time and time again Israel turned to foreign gods to satisfy their cravings, and because of these wayward activities God was going to punish Israel. 

However, God’s discipline is always meant to bring His people back to Him. We see this continually throughout the Old Testament and even today. God disciplines us to bring us back to following Him, as He knows what is best for us. Hebrews 12:7 says, “Endure suffering as discipline: God is dealing with you as sons. For what son is there that a father does not discipline?” And when we repent and turn back to God, He is always gracious and forgives us our sins (see 1 John 1:9 — “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”)

Redemption Carries a Price (3:1–5)
Hosea is told to take back his wife, though she is loved by someone else. Just as Gomer had turned from her husband to other men, so did Israel worship Baal and foreign gods, turning her back on God. This is spiritual adultery. But God continued to show love to Israel and entreated the Israelites to return to Him. 

In order for Hosea to release Gomer, he had to make a payment. From whom she was redeemed, the text does not say. He may have had to pay off her debts or perhaps she had fallen into slavery. Regardless, the redemption cost Hosea. 

Furthermore, Hosea commanded her to refrain from her wicked and wayward ways. 

Today, just as in Hosea’s day, God desires that we turn to Him, and just as in the case of Hosea and Gomer, we need to be redeemed. 

Additionally our redemption is costly. God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross to pay for our sins. Ephesians 1:7 lays this out clearly: “We have redemption in Him through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.” 

God loves us and desires that we turn to Him, but we need to come to Him on His terms, not our own. We need to repent of our sins and follow Christ.

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