When God desires to demonstrate His love for His people, He gives them a picture of that love through the prophet Hosea, "Go, take yourself a wife of harlotry and children of harlotry, for the land has committed great harlotry by departing from the LORD" (Hosea 1:2). Stunned but obedient, Hosea marries Gomer, a woman committed to "running around on him."
The early chapters of Hosea chronicle Gomer's blatant adultery and Hosea's continued commitment to her. After years of adultery, God asks Hosea to, "Go again, love a woman who is loved by a lover and is committing adultery, just like the love of the LORD for the children of Israel, who look to other gods" (3:1).
No man has loved an adulterous wife as God has loved His wayward people. That God is good is exceedingly evident in creation and the garden of Eden, where God anticipates and provides for man's every need. Sadly, the first couple doubt God's goodness, question His word, and eat of the forbidden tree. God actively pursues the wayward couple, giving a promise of redemption and providing a visual or picture of redemption. He promises that a Seed will come and crush the work of the serpent. He also kills an innocent animal and covers man's nakedness. From that day, God's pursuit of man has been a scandalous pursuit--a husband's pursuit of an adulterous wife.
The Apostle Paul captures God's love in this one statement, "For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom. 5:7-8). To reject Christ, then, is to reject His scandalous love.
God's love for His people isn't passive; rather it is active--scandalously active and raw. Therefore, when God tells Hosea, "Go, take yourself a wife of harlotry," He provides Israel a picture of His covenantal love. They have broken their vow to Him; He has kept His vow to His people, and He will continue to pursue His people.
Rather than cry out to God to protect Judah from the Edomite threat, King Ahaz reaches out to the Assyrians for protection. What are the ramifications of that decision?
The Bible uses the word "harlot" for the first time in the Judges Era to describe Israel, "Yet they would not listen to their judges, but they played the harlot with other gods, and bowed down to them. They turned quickly from the way which their fathers walked, in obeying the commandments of the LORD; they did not do so" (Judges 2:17). What do the LORD's instructions to Hosea reveal about God's attitude toward Israel and her sin?
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