Hosea 1-3: The Love of God
December 1, 2020
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
The Book of Hosea is one of the most beautiful—and startling—books in the Bible. In it the prophet is asked to play out a drama, a drama that came at considerable personal cost, and which was enacted in order to visually and vigorously depict the real spiritual condition of God’s people.
Hosea was to marry a prostitute, for God’s people had prostituted themselves to idols. In this way, through the extraordinary love of Hosea shown to an unfaithful wife, God’s even far greater extraordinary love for his people is depicted. “The land commits great whoredom by forsaking the Lord” so Hosea is to take for himself a “wife of whoredom” (1:2). Children are born: Jezreel, because of the military disaster that will happen in the Valley of Jezreel (1:5); No Mercy because God will no longer have mercy on his people (1:6); Not My People for “you are not my people and I am not your God” (1:9). That last is perhaps the scariest thing ever uttered by a covenant and sovereign God: the people of God had broken covenant, and they are no longer his people. But yet there will come a day when this judgment is to be reversed: those who were “not my people” will become “children of the living God,” and now “great shall be the day of Jezreel” (1:10-11). The same pattern is repeated again in chapter 2, finishing with:
“they shall answer Jezreel, and I will sow her for myself in the land. And I will have mercy on No Mercy, and I will say to Not My People, ‘You are my people’; and he shall say, ‘You are my God.’” (2:22-23)
And therefore Hosea is to enact this redemption, as he is commanded in chapter 3, by marrying Gomer, the adulteress (3:1). For,
“Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the LORD their God, and David their king, and they shall come in fear to the LORD and to his goodness in the latter days” (3:5).
God’s redeeming love is displayed then most fully at the cross, his character revealed for being the God who loves adulterers, idol-worshippers, rebels like you and me. How great is our God! How loving and merciful! How extraordinary that he takes us for his own despite our sinfulness! How greatly he is to be praised and worshipped!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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