Summary: I see a lot of modern day Christians, including myself, in the story of Hosea. But I don’t see us in the person of Hosea. I see us rather in the person of Gomer the prostitute. Are we very much different from those people?
Dallas and Irene Sherman of Cincinnati had a really stormy relationship. During one of their many rows Irene deliberately wrecked two of their cars, which was the last straw for Dallas and he filed for divorce. But as time went by, he found that he couldn’t live without her, so they were reconciled and actually got married again. But it wasn’t too long before they were arguing again, only this time Irene shot Dallas in the hand and the chest – twice! She was put on probation; he recovered and promptly divorced her for the second time. But they still went on seeing each other, and during one of their attempts to get back together, Irene shot Dallas again. He obviously didn’t mind too much though as they were married for the third time in 1977.
This story so well illustrates the volatile relationship between God and the people of Israel. We all know that what God did for the Israelites throughout their history was pretty amazing. He set them free from slavery in Egypt, he parted the red sea, sent manna from heaven, brought water out of a rock, put his spirit in a cloud and it went before them by day, and lit up like a fire by night. He brought them them to a new place. The Promised Land, a place flowing with milk and honey. He rescued them from their enemies, he made them a nation, a chosen nation, his nation.
But over and over the Israelites rebelled, over and over they rejected him and turned their back on him. And that was certainly the case in Hosea’s day. There’s lying, there’s murder, there’s bloodshed. The people of God are worshipping idols, adultery is rife in their midst and there is even religious prostitution – not out in the world where you expect that kind of behaviour – but within God’s people. No wonder they were breaking God’s heart.
It was a society which mirrored in every way the one Paul describes in Romans 1:23 - a society beyond reversal and being ’given over to sin’ and God’s judgement- ‘they suppress the truth by their wickedness, they are without excuse, they degrade their bodies with one another, they exchanged the truth for a lie, woman exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones, men became inflamed with lust for one another and committed indecent acts with other men. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant, boastful. They invent ways of doing evil, they disobey their parents, they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. They not only do all these things, but they also approve of those who practice them.’
Those "exchanging God’s glory for something disgraceful.."
What’s worse- even the priest were doing the same... or at least encouraging it... not teaching what is right... and people were being destroyed by their ignorance (4:6). Physically/sexually they prostituted themselves to anyone who came their way.... and politically and spiritually they did the same.