Summary: Sermon 1 in a study in Hosea
“When the LORD first spoke through Hosea, the LORD said to Hosea, “Go, take to yourself a wife of harlotry and have children of harlotry; for the land commits flagrant harlotry, forsaking the LORD.” 3 So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son. 4 And the LORD said to him, “Name him Jezreel; for yet a little while, and I will punish the house of Jehu for the bloodshed of Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel. 5 “On that day I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel.” 6 Then she conceived again and gave birth to a daughter. And the LORD said to him, “Name her Lo-ruhamah, for I will no longer have compassion on the house of Israel, that I would ever forgive them. 7 “But I will have compassion on the house of Judah and deliver them by the LORD their God, and will not deliver them by bow, sword, battle, horses or horsemen.” 8 When she had weaned Lo-ruhamah, she conceived and gave birth to a son. 9 And the LORD said, “Name him Lo-ammi, for you are not My people and I am not your God.”
It may sound like a strange thing to say about a story that begins with all the cheeriness of a root canal performed with a pocket knife, but the book of Hosea is about love and redemption and restoration.
One commentator called it the ‘second best story in the Bible’.
This is a story about a God who loves His people so much, that every time He has to expose their sin and declare the calamity that is to befall them; that indeed He is about to bring upon them; He follows it quickly with promises to save them and restore them to Himself. He can’t stand to utter harsh words, even though they are well-deserved, and let it go at that. His deep love for them compels Him to offer hope.
In fact, it is in the instructions He gives to Hosea the prophet that He reveals His own heart toward His adulterous people; then…and now.
DID HE REALLY SAY THAT?
The first thing we ought to get settled, just in case anyone has difficulty accepting the assertion of verse 2, is whether God really did give Hosea such a command.
There have been many commentators, and although I haven’t read his stuff, John Calvin is reportedly among them, who have denied that this could have been an actual marriage; that a holy God would not instruct His prophet to actually enter into a marriage relationship with a prostitute.
So, as with all the other difficult passages of scripture that men like to cut a swath around if they can, there have been numerous speculations about this passage, men trying to reconcile God’s Word with their personal and cultural sensitivities, instead of just saying, ‘thus says the Lord’ and teaching it.
“Oh, it’s really just a vision. It’s symbolic.”
“No, no, it’s real, but she was a good woman when they got married and only turned unfaithful later.”
“No, I think she wrongfully participated in an ancient Canaanite premarital sexual ritual in preparation for marriage and that’s what this means…”
One commentator actually began his introduction saying that Hosea wanted to marry a harlot named Gomer and God allowed it but warned him she would break his heart. Do you see that in verse 2? I do not.