Summary: So what are we supposed to do if God calls us to do something that doesn’t make a lick of sense? Trust in God.
All throughout the Bible, we can see that God liked to ask His people to do things that just didn’t seem to make sense. Here are a couple of examples:
In the desert, God first asked the Israelites to give Him the first and the best of their crops and herds. If you’re a farmer, this doesn’t make any sense. Farmers want to keep the best genetic specimens to make sure the next herds are just as good!
God sent the huge numbers of Israelites out of Egypt (river plains, fertile, lots of food) into the desert (not much water, v. little food). Again, this doesn’t make sense. Where are you going to find enough food and water out there for hundreds of thousands of people all at once?
When He was going to conquer the oppressing army, God told Gideon to send home almost all of his own men. That’s just crazy talk! Why would you attack an opposing force of tens of thousands of men with only 300 soldiers?
The more you read the Bible, the more you see of these events that just don’t seem to make logical sense - from a human perspective, anyway. Each of these examples I gave, though, have a pretty obvious explanation, when you think about them for a few minutes. God asked the Israelites to give Him the first and best of their crops and herds because He wanted them to place their future in Him. Makes sense. God sent the Israelites into the desert because He wanted them to learn to depend on Him for their daily bread. Again, makes sense. God sent Gideon into battle with only 300 men because He wanted us to know who really fights our battles. Makes perfect sense, when you think about it.
But some things in the Bible just don’t make a lot of sense, even when you think about them for a few minutes. Turn with me to the book of Hosea, chapter 1.
2When the Lord first began speaking to Israel through Hosea, He said to him, “Go and marry a prostitute, so that some of her children will be conceived in prostitution. This will illustrate how Israel has acted like a prostitute by turning against the Lord and worshiping other gods.”
Let’s start at the beginning -- Hosea is a prophet, right? Specifically chosen and called by God to deliver His word. And, one of the first things God tells Hosea is for him to go marry a prostitute! Really? A prostitute? I can see Hosea questioning this. “OK, Lord...I get what You’re trying to do. But isn’t there another way? Can’t you just give me some words to shout at people on the street corner so I don’t have to marry a prostitute?” “HEY! YOU OVER THERE! GOD SAID THAT YOU’RE ALL GOING TO BE PUNISHED! K, THANKS! SEE YOU LATER!” Try to imagine the first time Hosea goes to temple after all this -- people whispering in the aisles, “Hey, isn’t that the guy who married the prostitute?”
But, Hosea did it anyway. He had no idea where this was going, but He trusted God. Hosea married Gomer, and lo and behold she gets pregnant and bears Hosea a son!
3So Hosea married Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim, and she became pregnant and gave Hosea a son. 4And the Lord said, “Name the child Jezreel, for I am about to punish King Jehu’s dynasty to avenge the murders he committed at Jezreel. In fact, I will bring an end to Israel’s independence. 5I will break its military power in the Jezreel Valley.”
Jezreel. The name means “sown or scattered by God”. In that sense, God’s referring to the punishment He plans to give to Israel -- King Jehu murdered all of King Ahab’s family in the Jezreel Valley, disobeying God. Telling Hosea to name his firstborn son Jezreel shows that God remembered this, and the first thing He plans to do is punish the king of Israel for his sins. Again, Hosea trusts God and does what he’s been commanded to do anyway, even though it doesn’t make a lick of sense.
It’s not over yet for Hosea, though. Gomer gets pregnant again.
6Soon Gomer became pregnant again and gave birth to a daughter. And the Lord said to Hosea, “Name your daughter Lo-ruhamah—‘Not loved’—for I will no longer show love to the people of Israel or forgive them. 7But I will show love to the people of Judah. I will free them from their enemies—not with weapons and armies or horses and charioteers, but by my power as the Lord their God.”
God tells Hosea to name his daughter -- Daddy’s little girl! -- “Not Loved”. I have a daughter, and I can’t imagine what Hosea was going through when he was told this! God is using Hosea’s daughter to give a message to the Israelites -- He will no longer show love to them. They are no longer God’s chosen people -- that honor now belongs to the people of Judah.