Summary: Every generation commits spiritual adultery whilst claiming to be faithfully following Christ. we need to heed the warnings of Hosea
Gentlemen if someone was to come and ask you to write down a list of the attributes of a good wife I wonder what you would write? I guarantee none of you would write ‘Unfaithfulness’ in the list. ‘Unfaithfulness’ is not an attribute we would uphold or seek for a relationship with. Yet that is exactly the main attribute of Gomer, whom Hosea is instructed by God to marry, verse 2.
However, before we enter into the passage let us look at the context of the book of Hosea. Look at verse 1. We are given very little biographical details about Hosea. We know his name means ‘God saves’ and that his father is called Beeri. He lived in the northern kingdom (Israel) and he was called of God to not only speak the Word of God to God’s people but to be a living sign of that Word before the people also. The historical setting of the prophecy of Hosea is given in the list of kings of Israel and Judah. All of this took place in the 8th century BC. The prophecy is recorded in 14 short chapters. Chapters 1-3 form an introduction and summary of the whole story. They deal primarily with the Hosea’s marriage and family life. Chapters 4-14 contain the prophetic utterances of Hosea over a period of 38 years or so. From the chapters we find two dominant themes – the Judgment of God in response to the sin of the people and the unconditional love of God towards His people.
In his prophetic utterances Hosea recalls the covenant faithfulness of God and the repeated unfaithfulness of the people to that covenant. He points out to the people of God their hypocrisy and evil before God. Yet Hosea also proclaims the future prospect of God’s love and the reconciliation, redemption and restoration of God’s people by God.
Verse 2 - What an astonishing thing for God to call Hosea to do. He calls him to marry a prostitute, a woman of unfaithfulness. There was to be no fairytale romance and beautiful wedding. Hosea enters into this marriage knowing there will be problems ahead. Look at what the verse says exactly. ‘An adulterous wife and the children of unfaithfulness.’ Hardly the building blocks to a happy home life. Yet Hosea is not alone amongst the prophets when it comes to being asked to do strange things by God. Elijah was told to pout water on his sacrifice at Mt Carmel. Ahijah tore his cloak in 12 pieces before giving 10 to Jeroboam.
At the end of verse 2 God gives Hosea a clear reason for this instruction. His marriage was to be a sign, a symbol, a representation of the spiritual life of the people of God. Listen to the Word of God here – read end of verse 2. These words are very direct and hard hitting. God is direct in His confrontation and condemnation of the people’s spiritual state before Him.
If you want to know how the people had fallen so far from God you only have to look at the kings listed in verse 2. Uzziah had been struck with leprosy by God because he was a proud and arrogant man. Jotham was a good king in many ways but he failed to deal with the pagan altars in the midst of the people of God. Isn’t it amazing, even those whose hearts are inclined to God, can be so reluctant to deal with the stumbling blocks in their lives and the lives of others. Jotham had no moral courage to deal with the pagan altars. Ahaz was an outright unbeliever who sacrificed his own son to a pagan deity. Hezekiah was the exception to the rule, he did love God and followed his ways. Demonstrating to all, that God always has His faithful remnant. Jeroboam, the only northern king in the list, we are told did evil in the eyes of the Lord God. From the list we can see that the people were claiming to be the people of God whilst worshipping other gods, living immoral lives and doing evil before God. Let me ask you a question: Any thing changed since the 8th century BC? I don’t think so. In fact I think Hosea is a timely message for us today.
You know Hosea is quoted 8 times in the NT and Peter speaks of him on the day of Pentecost. Paul quotes him extensively – showing the eternal nature of his prophecy and the Word of God.
Verse 3 we lose something in the translation from the Hebrew into the English. In the Hebrew it says that God told Hosea “Go take…and he went and took.” There is an immediacy in his obedience to the command of God. The verse ends with the simple statement that Gomer conceived and bore Hosea a son. That little statement seems innocent but the fact that it is missing from the announcement of the birth of his daughter and second son leads many scholars to conclude that the subsequent children may not have been Hosea’s but were in fact the result of Gomer’s unfaithfulness.