Summary: Why would God ask a prophet to marry a prostitute? What a shocking love story that ultimately points to the greatest love story in God’s Son laying down his life on the cross for an unworthy and unfaithful bride. In the symbolism of Hosea, God is the Prophet and we are the prostitute. What grace!
1. GOD’S LOVE IS UNDESERVING (1:1-3a).
2. GOD’S LOVE IS URGENTLY NEEDED (1:3b-9).
3. GOD’S LOVE IS UNRELENTING (1:10-2:1).
Do you remember when you were a child? When children are small they run to their mother’s arms. We have little children all around here. Those arms of mama and daddy are strong arms. They are a refuge.
The Everlasting Arms
God’s arms are our refuge. I love Deuteronomy 33:27, “The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms.”
Where do you turn when you are tired? Where do you go when you are bored? What do you turn to when you find yourself in financial need? Financial pressure is boring down on you. Where do you go? Where do you go when the pressure of illness and health problems come when you are already exhausted with work? What do you do when you are really happy? Where do you turn? What is your refuge? What is your encouragement in the dark? That’s your god. God wants us to turn away from idols.
We come to a scandalous portion of the Word of God. Here we have a man, a prophet named Hosea. He’s part of the school of the prophets. He’s from northern Israel, in fact, he’s the only prophet outside of Amos to have a message for apostate northern Israel. Things are good in Israel. They are in a time of unprecedented prosperity.
THE AUTHOR: INTRODUCING HOSEA
We are introduced to this prophet, Hosea. Although it is not expressly stated in the book of Hosea, it is apparent from the level of detail and familiarity focused on northern geography, that Hosea conducted his prophetic ministries in the northern Israel (Samaria) of which he was a native.
1:1 ¦ The word of the Lord that came to Hosea, the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel.
What do we know about the prophet Hosea? Hosea was a prophet who lived and prophesied just before the destruction of Israel in 722 BC. He preached to the northern kingdom. The prophet’s name means “salvation,” likely a reference to Hosea’s position in Israel as a beacon of hope to those who would repent and turn to God because of his message. He begins his ministry during the same time as the prophet Isaiah, from the prophet Uzziah all the way to Hezekiah. He has a very long and powerful ministry. He’s gifted. He’s bringing a powerful message.
The Message of God’s Love
He’s a prophet. He’s a great prophet. He’s a mighty prophet. The Word of the LORD comes to this great prophet (1:1). God spoke directly to Hosea. Wow. That’s pretty intense. What’s God say? God asks Hosea to marry a prostitute in order to show how deeply he loves Israel, who was committing spiritual adultery, and breaking the covenant. God says in this book, “You tell Israel, I still love them. I love them and my love is powerful. My love is strong. My love is infinite. I love you with an everlasting love. I’ve written your name on the palms of my hands. I love you.” What a message!
Isn’t it ironic 2000 years after the coming of Christ, the Bible has been translated into thousands of languages, movies have been made about the life of Christ, and yet the world still is divided and does not seem to have a clue about the love of Christ? But go back to this parsonage and consider these three truths as they unfold. The first truth is this:
1. GOD’S LOVE IS UNDESERVING (1:1-3A).
Here we learn about the man, Hosea. What we find is that he is relentless in his love to an undeserving wife. That love is really the story of the entire Bible. The Bible is God’s love story to us, undeserving and unfaithful sinners.
Somebody’s Getting Married!
God tells Hosea: “I’ve got a wife for you.” I can imagine Hosea: “Great news!” “I’d love to get married. I have been thinking about that LORD. I’m living up here in this northern unbelieving kingdom, and I’ve got just the girl, LORD. She’s a very godly girl.” God says, “Oh, I’ve got a girl for you.”
“Yes? Who is she?” asks Hosea. Listen to the story in verse 2.
1:2 ¦ When the LORD first spoke through Hosea, the LORD said to Hosea, ‘Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the LORD’.
Hosea was one of only two writing prophets who ministered to the northern kingdom of Israel (Amos was the other). During the same time period Isaiah and Micah prophesied to the southern kingdom of Judah. At the beginning of Hosea’s ministry, the northern kingdom was quite prosperous under the reign of Jeroboam II. But though things appeared to be calm on the surface, underneath the torrents of the kingdom’s destruction were swirling. The nation had forsaken the Lord. Though they retained allegiance to the Lord with their lips, their hearts were far from him.