Hosea in Hebrew means “the Lord has saved us” or “salvation” He was one of the minor prophets who declared God’s judgement against idol worship in Israel. The Bible says nothing about Hosea’s background but does place him in Israel.
The theme of the book is Hosea proclaiming God’s compassion and covenant love that cannot let Israel go.
Major truths: God suffers when His people are unfaithful; God cannot condone sin; God will never cease to love His own and will seek to win back those who have forsaken Him.
Let’s jump right into it!
God requested that Hosea marry a prostitute. Many Bible scholars don’t believe that this took place and that it is a parable for God and the people of Israel. Yet, others believe that the story is to be taken literally.
Other prophets get to live in palaces and be part of royalty. God commands Hosea to marry a prostitute… and he obeys.
“Marry a prostitute, so some of the children will be born you from other men. This will illustrate the way my people have been untrue to me, openly committing adultery against the Lord by worshipping other gods.” (1:2) Another version reads: “Go take yourself an adulterous wife and children of unfaithfulness, because the land is guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the Lord.” (NIV)
Israelite society tolerated prostitution, but it was clearly immoral:Proverbs 23:27 “for a prostitute is a deep pit and a wayward wife is a narrow well.” Proverbs 29:3 “… to keep company with prostitutes is to squander one’s substance.”
Hosea married Gomer and she conceived and bore Hosea a son. The Lord commanded Hosea to name this son Jezreel which means “God scatters.” The name describes what happens to the Jews. “In that day I will break Israel’s bow in the Valley of Jezreel.” (5) Valley of Jezreel is Israel’s largest valley and lies at the foot of Mount Carmel. It was where Assyria robbed Israel of its independence by defeating their army in 733 BC.
In verse 6, Gomer conceived again and gave birth to a daughter and then in verse 8 she had another son. It does not say that she bore him (Hosea) another son and daughter which may indicate that Hosea was not the father of these 2 children. The daughter’s name was Lo-ruhamah means “not loved” indicating that God rejected Israel and the reversal of the compassion that God had shown. The son’s name was Lo-ammi which means “not my people” which is God’s description of Israel and the break in their covenant relationship. The names get more severe with each child.
Hosea is called to be faithful to a woman who is not faithful to him and love and be a father to children who are not his. This is how God feels when we worship other idols before Him. No matter how unfaithful we are, He still loves us the same.
At the end of the chapter, God states that the Israelites will become like “the sand on the seashore” and too numerous to count and instead of being “not my people” that will be called “sons of the living God.” (10) All the people of Judah and Israel will come together and and have a single leader, “for great will be the day of Jezreel.” (11) Day of Jezreel here means “The day of one” is the time of God’s special visitation of him, either in wrath or in mercy. Here “Jezreel” is in a different sense from that in verse 4, “God will sow,” not “God will scatter”; they shall be the seed of God, planted by God again in their own land.Thank you Lord for Your faithfulness and seeking out those who are lost: from being “not my people” to “sons of the living God!”