Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Prophet Hosea was heart-broken when his wife Gomer left for another man. Which husband would not feel intense pain if his intimate lover despised him and the kids? Last he heard of her was she had become a prostitute and to many it would spell an end to the relationship.
But to Hosea, it was not a surprise as he pondered over the words of God given to him before his marriage to Gomer. Their marriage was arranged by heaven but by far a heavenly marriage. While the prophet was seeking Yahweh over his next move, the Word of the Lord came, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulterous. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.” Hosea knew of the intensity of Israel’s rebellion of God and his covenant.
Although it was difficult for Hosea to reconcile with a prostitute wife, the prophet knew that God's Words spoken through him, were the only hope for Israel. His prophecies were to become the last call of God for Israel to turn back. To God, this picture story was clear enough for all to see. The God of Hosea was willing to love and heal the unfaithful Gomer nation who despised God’s mercy and kindness.
The names of the three children of Hosea thundered loudly from the heavenly roof top the seriousness of God’s words. Each child’s name appeared more drastic in judgment than the previous one. Jezreel meant “God plants or scatters” showed how God would eventually plant or scattered them somewhere else, away from the promise Land. Incidentally, the city by the same name, Jezreel, was also the abode of the evil king Ahab and the gory death of Jezebel. And the prophet could not have forgotten the blood-shed of Jehu’s murderous campaign there as well. Hosea’s second child, a daughter, Lo-Ruhamah meant “No mercy” signalled that God would finally despise his beloved if Israel still stubbornly persisted in her sins. The third child, a son by the name of Lo-Ammi meaning “Not my people” began a severance of a relationship between God and his people. Yet, when God asked Hosea to take back his disgraced wife, there was this sense of amazing grace and hope. What an amazing God!
Hosea had witnessed succession of evil and hopeless kings in his call as a prophet of Yahweh. From King Jeroboam II to Hoshea, the last king of Israel, the nation had deteriorated spiritually to a breaking point. Canaanite worship, ritual drunkenness and temple prostitution were common sights and sounds. The saddest part for the prophet was the degradation of worship to Yahweh. Some rituals were still followed but their hearts were hollow. The words of Hosea epitomised the grief of God, “For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings”.
When Israel sins began to destabilise the nation, the king scrambled for alliances again, this time with Egypt and then Assyria, unaware that the latter was God’s impending instrument of judgment. Hosea knew that these fragile treaties were added sins of distrust of their God, Yahweh.
Hosea’s name itself was a call for reconciliation, “God is Salvation!” The prophet reminded them of their birth as a nation and how God protected and nurtured them like every good parent would. God spoke through Hosea, "When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. But the more I called Israel, the further they went from me. They sacrificed to the Baals and they burned incense to images. It was I who taught Ephraim (Israel) to walk, taking them by the arms; but they did not realize it was I who healed them. I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love; I lifted the yoke from their neck and bent down to feed them”.
What a God! What a Father! What amazing love!
God was waiting patiently for his wayward son to return and reunite. Before Hosea retreated onto the background and silenced by God, his last words were penetrating for Israel and for generations to come.
“Who is wise? He will realize these things. Who is discerning? He will understand them. The ways of the LORD are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them”.
What would Prophet Hosea say to us if he were still alive today?
1. God is a Loving Father.
2. God's grace is absolutely amazing.
3. God sees everything we do and He knows what is in our hearts.
4. God can use nations to do His bidding.
5. Let us hunger after God's Word and be a discerning believer of Christ.
Next: Prophet Micah