TODAY’S READING: HOSEA 1-6
Israel compared to an unfaithful wife (chapter 1); God seeks reconciliation with Israel (chapter 2); Hosea’s reconciliation with his wife (chapter 3); God’s controversy with his people (chapters 4-6).
HIGHLIGHTS & INSIGHTS:
We now move into the section of the Old Testament referred to as the Minor Prophets. As mentioned previously, they are “minor,” not in terms of the content of their message, but simply the length of it. Keep in mind also, that a prophet was someone God called to take His side against nations and peoples (Deut. 18:22 – “a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD”). There is, without a doubt, no prophet who had more of an opportunity to actually “speak in the name of the LORD” than Hosea, as God asked this prophet to do the unthinkable! “And the LORD said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms” – Hosea 1:2. Hosea was actually told to marry a wife that God knew would break his heart by her unfaithfulness. Why would God do such a thing? For two reasons.
First, because it was a graphic ILLUSTRATION. Hosea, whose name means “Jehovah, or God, is salvation” (much like “Joshua” in the Old Testament, and “Jesus” in the New Testament), is to take a wife of whoredoms because she depicts the unfaithfulness of Israel to her “husband” (Ezek. 16:8-15), the “God of her salvation.”
Secondly, faithful Hosea is to take an unfaithful wife because it is a graphic REALIZATION. God wanted Hosea to preach to unfaithful Israel, feeling in his heart, what God felt in His. Perhaps the only way Hosea could really preach “in the name of the LORD” with both the Lord’s passion and compassion, was living through the hurt in his relationship with his lover (Gomer), that God felt with His lover (Israel).
Are you experiencing hurt in any area of your life right now? It may reveal something very interesting and significant if you were to take the time to right down the circumstances of what happened to hurt you, and how it has made you feel. Many times, God allows the events and circumstances of our lives to unfold as they do, not only because it fits perfectly into His sovereign design and plan, but to allow us, like Hosea, to feel in our hearts what He feels in His! When we actually put the situation that has hurt us into words, we discover that what we are going through and how it has made us feel, is no different than what God goes through and feels, and has gone through and felt! The New Testament terminology for this principle is “the fellowship of His suffering” (Phil. 3:10).
It seems, however, that most Christians never connect the dots of the pain that they are experiencing, to what the Lord went through in His pain (i.e. His suffering). Missing this connection, it is way too easy to begin to use our circumstances to justify our vengeance, anger or bitterness, rather than to allow our circumstances to move us into a whole other dimension of “fellowship” with our Lord! God has always longed for and looked for people “after His own heart.” Sadly, when He orchestrates/allows the events and circumstances of our lives to make us that kind of people, we forget that the real prayer and desire of our hearts really is Philippians 3:10 – “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death”, and miss that God, through our circumstances has actually answered our prayers! This is another one of those principles you might want to take the rest of the day to meditate on, and !
from there, the rest of your life!
And before we actually get into the “guts” of the Book of Hosea, don’t’ miss that Gomer is also a very graphic and extremely sad picture of us. When we “love the world” (I John 2:15), or seek to rationalize or justify our “friendship with the world” (James 4:4), our “husband” (II Cor. 11:2), the God of our salvation, the Lord Jesus Christ views it, and even calls it “adultery”!!! (See James 4:4)!
As we move into chapter one, note also the lesson God wanted to “preach” to Israel through Hoesa’s three children. God named his first child “Jezreel,” meaning “God sows” or “God scatters,” depicting the fact that God was about to scatter the nation of Israel. His second child God named “Loruhamah,” meaning “no mercy” or “unpitied.” She pointed to the fact that God would no longer extend His mercy to Israel, but would be taken into captivity. The third child God named “Loammi,” meaning “not my people,” teaching Israel that He no longer recognized them as His children. It may have been that Loammi was not actually Hosea’s child, but a child born of Gomer’s whoredoms. It would be hard to get very far away from your calling if you had to give your children such names! It would be like God asking those of us called to “preach” to this generation (Rom. 10:14), to name our children “Laodicea” (meaning “the rights of the people”), “Lukewarm” (depicting the state of His chur!
ch), and “Selfish” (depicting the real love of His people, “lovers of their own selves” – II Tim. 3:2). Note, however, in Hosea 2:1, the Lord points to a time when the “Lo” (i.e. meaning “no” or “not” or “without”) would be removed, and Israel would again be “Ammi” (“my people”) and “Ruhamah” (“having obtained mercy”). Note also that “in that day,” “Jezreel” will no longer mean “God scatters,” but “God sows.” God says in 2:23, “And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.” That of course, will be during the Great Tribulation, culminating with the Second Coming of Christ and the establishment of His millennial kingdom.
More will be said concerning the chapters in today’s reading in tomorrow’s “Highlights and Insights.”
CHRIST IS REVEALED:
Through HOSEA’S LOVE FOR HIS UNWORTHY, SINFUL WIFE – Hosea 3:1-5 (Rom. 5:8; Rom. 8:32; II Peter 1:3).