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Hosea 1:2 reads, “The beginning of the word of the LORD by Hosea. And the Lord said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredoms, departing from the Lord.” Let me begin by saying that I take this verse literally, for I believe that God was commanding Hosea to actually marry a harlot. Why would He ask Hosea to do that when prostitution is a sin? Look at the second half of the verse, which teaches us that Israel was guilty of the very same thing, for they were steeped in idolatry and were thus committing “spiritual fornication” against the LORD. In this state of spiritual infidelity, the nation of Israel was guilty of “departing from the Lord.” They had long ago closed their ears to the Word of God and in Hosea’s marriage to a harlot, God would use that unfaithful union as an “object lesson” to speak to His people of their unfaithfulness to Him.

In verse 3 we learn that Hosea “…went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; which conceived, and bare him a son. And the LORD said unto him, Call his name Jezreel: for yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, and will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel.” Hosea obeyed God by marrying Gomer and in the course of time they had three children. Their firstborn son was named Jezreel, which means, “God will scatter.” Just as Hosea’s marriage would be used of God to teach His failing people a spiritual lesson, so would the children they had. God was about to judge the northern kingdom of Israel and “scatter it” throughout the nations and Jezreel pictured this coming judgment. Verse 6 tells us, “And she conceived again, and bare a daughter. And God said unto him, Call her name Lo-ruhamah: for I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel; but I will utterly take them away.” This child’s name means “unpitied.” God had loved and pitied His people but His patience was at an end and through this child He was, in essence, saying, “I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel.” In verses 8-9 their third child was born, “Now when she had weaned Lo-ruhamah, she conceived, and bare a son. Then said God, Call his name Lo-ammi: for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God.” Lo-ammi means “not My people.” God would not only withdraw His mercy from His people and scatter His people to the four corners of the earth, He would also renounce them as His people.

How solemn are the lessons we’ve had before us! But as the book of Hosea unfolds we learn, through Hosea’s marriage to Gomer, that God’s judgment upon Israel would ultimately lead to their restoration. In Hosea 3:1-2 we learn that Hosea reclaimed his estranged wife who had left him, illustrating God’s unfailing love for His earthly people. In verse 3 Gomer’s heart is won to Hosea, just as Israel’s heart will finally be won to the LORD. How precious are the words of verse 5, “Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and shall fear the LORD and His goodness in the latter days.”

Is there a lesson for us today? Ephesians 5:22-33 teach us that the husband and wife relationship is a picture of Christ and the church. We are His bride to be! He loves us and desires that we be faithful to Him, as Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 11:2, “For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.”  Let us not be guilty, as Israel was to the Lord, of “spiritual adultery.” James wrote of this deplorable condition in James 4:4, “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God?” Let us rather be true to our Lord Jesus Christ, the One who “loved the church, and gave Himself for it.”  (143.6)  (DO)