Hosea’s Call, Circumstances, and Marriage
Several years ago I did a study of Hosea. I spent a few days in the church I pastored teaching in special services for that purpose; and I was also invited by my home church to come for a week of services to teach the book of Hosea. It was the year that our Convention – the Southern Baptist Convention – had Hosea as the Winter Bible Study. This was a study i thoroughly enjoyed, was encouraged by, and prayerfully have grown through; and more since that time.
We will be in this study for some time. I will endeavor to keep the studies readable and short. I pray God’s richest blessing on you, as you read and hear the word of the LORD.
“Hosea was the second of God’s spokesmen known as eighth-century prophets.” Amos was the first, and he and Hosea were contemporaries, both preaching in the Northern kingdom also know as Israel, or Ephraim. Isaiah and Micah preached to the Southern kingdom, usually called Judah, during this same century.
There are two main divisions to the book: 1) Hosea’s marriage, and 2) Hosea’s message. There are four prominent themes: 1.) God’s love, 2.) the sin of God’s people, 3.) God’s judgment, and 4.) hope.
“Hosea 1-3:5 emphasizes God’s faithful love in spite of the people’s unfaithfulness to Him. Hosea 4 – 7:16 shows God’s indictment of the sins of unfaithful Israel. Hosea 8 – 10:15 stresses the sure judgment that awaited Israel because of their stubborn refusal to repent. Hosea 11 – 14:9 presents the hope that God’s healing love will eventually lead some to repentance and renewal.” From the WINTER BIBLE STUDY for this study.
Let us begin by reading chapter 1 verse 1,
“The word of the LORD that came unto 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.” Hosea 1:1 (KJV)
If you will note the kings of the kingdom of the South – Judah; Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. Three of these kings “did what was right in the eyes of the LORD”; one did not – that was Ahaz (2 Kings 15:30-34; 16:1-4; 18:1-3). Joash, fit in with Ahaz. For those who might think leadership in the nation does not have anything to do with morality, or blessing beware.
Sometimes hearing the Word of the LORD is through our circumstances. The spiritual and moral attitude of Israel was one of not only spiritual adultery against God, but adultery of the flesh as well. Because of this it might have been quite difficult for a man to find a woman who was morally and physically pure. Does that sound relevant to our times? Through these circumstances of life Hosea heard the Word of God.
“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 whoredom, departing from the LORD. So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; which conceived, and bare him a son.” Hosea 1:2-3 (KJV)
The Northern kingdom was a kingdom which had departed from the LORD from their inception (1 Kings 12:16-33). If you were to study the kings of the Northern kingdom there is not one king of whom the Scripture says “Did right in the eyes of the LORD”, not one.
Remember, also, the moral circumstances of the land in that day. There was much idolatry; all connected to Baal worship. There was temple prostitution, used in “worship” of Baal, pleasure oriented god who was made after the image of man. The prostitution was both male and female; or heterosexual and homosexual abomination. The people of the era believed these adulterous practices would bring s harvest of bounty, the rains would be plentiful. Many a young woman and many a young man was convinced that to present themselves as a prostitute for Baal was her duty and an honor. Many a married – betrothed woman would go to Baal’s temple and engage in this behavior believing that to do so would make her womb fruitful and bear many sons.
Hosea loved a woman named Gomer who – possibly after the wedding – began these pagan rites of worship. God definitely used this in speaking to Hosea. Hosea learned in this the pain, the heart break of God in Israel’s departure from Him.
“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. And it shall come to pass at that day, that I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel.” verses 4-5 (KJV)
As a result of this marriage there was a son born to Hosea and Gomer. God told Hosea to name him Jezreel. Jezreel means “God sows”. In this case God is saying that He is going to sow judgment. Jezreel is a city approximately 55 miles North of Jerusalem. It is in an area known as the “Plain of Jezreel [Megiddo]”. A place where much blood has been shed, and much will yet be shed in that plain (See Revelation 19:11-21).
At this time the house of Jehu will be judged, because of their father’s sin (See 2 Kings 10:29-31). It seems that Hosea has no doubt about Jezreel being his son.
And she conceived again, and bare a daughter. And God said unto him, ‘Call her name Loruhamah: for I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel; but I will utterly take them away. But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save them by the LORD their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen.’
Now when she had weaned Loruhamah, she conceived, and bare a son. Then said God, ‘Call his name Loammi: for ye are not My people, and I will not be your God.'” verses 6-9 (KJV)
The next child that was born was a daughter. Lo Ruhamah means “No mercy”. Do you suppose Hosea may have began to realize that his wife was unfaithful at this time.
Then Gomer had a third child, and God called him Lo Ammi meaning “Not My people”. Was Hosea coming to understand the heart of God? His heart- ache, pain, and anger with adulterous affairs, with worldliness among His people?
“Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, ‘Ye are not My people,’ there it shall be said unto them, ‘Ye are the sons of the living God.’ Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land: for great shall be the day of Jezreel.” verses 10-11 (KJV)
Speaking through the circumstances of Hosea’s day God has spoken words of judgment and rejection. However, we see in these last verses of the chapter that there is hope.
In these verses God promises that He is not through with Israel. This is truly a hope and promise of THE REDEEMING LOVE OF GOD.
What does God promise?
- They shall be “accountable – without number” (v. 10);
- …Those “Not My people” declared to be “Sons of the living God” (v. 10);
- …There shal be a gathering of Judah and Israel (v. 11);
- …They shall have one head – “The root of David” (v. 11; Jeremiah 30:8-9);
- …They are told to refer to one another as “brother” and “sister” (2:1).
We will look at number five further in the next study.
When we look at Israel, the Northern kingdom, God’s promises to them; then we can know and rest in the assurance of God’s promises that His Word is being fulfilled; even today. The whole law and the prophets is revealed fully in the person of Jesus Christ. He suffered the agony, suffering, rejection of death, was buried, and rose again bodily from the grave; justifying all who will believe Him.
-Tim A. Blankenship