November 13, 2020

Hosea 1:1-11
A century and a half had come and gone since Jeroboam I had torn ten of the trines away from the throne of David to form the northern kingdom of Israel. Some fourteen kings had come and gone. Some had been weak, some had been warlike, but all had been wicked, Jeroboam had set the trend. He introduced the cult of the golden calf. It was a bad beginning. Later on, Ahab had introduced Jezebel and promoted the false worship of Baal. Now Jeroboam II was on the throne and, though outwardly strong, he had been weighed in the balance and found wanting, so God sent along a prophet, Hosea by name. His task was to show the king, the court, and the country just what God thought of them The prophet had a tragedy in his home life. It was a full-length portrait of the tragedy in his homeland. A look at what Hosea’s home life was like tells us all we need to know as to what his homeland was like. Hosea had no illusions regarding the state of his homeland. It was apostate.
As a young preacher, Hosea felt the need for a wife, someone to support him and to share with him in what he was sure would be a difficult ministry. The Spirit of God confirmed his leading and, shortly afterward, Hosea met Gomer. Probably the kind of wife Hosea envisioned for himself was someone like Sarah or Miriam or Jochabed or Deborah, some strong believer in God.
But his choice was Gomer. It seemed a good enough choice, for her name meant “completion.” No doubt he thought she would complete him, bringing strength where he felt weakness, goodness where he was inclined to stray. So Gomer won his heart, and God confirmed to him that she was the one he should marry. What a shock he received! “A wife of whoredoms” is the Holy Spirit’s later assessment of her. She was a woman given to a promiscuous lifestyle.
Whether Hosea knew it or not, we cannot be sure. If he did, doubtless he deluded himself into thinking he would change her. After all, Rahab had been a harlot, but she became a true mother in Israel and a giant of the faith. Gomer, however, broke Hosea’s heart.
That was the supreme truth he was to show to Israel. He became a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief, He was married to a wife of whoredoms. Painfully he learned that sin not only breaks God’s laws; it breaks Gods heart. So Hosea married Gomer. The tragedy in his home life had begun.
A boy was born, and the prophet called him Jezreel. Jezreel was the name of a place of fearful associations, Naboth’s vineyard had been there. The battle of Armageddon will be fought there. But by now, Gomer was tired of restraint, and Hosea had to put up with her moods. In time, a second child was born. Hosea had grave doubts as to this girl’s parentage, so he called her “Lo-ruhamah.” The name means “not loved” and suggests she never knew a father’s love.
Then Gomer became a woman of the streets, and Hosea disowned her third child altogether. “Lo-Ammi” (“not my people”) he called this boy, indicating he was no child of the prophet. The names of these children were prophetic messages addressed to apostate Israel. They warned of vengeance, of being strangers to God, and of being disowned by Him.
Gomer sank deeper and deeper into the mire until she gave herself up totally to vice. Then she became a drunkard and sold herself into prostitution. Hosea loved her still. In the end, he bought her from her owner for a few pennies—all she was worth—and took her to his home. He cleaned her up and gave her a bed. “I’ve bought you,” he told her. “I still love you. But I don’t want a slave. It’s a wife that I want. I know how to wait.” Thus God loved Israel, and thus He loves the world. “[Love] suffereth long, and is kind,” He says (I Cor. 13:4). His love never lets us go. lt pursues us even into the far country. “His love knows no limit to its endurance, no end to its trust,” as one translator puts it. It never fails.

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