Hosea 3 – The Faithfulness of God Demonstrated through Hosea

Yahweh calls Hosea to keep on loving Gomer, even as she continues to run to the arms of another man, with the same love that Yahweh is showing to Israel, even as they go on turning to the Baals. The impulse underlying the faithfulness of Yahweh is a deep and undying love for his people. But what do they, for their part, love? Raisin cakes. The abrupt mention of raisin cakes seems odd. And that is the point. Her love is oddly misplaced. NO matter what she may tell herself, she does not love Yahweh. She loves Baal, for she ‘has a lover and is an adulteress’. But the last clause of verse 1 makes the telling point that what attracts Israel to her false lover is a trivial and earthly pleasure. The nation is like a woman who leaves her loyal husband in their palace to go drinking with some good-for-nothing in the bars. Sensate Israel does not hunger for the spiritual things Yahweh offers.

To sustain the commanded demonstration of faithful love, Hosea has to buy his wife. Why this is necessary at all he leaves unexplained. The bare fact teases the imagination, and one can only speculate as to how Gomer’s lifestyle took her where Hosea has to pay a price for her. That price seems a modest one, implying that Gomer was not worth much to anyone by then.

What eventually developed between Hosea and Gomer, the text does not reveal. That is not the point. The human marriage serves merely as the point of departure for the prophetic declarations to the nation concerning its current moral condition, its short-term discipline in exile and its long-term hope in the latter days. The life of whoredom she has chosen must be purged from her national soul; but through all the agony required for the cleaning to be thorough, nothing will be able to separate her from the love of Yahweh.

Raymond C. Ortland, Jr.

Heart Preparation
Read Hosea 3. Consider the great faithfulness of God to us despite the fact that he was after lesser lovers and other gods. What things do you need to stop running after? How is Christ better?

Posted on: August 29, 2014 - 5:34PM

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