Hosea is a story of a broken heart. God’s people, whom he loves with undying love, have abandoned him for other lovers. Verse two tells us that God relates the unfaithful wife of Hosea with the unfaithful children of Israel. Hosea 1:2 says, “When the Lord first spoke through Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea, ‘Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the Lord.’” Israel did not appreciate the depth of God’s love for them. They did not return His love for them. They wanted the pleasure & excitement of playing the field instead of the blessings of a wholesome and honest monogamous relationship.  With Hosea’s life, God held up a mirror in which His people could see and appreciate what they’ve done to Him. Hosea 1:2 says, (My Paraphrase) God told Hosea, “Your wife will never be faithful to you. She will conceive and bear children from other men, but not for you. Her promiscuity will make you a laughingstock to the world.  But more importantly, because of your deep love for her, her affairs will break your heart. This will illustrate how my people have treated me.”

God’s deep love for His people is the central theme of Hosea! But our hard-heartedness blocks the flow of God’s love. We yearn for the “strange fire” of the gods of the people in the land. We see the idols of possessions, pleasure, and prestige and follow after them. We yearn for (maybe just secretly) the “strange flesh” of other lovers, just as Gomer (Hosea’s wife) did.  The only way to live like this is to block out God’s great love for us. The whole picture presented to us in the book of Hosea has one profound point. “It is obvious that God is using an analogy between the prophet’s experience of disloyalty and God’s experience of disloyalty with Israel! However, the real purpose is to reveal the broken heart and forgiving love of YHWH. Hosea’s great truth is the undeserved, faithful, lasting love of God!”[1]

Israel never got the point! They continued in their whoredoms until the destruction of both the Northern and then the Southern Kingdoms. The Temple was utterly destroyed and the children of Israel were taken off as prisoners and slaves. But God still didn’t desert them. He called them back into their land where they rebuilt the temple. Yet, God’s love was not understood. They focused on law and regulations and rituals thinking that would please God, but they missed the point of God’s love. This is why Jesus was the climax of God’s plan. As Romans 5:8 tells us, “God demonstrated His love for us in this: while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” Jesus came to break through the hard-heartedness of man. God so loved us that He sent His only son to die for us. I remember holding my baby son and my baby grandson. It strikes me that God, in the very person of His son, took on the form of a baby for the very purpose of inspiring our love for Him rather than an obligation to Him.  As I think of the soft little hands of my son, I can’t imagine having nails driven through them. The chubby little feet being nailed to a cross repulses me. And his beautiful little head having a crown of thorns smashed down upon it is a nightmarish thought. His little body, in his “Gramma is out of this world” jumpsuit would be pierced by a ssoldier’sspear. Water and blood would flow from his side, the symbol of a broken heart. My sins broke God’s heart, may his death on the cross, soften mine!

[1] Utley, Bob. 2006. Eighth Century Minor Prophets: Amos, Hosea, Jonah, and Micah. Study Guide Commentary Series. Marshall, TX: Bible Lessons International.