Hosea’s Marriage and Children!
When the Lord first began speaking to Israel through Hosea, he said to him, “Go and marry a prostitute, so that some of her children will be conceived in prostitution. This will illustrate how Israel has acted like a prostitute by turning against the Lord and worshiping other gods.”
Hosea 1:2 (NLT)
Hosea addressed the sins of the northern kingdom of Israel for nearly 40 years. To carry out his mission, he was commanded by God to do what is unthinkable and contradictory to both Old and New Testament values. He was to marry Gomer who, some believe, had already been sexually promiscuity.
Marriage is the deepest union possible between two people. It is the most intensely personal relationship that there is. It involves feelings, emotions and, perhaps, resentments and jealousies. Everything about marriage is intensely intimate. It is even participation in each other’s bodies. It is the joining together of interests and concerns. It is the producing together of children. It is loyalty. If a wife or husband says one word against the other in public, the other feels betrayed. It is extreme sensitivity.
Gomer later forsook Hosea and became unfaithful. However, despite her persistent promiscuity, Hosea was to redeem her from a life of sexual slavery to once again become his wife.Hosea obeyed God’s command, even though he did not fully understand God’s message to Israel through this difficult period in his life.
This true-life story of grace and redemption illustrated what God did for the children of Israel. He took them as His spouse when, in spite of their idolatry and immorality, He delivered them from slavery in Egypt. However, disregarding God’s gracious love, they once again became unfaithful by forsaking the Lord, worshipping idols, and engaging in decadent immorality. Yet in spite of their horrible sins, God in His love was attempting to woo them back to a faithful relationship with Him.
Unfortunately, Israel (often called Ephraim) continued to reject God’s unconditional love and suffered the consequences, being taken into slavery under the Assyrians. However, despite their terrible spiritually “adulterous” behaviour, God was still going to redeem them as some future date and restore them once and for all as His own people, just as Hosea redeemed Gomer.
What then is spiritual adultery?
It is broken conversation. It is when God is no longer speaking to or listening to his people, and when his people are no longer listening or speaking to him. It is prayerlessness. It is broken loyalty. It is fractured and dissevered channels of fellowship. There is no pain like the pain of disloyalty within marriage, and in Hosea’s day this was the way God felt about Israel.
‘The land has committed great harlotry by departing from the Lord.’ The essential sin of Israel was
- Spiritual unfaithfulness,
- ‘Forsaking the Lord’,
- Forsaking the compassion of God and turning to violence.
- They turned to other ‘lovers’, the Canaanite gods, who were treated with affection.
- God’s demands were left aside and the people turned to robbery and banditry.
The leadership was affected; prophets, priests and long were all content with wickedness.There was drunkenness, immorality, and idolatry. Then the people turned to Assyria for help and there was plotting and assassinations. Israel mixed herself with the ways of the nations, including Egypt from which the nation had once been rescued.
Beneath the chaos was ingrained prayerlessness at a national level and slander of God. Hosea sums it all up in one idea: Spiritual Adultery.
Many things tend to corrupt the church. The people may start ‘using’ God to get their own ways. The first generation lives for God and his will. The second generation decides that respectability is a good thing for business, and starts to ‘use’ God to get on in life, while not being too distinctive in lifestyle. Within no time at all the church becomes powerless. Then a little further still down the road the church becomes idolatrous. It starts worshipping a ‘god’ that is a reconstructed version of the God of the Bible, but is no longer God at all. Or the church may be corrupted by the influence of devious national rulers. The world either flatters the church or persecutes or ignores it, but the world never helps the church.
So the church of Jesus Christ has to face many varied temptations and pressures. Success is as dangerous as persecution. In Hosea’s day, politics were corrupt, society was unjust, and religion was idolatrous.
So what does the church need in these varied situations?
It needs prophets or their equivalent, men and women with a message from God boldly proclaimed.