Sometime after 750 B.C.
I mentioned yesterday that most of these twelve prophets have a specific issue with which to contend. I hope you noticed that Hosea’s concern isn’t prostitution but in fact, is idolatry: “…And I will punish her for the feast days of the Baals when she burned offerings to them and adorned herself with her ring and jewelry, and went after her lovers and forgot me, declares the LORD.” Today the LORD mockingly laments that “My people inquire of a piece of wood, and their walking staff gives them oracles. For a spirit of whoredom has led them astray, and they have left their God to play the whore.”
Along with the sweeping indictment notice the little details: “Ephraim” as the name for the northern kingdom; the first mention of Adam – except for genealogies – since Genesis; and the distinction between Israel’s fortunes and those of Judah. Remember in 2 Kings when Israel turned to Assyria for help, but Judah stood alone. Notice the shape that hope takes: a healed, faithful, united kingdom, under a monarch of the line of David. And listen as the LORD takes the story back to the beginning: “Now the LORD will remember their iniquity and punish their sins; they shall return to Egypt.”
This metaphor of adultery has frequently been employed to express the LORD’s determination that Israel be singularly and exclusively faithful to Him: “No other gods before Me…” Let’s not forget, though, what has been asked of Hosea himself. At the beginning, he was asked to marry Gomer, a woman who was known to be a prostitute. Then in chapter 3, it appears that Gomer had left him for another and he was commissioned by the LORD to retrieve her. Not only would Hosea preach the LORD’s grief over Israel’s adultery, but he would feel the grief of a jealous husband, and bear the cost of redeeming a wife who was unfaithful.
Our verses for this week are Psalm 37:4-5: Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in Him, and He will act.
Hosea 4 through 8. Now let’s read it!
Delight yourself in the LORD,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him, and he will act.