Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Book of Hosea: Part One

Lately I've been reading the book of Hosea. I never knew that the Prophets could be so interesting! I've been trying to make a layout of the Kings of Israel and Judah versus the Prophets, it can be so incredibly confusing. For instance, Hosea lived and prophesied in the the times of the Kings Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, of Judah, as well as King Jeroboam of Israel. Now, you tell me how this works, Jeroboam reigned in Israel directly after the death of King Solomon, and in my studies I have discovered that there were a lot of kings (of Judah) between Jeroboam and Uzziah. So how long did Hosea live? I suppose he could have lived a very long time, considering he lived in the Old Testament.

Hosea was told by God to marry the whore Gomer (yes, like Gomer Pile in Andy Griffith, though I think that the spelling is a bit different). When i was younger I sometimes wondered why God would tell a prophet (of all people) to marry a whore, but as I've gotten older I've gron to realize that God wasn't punishing Hosea, He was having him marry Gomer to illustrate what His relationship with Israel was like. In Hosea chapter 2 God tells about his relationship to Israel in the language of a husband trying to woo back his wife from her many lovers.. It's rather harsh through the beginning of the chapter, but at the end it becomes absolutely beautiful.

Hosea had three children out of Gomer, Jezreel, No Mercy (for God would have no more mercy upon the house of Israel), and Not My People, "for you are not my people, and I am not your God."

At the end of chapter 2, after God has spoken of calling back His wife and redeeming her, He says:

"And I will have mercy on No Mercy, and I will say to Not My People, "You are my people," and he shall say, "You are my God."

I think that that is a wonderfully beautiful picture. It really astounds me how even though the Israelites turned away from God over and over again, worshiping golden calves and false gods, He always wanted them back, He actually pleaded with them. If I were God (thank God I'm not) I would have abandoned them (and us) long ago. But he is faithful even when we are not.

Gretchen Emily Wolaver

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