Hosea is a man that God calls to be a prophet not only through a spoken message to be given to Israel, but also in how he is to live. God has referred to Israel’s disobedience as unfaithfulness a few times before the book of Hosea. Israel is in a unique covenant with God. Very similar to a marriage covenant. Israel is supposed to be God’s people and His people alone, and God promises to be Israel’s God. Israel continually breaks this covenant by worshiping other gods. But God continues to be faithful.
The book of Hosea takes place before Israel is destroyed by the Assyrians and before Judah is conquered by Babylon. So we have stepped a bit back in time on this journey through the Bible.
When the book opens up God asks Hosea to find a prostitute and marry her. The woman he married was named Gomer. Gomer then had children after being married to Hosea, and Hosea was not the Father. Gomer continued to be a prostitute even after marrying Hosea. This relationship became a walking, living message to Israel. Gomer represented Israel and Hosea, God. Hosea remained faithful to her even as Gomer was unfaithful.
Hosea is then asked to make charges against Gomer showing her how she has been unfaithful. Even declaring that because of her behavior the relationship no longer exists. Gomer is no longer Hosea’s wife, and Hosea no longer her husband. This also is to represent God’s reaction to Israel for her centuries of worshiping other gods.
The good news is that Hosea takes Gomer back as his wife, and she is redeemed. This is to show that Israel too will be redeemed after God allows Israel to leave Him.
The relationship is the same message that other prophets have told Israel. Hosea’s message is not unique in what God is telling Israel, but it shows how God is creatively trying to bring Israel back to himself and prevent the disasters that God will need to use to bring Israel back to himself.
The bad news: Israel didn’t get it as we know form reading the previous books.
The good news: Even though Israel and Judah have been destroyed there is hope, God has consistently said that in time that He will bring Israel back.
It is interesting that we as humans can be so stubborn that the only time we truly seek God is during times of trouble and disaster. I have often heard that a loving God would not allow bad things to happen, but the sad reality is that because of our stubborn hearts God does need to use bad things to bring us to Him. Trouble, adversity, trials, disasters, they can all help open our eyes to our need for God. So God uses bad things to bring us to Him, because he truly does love us and desires for us to be with Him.