Hosea, the prophet

I will return again to my place, until they acknowledge their guilt and seek my face, and in their distress earnestly seek me. --Hosea 5:15

[This is a little piece of art I googled, just because people like to see images.]

As one of the lesser-read books of the Bible, Hosea shocks within the first two verses.

2 When the LORD began to speak through Hosea, the LORD said to him, “Go, take to yourself an adulterous wife and children of unfaithfulness, because the land is guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the LORD.”

It then alludes to God’s provision of salvation by verse 7.

7 Yet I will show love to the house of Judah; and I will save them—not by bow, sword or battle, or by horses and horsemen, but by the LORD their God.”

The first chapter concludes on the bizarreness of God’s mercy and forgiveness.

9 Then the LORD said, “Call him Lo-Ammi, [c] for you are not my people, and I am not your God.

10 “Yet the Israelites will be like the sand on the seashore, which cannot be measured or counted. In the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’

The Book of Hosea uses the ‘adulterous woman’ in chapter 2 as another version of the ‘prodigal son’.

7 She will chase after her lovers but not catch them;
she will look for them but not find them.
Then she will say,
‘I will go back to my husband as at first,
for then I was better off than now.’

Note the similarity to the following extracts from Luke 15:11-32.

11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.13″Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.

17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’

Hosea recounts why God loves us and wants us to be with him and how this is possible: it is because of and through God’s righteousness, justice, love, compassion, and faithfulness. Because of what God does, we acknowledge him.

19 I will betroth you to me forever;
I will betroth you [with] righteousness and justice,
[with] love and compassion.

20 I will betroth you in faithfulness,
and you will acknowledge the LORD.

There are many more interesting things to note in Hosea, but I will only note three more. A reference in Chapter 6 – although it takes some allegorical reading (thanks, Augustine) – cannot refrain from shouting out JESUS, who rose on the third day…

2 After two days he will revive us;
on the third day he will restore us,
that we may live in his presence.

Chapter 10 also echoes the Eden narrative.

13 But you have planted wickedness,
you have reaped evil,
you have eaten the fruit of deception.
Because you have depended on your own strength…

Finally, I’ll end this post with an accurate illustration in chapter 13 of careless human nature and how quickly we forget our benefactor in our limited ‘personal’ focus.

4 “But I am the LORD your God,
who brought you out of Egypt.
You shall acknowledge no God but me,
no Savior except me.

5 I cared for you in the desert,
in the land of burning heat.

6 When I fed them, they were satisfied;
when they were satisfied, they became proud;
then they forgot me.

Hopefully this inspires your interest in reading Hosea in its entirety (plus other parts of scripture).

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