A Tale of Holy Love, Unfaithfulness, Justice, Mercy, and Grace
“When the LORD first spoke through Hosea, the LORD said to Hosea,
‘Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom,
for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the LORD.’”
This was Hosea’s first assignment as a prophet, the first thing the LORD told him to do. What an assignment!
It wasn’t “easy” like Jonah’s command to warn Nineveh of God’s impending judgment. It wasn’t awe inspiring like Isaiah’s foray into the throne room and presence of God. And it wasn’t power-filled like Jeremiah’s calling to oversee the building up, breaking down, planting, and destroying of nations. No, Hosea’s calling was much more life impacting.
At this point in his life, Hosea was most likely a single young man with life stretching ahead of him. He probably had dreams of marrying a sweet girl from his hometown and raising the perfect family. He may have already been feeling God’s call to ministry and envisioned passionately declaring God’s Word to the lost and wayward people of his day.
However, all this was not to be.
His wife was not to be the perfect, godly young woman who would support and help him in his ministry to Israel. Nor would his sermons and messages be taken seriously as his reputation would be ruined. His children might have grown up with a complex wondering why their mother was out of the picture for so long and why they were burdened with names such as “not my people” and “not loved”.
This was the life the LORD was calling Hosea to, a living action sermon that mirrored the spiritual state of Israel. He wasn’t asking Hosea to become a famous preacher, great activist, or influential missionary. God’s first request was for Hosea to take a woman with a tainted past, make her his wife, and raise a family.
Did Hosea know what he was getting into? Did he know the journey upon which God would lead him? Would he have dreamed that his wife would leave him for other men? Is this what he imagined for his future?
Probably not. But whether he had prior knowledge of his wife’s future unfaithfulness or not, he did know this: his reputation would forever be ruined. One didn’t marry a prostitute in biblical times and then expect everyone to be okay with it. No, it was a disgraceful thing. An act most, if not all, in Israel would look down upon and scorn.
Nevertheless, Hosea obeyed God.
No matter what the future would hold, Hosea answered God’s command with complete, immediate obedience. He didn’t grumble, complain, spend time considering the matter, or question God’s instructions. He heard God’s command, he went out among the prostitutes, and he chose himself a wife. No questions asked.
So what about us? Are we willing to obey God even when it costs us something? Will we lay down our reputations and dreams to follow God’s calling? If God were to ask us to do something outrageous and culture defying, how would we respond?
Hosea was asked to do something unexpected, shocking, and scandalous. Something that most of his peers and contemporaries would have looked down upon and ridiculed him for. But Hosea didn’t bow under the pressure of what others might think or what would become of his reputation, instead he unwaveringly obeyed God with immediate, unquestioning action.
And this is what God desires in each of us.
Therefore, let us learn from the prophet Hosea and his immediate obedience to God. So that when God calls us to do something potentially radical, culture defying, and crazy we won’t take a moment to weigh the options or figure out a better way, but will jump into immediate obedience and action.
“Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.”
~1 Samuel 15:22b