For an introduction to this series, click here.
Oct. 31, 2006
Here we find a message of judgment for both Israel and Judah. They have gone so far away from God in their sin that they are unable or unwilling to respond when He calls. Chapter 5 is an announcement of coming judgment. The last verse in the chapter reveals a sorrowful God forced to abandon His unfaithful people:
I will return again to my place, until they acknowledge their guilt and seek my face, and in their distress earnestly seek me. (5:15)
Chapter 6 is an appeal for Israel to return. But God acknowledges that their spiritual leaders are turning more people away than toward the Lord:
As robbers lie in wait for a man, so the priests band together; they murder on the way to Shechem, they commit villainy. (6:9, ESV)
I had never really studied Hosea before, but now I am finally picking up on why God had Hosea do such strange things as marry a prostitute and then buy her back. Israel could not see that they were just like Gomer. These particular chapters are full of God's pleading with His people and comparing their sin to spiritual adultery against Him. Apparently, Hosea's life was one of the biggest things going on in Israel at the time. Everyone wanted to know the latest news on how Gomer had left and that Hosea remained faithful in spite of her sin. And Hosea is telling them to look beyond the gossip and the sensationalism and look at their own hearts. They have been just like Gomer, and are too proud, stubborn or blind to realize it. God is grieving over His people, even when He knows they will not return and He will be forced to punish them.
This reminds me of the NT passage which tells us to "grieve not the Spirit." I do not want to go as far as some do and assert that Christ is suffering or is reminded of His pain on the cross when we sin. That is faulty theology at best and blasphemy at worst. Yet still, at some level, God is grieved when we sin. We limit His plan for our lives by our sin. Hosea is a challenge to me to take a new look at the God who loves me more than I could possibly understand. He is so good, and yet often times I take His gifts for granted and forge ahead without Him. Lord help me to rely on you more.