DIVINE LOVE
CHRISTIAN RELIGIOUS STUDIES

DIVINE LOVE

The Love of God -Hosea 1, 2, 3 and 4

A lot of similarities exist between Amos and Hosea in terms of what they preached or prophesied against. Hosea prophesied in the Northern Kingdom and his message was against immorality, political and religious corruption. Ultimately, he urged the people to repent and turn back to God.

God instructed Hosea to go and marry an harlot by name Gomer. This was to show the unfaithfulness of Israel to God. Hosea’s experience in the marriage was horrible. Gomer gave birth to a son, whom God instructed Hosea to name ‘Jezreel’ which meant that “God will punish the house of Jehu for the blood of Jezreel and will put an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel” (Hosea 1 :4)

Gomer conceived again and gave birth to a daughter named “Not Pitied” which meant that God will no more have pity on Israel.

The third child Gomer gave birth to was a son named “Not My People”, for God had rejected Israel as His people just as they had rejected Him as their God.

It was after giving birth to those three children that Gomer, the wife-harlot left Hosea and ran after her lovers. She was unfaithful. However, Hosea, out of his love for her and out of tolerance, pleaded with her to come back but she refused. He sent her children to plead with their mother to come back, but she ignored them as well.

At last, Hosea, not knowing what else to do and having exhausted all his patience, divorced her. Eventually, however, he reclaimed her back to himself.

At this period, just like in the days of Amos, the worship of baal thrived in Israel. Several times, God pleaded with Israel to forsake baal and worship him:

“And in that day, says the Lord, you will call me, ‘My husband’ and no longer will you call me ‘My baal’. For I will remove the names of the baals from her mouth and they shall be mentioned by name no more. And I will make for you a covenant on that day … And I will betroth you to me for ever; I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love, and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness and you shall know the Lord.” (Hosea 2:16-20)

This passage signified God’s call for Israel to come back to him, but they still refused. God has the hope, however that one day, Israel will repent and come back to him.

Israel is a special nation in the hand of God. He loved and made a covenant with them. He gave them protection and provision just as a husband would give to his wife. The breaking of the covenant between God and Israel is referred to as spiritual idolatry. Hence Gomer’s adultery is a symbol of Israel’s adultery. They were making sacrifices to Baal. The priests could not lead the people to the knowledge of God hence, people perished for lack of knowledge.

The messages of Hosea portrayed God as Israel’s husband and Israel as the unfaithful wife. Just as Gomer refused to come back to her husband and her husband decided to divorce her, Israel will as well face total ruin if they failed to repent. As a husband, God expects Israel to show that faithfulness which a wife owes to her husband, failure of which, she will be divorced finally (she will be ruined).

In the case of Israel, God was gathering together a great army that will render the nation desolate after slaying her inhabitants. This is the price Israel will pay for unfaithfulness, just as Gomer received an outright divorce. Hosea equally pointed out that the priests and prophets who have refused to rebuke Israel in the face of her unfaithfulness, will equally be punished. He also made a personal appeal to Judah not to go in the way of Israel.

One striking similarity in the messages of both Amos and Hosea is God’s willingness and readiness to accept his people back, if they repent genuinely. Hosea looks forward to the day when Israel will repent and return to God and God will in His infinite mercy, forgive them. There is always hope when there is a genuine repentance.

 

Lessons to Learn From Hosea’s Marital Experience About the Divine Love of God And the Significance of Hosea’s Marital Experience

  1. Hosea’s message emphasizes the love of God for Israel even though she forsook the Lord. Just as Hosea tried to win his wife back, God also tried to bring Israel back with righteousness and justice.
  2. God’s punishment for Israel was meant to be corrective or to serve as a disciplinary measure. He was still willing to bring her back, just like Hosea tried to bring Gomer back even though she had been unfaithful.
  3. God’s covenant with Israel is unchangeable. No matter how much they sin, once they repent, God will surely forgive them. He is a covenant – keeping God.
  4. Hosea’s marital experience symbolizes God’s love for Israel, God is like a husband, and he expects his wife (Israel) to be faithful to him. In like manner, we are like wife to God. He will always be jealous of us just as Hosea was jealous of his wife when she ran after her lovers.
  5. The God we serve is a merciful God. In spite of our sins today, He is still willing to take us back if we repent.

 

Man’s Response to God’s Love -Hosea 6:1-11;14

Israel’s immediate response to God was not genuine. “They worshipped God with their lips but their hearts were far from Him.” They did not care to know where and how they offended God, so as to repent and forsake that very sin. Instead, they repented because they had been made to suffer. They failed to deal with the root cause of their suffering. As they put it:

“Come, let us return to the Lord; for He has torn, that He may heal us; He has stricken, and he will bind us up. After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will raise us up that we may live before Him.” (Hosea 6: 1-2)

God immediately read their minds and found out that the people did not repent genuinely. God responded to their fake repentance by reiterating his love for Israel. In fact, God sounded so romantic, but then, reminds Israel that all he needs is genuine repentance.

“What shall I do with you O Ephraim? What shall I do with you O Judah? Your love is like a morning cloud, like the dew that goes early away. Therefore, I have hewn them by the prophets, I have slain them by the words of my mouth, and my judgement goes forth as light. For I desire steadfast love, not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings” (Hosea 6:4-6).

In other words, all God desired was not just a mere plea for mercy but a permanent relationship. Mere rituals and sacrifices will not be enough, but must be matched with genuine repentance.

 

What Should Be A Christian’s True Response To God’s Love Today? – (Hosea 14)

Christians played the role of harlot moving from one church to another.

  1. We must seek to find out the very genesis or origin of our sins and how we incurred God’s wrath, before we begin to repent or ask for pardon.
  2. Once we find out the root of our sin, we can then confess it unto God.
  3. When, we confess our sins, we must try to forsake them too and put our faith in God and not trust idols.
  4. If we follow these steps, Hosea assures that God will now heal materially our faithlessness, as well as love protect us freely, us – (Hosea turn his anger 14:4-8).

 

Summary

  1. Hosea’s marital crisis was symbolic of the relationship which existed between God and Israel.
  2. Hosea’s wife Gomer was unfaithful to him. So was Israel unfaithful to God.
  3. Hosea divorced his wife when she refused to return. So did God threaten to punish Israel if she did not repent.
  4. However, Israel repented, but the repentance was not genuine, it was not from the heart.
  5. Mere rituals and sacrifices are not enough channels of repentance.
  6. According to Hosea, we must repent and forsake our sins. Then God is willing and just to forgive.
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