Intensity of emotion. Hosea is chock full of it. Hosea is called to marry a harlot as an example of God’s love to adulterous Israel. Hosea’s children are given names that we naturally recoil against.
Jezreel to symbolize punishment for the house of Israel.
Lo-ruhama which means No Mercy. The Lord will have no mercy on the house of Israel.
Lo-ammi which means Not My People. They are not the Lord’s people and he is not their God.
These are intense descriptions and things only get more intense. Gomer, Hosea’s wife, commits adultery and Hosea is called to buy her back.
Over and over God calls his people prostitutes. They are defiled and the spirit of whoredom is within them.
This isn’t exactly “Sunday school” language. It’s bracing and, maybe to some, offensive.
But as I listened to the whole book today and took in the relentless list of indictments on Israel, the Lord revealed something to me.
The depth and intensity of your commitment to someone is shown when they betray you. If you don’t really care about someone you won’t really mind when they turn their back on you.
God uses the language of marriage and adultery to describe his relationship with his people because that’s how committed he is to them, that’s how intensely he loves them.
For all the language of prostitution and whoredom in the book of Hosea, there’s also beautifully intense love language.
“And I will betroth you to me forever.” Hosea 2:19
“Come, let us return to the Lord; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up.” Hosea 6:1
“I led them with cords of kindness, with the bands of love…
How can I give you up, O Ephraim?” Hosea 11:4,8
Oh how the Lord loves his people. He greatly desires them as a husband desires his wife. No other god loves like this. Only this God deserves our love and devotion in return.