Throughout the Old Testament one of the primary analogies/images of God’s relationship with His people is that of marriage. In fact, the Jewish interpretation of the Sinai covenant is that of a betrothal ceremony- an interpretation that is found throughout the Old Testament (Jer. 2:2, 3:8-14, 31:32, Ez. 16:8). Israel’s idolatry- their worship of other gods is most often referred to as “adultery”. God says He will rejoice over His people as a groom rejoices over His bride. The Song of Songs is an entire book committed to the intimate marriage of God and His people.
In the Book of Hosea, God uses the prophet’s real life experiences and circumstances (namely his marriage) to “preach” His message to the people of Israel. The terrible truth about Israel’s religious promiscuity and coming destruction is being played out in Hosea’s life for all to see.
Lessons from the life of Hosea
1. Our relationship with God is like a marriage. This is a powerful and guiding thought for us all- singles, young people, and married adults- you will never find one like Jesus.
2. God uses our struggles to display His power through us. If we truly live to bring glory to God, it changes everything. Regardless of what life brings our way, God can be glorified if we remain faithful to Him.
3. God uses our challenges in relationships to reveal His love to others. Jesus calls us to love our enemies- (anyone can love their friends). If you’re in a difficult relationship, even now, God wants you to show others a real life parable of His stubborn, redeeming love.
4. God calls us to love the unlovely- even those who have hurt us. God hates sin; it grieves His heart; He cannot condone it; His perfect righteousness and justice demand that He deal with it. But He still loves the sinner and diligently seeks us out and offers us His loving forgiveness. We need to love like that. We need to forgive like that. We need to drag the festering hurts we have been harboring in our hearts to the cross of Christ- where we laid our own burden of guilt one day and where we found God’s loving forgiveness- and we must leave them all there. When we fully forgive, our minds are released from the bondage of resentment that has been building a wall between us, and we are free to grow in our relationships with each other.
5. Our disobedience to God brings judgment and severe consequences. Clearly, the majority of the book of Hosea is about the coming judgment of God upon Israel. Like He does with us, He gives them evidence of their unfaithfulness, He warns them of coming destruction, offers an opportunity for repentance, then He holds true to His word.
6. God calls us into a covenant relationship with Him. It all starts as we realize how much God has done for us in Christ. Renew your covenant marriage to God. If you have never entered into that eternal covenant (made possible only through the Cross of Christ), say, “I DO” right now.