Hello friends, and happy Thursday!
I’m excited for today’s post because it’s about one of my favorite Bible characters ever – the prophet Hosea! I thought it would be fun to make an entire blog post of the five reasons I love and admire Hosea. I’ve decided to start a “Five Reasons to Love…” series on the blog that’s all about my favorite Bible characters. I already did one for St. Paul, which you can find here. This one is about Hosea, and I’m planning to keep doing these fun posts for other Biblical figures. So if you have a request for someone you’d like to see a post about, just let me know in the comments!
So how about we begin?
Who was Hosea?
Hosea was an Old Testament prophet who warned the people of Israel to stop worshipping idols and indulging in immorality. Sadly, although Hosea was sent by God, Israel would not listen to him and ended up falling into the hands of Assyria as a result.
But although the people rejected him, Hosea was not bitter about his mission. He loved his God and vowed to do anything to be a witness. So God told him to do something unbelievable.
God told him to marry a prostitute: “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'” (Hosea 1:2).
Strong language, right? And imagine what Hosea must have felt when he heard such a command. But he obeyed.
God’s purpose in doing this was to create an allegory out of Hosea’s life: the prophet was kind to his wife, but she was unfaithful to him. That was meant to represent how God is kind to his people, but they are like an unfaithful wife to him.
So Hosea lived out the tragic story of God and his stubborn people. Some might think God was unfair for putting him through that, but Hosea didn’t see it that way.
So here are five reasons to love the prophet Hosea!
1. He was a merciful father to children who weren’t his.
Hosea obeyed God and married a prostitute – Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim (Hosea 1:3). Then he had three children:
– Jezreel, the oldest son, whose name means “punishment” (Hosea 1:4). (God told Hosea to give all his children foreboding names that each meant something symbolic for Israel’s rejection of God.)
– Loruhama, the daughter, whose name means “no mercy” (Hosea 1:6).
– Loammi, the second son and youngest child, whose name means “not my people” (Hosea 1:9).
In my Bible class recently, we were having a discussion about Hosea, and my teacher said something that immediately caught my attention. I had never realized it before. She said Hosea’s children weren’t actually his – they were the sons and daughter of other men his wife had affairs with. And when we look deeper into the book of Hosea – specifically Hosea 2:4-5 – we see it’s true.
So he raised children who weren’t even his own, which I think is tragic. But because of the character Hosea had, he loved those children although they were the results of Gomer’s unfaithfulness.
In Hosea 2:22-23, we read the prophet’s tender words about his children. This comes after he laments his wife’s unfaithfulness and the circumstances of his children’s conceptions:
“And the earth shall answer the grain, the wine, and the oil, and they shall answer Jezreel, and I will sow her for myself in the land. And I will have mercy on No Mercy, and I will say to Not My People, ‘You are my people’; and he shall say, ‘You are my God'” (Hosea 2:22-23).
So actually, Jezreel’s name became symbolic of God planting his people in his heart, as flowers and other wonderful stuff is planted in the earth. Loruhama’s name was changed to Ruhama, which means “she has received mercy.” And Loammi’s name was changed to Ammi, which means “you are my people.” Beautiful.
Side note: I would absolutely love to write a story about Hosea someday! I actually have an idea for a novel from Loruhama’s perspective, which I think would be really interesting. I wonder what she thought of her parents’ marriage, with her mother always running off and her father weeping and prophesying. I REALLY hope that idea someday gets a full novel!
2. He forgave Gomer and brought her to God.
I think we can all agree that Gomer was a terrible wife to Hosea. He was so kind to her, but she was always running off on him. It’s amazing that he still loved her, and their tragic marriage ended up as a joyful love story!
When Gomer ran off for the last time, she found another man and lived with him, rejecting her own husband. Now, I think that would have been reason enough (if there wasn’t reason enough already) for Hosea to finally give up on her. Actually, Hosea could have legally had both Gomer and the man she was living with stoned by Jewish law (Deuteronomy 22:22). He could have rightfully sentenced to death the man that took his wife. How satisfying would that be? And he could put an end to Gomer’s sin once and for all. Even if he didn’t want to stone her, he could always have divorced her (Matthew 19:9).
But guess what God asked him to do instead?
“And the Lord said to me, ‘Go again, love a woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress, even as the Lord loves the children of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love cakes of raisins'” (Hosea 3:1).
Wow. Could you love Gomer again after all that?
Hosea did. And I believe this next verse is one of the most beautiful in the Bible.
“So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a lethech of barley” (Hosea 3:2).
WOW! Instead of giving the other man his legal punishment, Hosea instead paid him. And he bought Gomer back. Besides that, keep in mind that Hosea was very poor (as were most prophets), so all that stuff he paid set him back a pretty penny. (Or shekel XD). He really couldn’t afford it, but he loved Gomer more than his own life.
And then that’s when we get our happy ending. Hosea takes Gomer home and, in words full of unbelievable grace and tenderness, tells her she will belong to him forever (Hosea 3:3). Oh, my heart!
3. He followed God although it meant terrible pain and persecution for himself.
It’s incredible to me how Hosea married Gomer and raised her children although it was undoubtedly so painful for him personally. And not only that, but he would have received so much persecution. The people made fun of his message, and they ridiculed him for having a prostitute for a wife and children who were not his.
There’s no doubt that the people Hosea spoke to knew all about his disgraceful family. I can just imagine them saying, “How can you speak to us about righteousness when your own wife and children are sins by definition?” Besides, his messages about God’s anger and redemption were not at all popular.
But Hosea didn’t give up on the people, just as he didn’t give up on his family. Tragically, Israel did not recognize the love he spoke about. And sometimes that does happen, but the crucial thing is we stand up for God even if others don’t like us for it. Hosea was that kind of brave, loyal person, and it’s another reason to love him!
4. Hosea taught that we should not blame others, because everyone who rejects God is equally at fault.
Another profound Bible verse from Hosea is this one:
“I will not punish your daughters when they play the whore, nor your brides when they commit adultery; for the men themselves go aside with prostitutes and sacrifice with cult prostitutes, and a people without understanding shall come to ruin” (Hosea 4:14).
Here God is saying that he won’t punish just some people who reject him. He’s saying he will discipline everyone who is at fault. He’s also saying that people are trying to accuse one another and put the blame on only one side, but they’re wrong for doing that. Everyone carries their own blame.
This reminds me of Jesus’ words to the hypocrites in Matthew 7:4-5. “Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,‘ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.'”
I think these teachings of Hosea’s were so important, and we should take care to remember them in our own daily lives. Hosea had great wisdom given him by God.
5. Though his language was very strong, Hosea always spoke with nothing but Godlike love.
One thing that’s definitely noticeable when you read through the book of Hosea is the strong language it uses. Hosea deals with some very gritty topics – marital unfaithfulness, illegitimacy, prostitution, sacrifice, and idolatry. And we should be very grateful that he does. If those things weren’t addressed in God’s Word, where would our guidance come from?
The most amazing thing, though, is not that these important issues are addressed, or even Hosea’s bravery in speaking out so openly about them. The most amazing thing is the love with which he does it! Yes, he does use some very strong language while writing his prophecies and warnings and presenting them to the people. But he always spoke them with nothing but Godlike love.
In the writings of Hosea, we can really feel his agony. His agony over his wife who continues to be unfaithful despite the huge amount of love with which he pursues her. His agony over the children he loves, who suffer from so much: the poverty, pain, and persecution their father faces; an uncaring, neglectful, selfish mother; and the scorn of the people. And most of all, his agony over Israel’s rejection of God.
Hosea was a man who lived God’s very life. He was a man who felt God’s very pain. He felt the same agony God did. God was agonized over his people, who continued to be unfaithful despite all the love he poured out on them. God was agonized over the children he loved so deeply. He didn’t want his children to suffer. He didn’t want to punish them. He didn’t want to bring calamity upon them. But they scorned and rejected him, so he had no choice.
It’s just so incredible how such heavy burdens were placed on Hosea’s shoulders. And Hosea was not God. He was a mere man. But despite the terrible pain, he loved God and God’s people too much to refuse to help them.
Hosea is a person I want to be like. Hosea is a person I admire greatly. Hosea is a person I love.
Hope you all enjoyed today’s post!
I had a lot of fun writing today’s post! I hope everyone had just as much fun reading it.
Again, if you have any requests for a Bible character you’d like me to do in my next post for this “Five Reasons to Love…” series, just let me know in the comments!
Feel free to chat! What did you think of today’s post? Is there anything you love about Hosea that I didn’t mention? How’s everyone and their writing doing?
You know the drill – eat, pray, write, repeat!