Friday, September 1, 2017
Men of the Bible - Hosea
His name means: "Yahweh Has Delivered"
His work: Hosea was a prophet in Israel. Like other prophets, his charge was to call the people to repentance. However, he was also called to show them by his own life what it felt like to be a forgotten and yet merciful God.
His character: In obedience Hosea was willing to abandon his own dreams and marry a harlot. His love foreshadowed Christ's love for the church.
His sorrow: His unrepentant and unfaithful wife left him with their three children and a deep, aching hurt.
His triumph: Because of his selflessness and his willingness to forgive, his wife Gomer was restored.
Key Scriptures: Hosea 1-3
A Look at the Man
Telling stories is often the most powerful way to communicate truth, and speaking in parables was Jesus' method of choice. But sometimes in the Bible, God asked people not only to tell stories but to live them, to be the parable. This was the lot of Hosea.
The thought of falling in love with a prostitute is repugnant to any man. The thought of marrying her is even more revolting. But this is precisely what God ordered Hosea to do.
How can I love a woman who has "loved" so many? he must have wondered. How can I make a covenant with someone whose conduct deserves condemnation, not forgiveness?
But regardless of his questions, Hosea did exactly as the Lord told him. Hosea married a common harlot, a woman who knew nothing of virtue or faithfulness. As a learned man, Hosea knew that he could not reply to the Almighty's directive, "You don't know what you're asking me to do." He knew full well that God knew exactly what he was doing. As a prophet, Hosea had been called to preach repentance to God's people. He had tried to fill his message with the passion of the sovereign God, whose provision, love, and mercy had been scoffed at or ignored. These Jews were even worshiping other gods. The chosen people were playing the harlot.
Now, with this assignment, Hosea would come to understand what this felt like. His love would be poured out to a woman who by the laws of the time deserved nothing less than a public execution for her blatant transgressions. But God took Hosea and made him the fool—the lover of the undeserving, the keeper of the vows, and the redeemer of the repeat offender. And though the people could not see God, they saw in the life of this man a compelling example of divine love—bold and just, yet relentlessly merciful.
Reflect On: Hosea 3:1–3
Praise God: For his love for you.
Offer Thanks: For God’s relentless pursuit of his unfaithful and wayward children.
Confess: Your own sinfulness and your spirit of judgment rather than compassion for others.
Ask God: To fill you with Hosea’s kind of willingness to serve and his mercy and love.
Today's reading is a brief excerpt from Men of the Bible: A One-Year Devotional Study of Men in Scripture by Ann Spangler and Robert Wolgemuth (Zondervan). © 2010 by Ann Spangler. Used with permission. All rights reserved. Enjoy the complete book by purchasing your own copy at the Bible Gateway Store. The book's title must be included when sharing the above content on social media. Coming this fall: watch for Wicked Women of the Bible by Ann Spangler.