Hosea 1 – Hosea and the Harlot

Hosea 1 Bible with Chocolove Dark Chocolate Coffee Crunch

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Today’s PassageHosea 1

Having finished not only All the Paul but also Possibly More of the Paul, I consulted readers via Twitter and Patreon with a poll to see what books or topics they’d be interested in seeing next on Chocolate Book. Of the available options, readers were most interested in seeing a topical study on gratitude with the minor prophets a close second. However, topical studies have proven more time-consuming to tackle, and while I’m sure I’d discover plenty of new insights once I started digging into it, I’m honestly not sure what I’d say about gratitude other than “Here are all these passages telling us to thank God for stuff.”

So, here’s the game plan: I’m going to tackle the minor prophets, and between prophets, I’ll do an entry on a passage about gratitude. Best of both worlds, we’re gonna Hannah Montana this sucker. Yep, that reference is evergreen. But enough preliminary banter: it’s Hosea time.

The book of Hosea begins with Hosea marrying a prostitute.

He marries a prostitute because God commands him to. In fact, it’s the beginning of his prophetic ministry: “When the Lord first spoke through Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea, ‘Go, take to yourself a wife of harlotry and have children of harlotry; for the land commits flagrant harlotry, forsaking the Lord'” (2). You can’t miss the word “harlotry” in the verse. God repeats it three times for emphasis.

It’s not the first time God has used promiscuity as a metaphor for spiritual unfaithfulness, and it won’t be the last. God designed us humans to give ourselves to him, and we pervert that by giving ourselves to absolutely anything else. There are often ways to enjoy these other things as a way of giving ourselves to God, but instead we choose to give ourselves to the lesser things.

But man, what an object lesson. To drive the point home to his Jewish countrymen, Hosea marries an actual prostitute.

It gets worse. Hosea’s wife has a daughter, and God commands him, “Name her Lo-ruhamah [i.e. ‘she has not obtained compassion’], for I will no longer have compassion on the house of Israel, that I would ever forgive them” (6). Then Hosea’s wife has a son, and God commands, “Name him Lo-ammi [i.e. ‘not my people’], for you are not My people and I am not your God” (9). Can you imagine being those kids, your name forever a reminder of God’s disgust with your nation? And then there’s God straight-up denying forgiveness to Israel and denying their national identity as people. I thought God was love!

Well, the good news is that he is. After giving Lo-ruhamah her name, God adds, “But I will have compassion on the house of Judah and deliver them by the Lord their God” (7). And concerning Lo-ammi’s name, he adds, “Where it is said to them, ‘You are not My people,’ it will be said to them, ‘You are the sons of the living God.'” (10). Even though his people have sold their souls on the streets, God will forgive them and take them back.

There are consequences, certainly. There’s damage to the relationship. But God doesn’t withhold his favor forever.


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