When the LORD began to speak through Hosea, the LORD said to him, “Go, marry a promiscuous woman and have children with her, for like an adulterous wife this land is guilty of unfaithfulness to the LORD.” 3 So he married Gomer daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son. (Hosea 1:2-3 NIV)
God commanded Hosea to do something difficult and contrary to anything Hosea might have expected. God had a message to deliver to the people of Israel and He wanted it to be tangible and not abstract. God is a God of props. Throughout scripture He uses real people and real events to communicate spiritual truth. This doesn’t mean that we should try to spiritualize every event, but when God’s purpose is clear, as in this case, we should pay attention.
I think there are two applications for those of us who follow Jesus. The first is that when we chose to follow Jesus we decided to be His bride. I don’t think we make a strong enough connection between baptism and a marriage ceremony. Maybe that’s because we’re losing our understanding of what marriage is. When we are baptized we enter a covenant with God. Our covenant is individual and our choice. The Israelites entered a covenant with God at Mount Sinai and that continued through their descendants. Israel had chosen to worship other gods and God compared this to adultery and prostitution of His bride. Israel was unfaithful. How would your life be different if you continually asked yourself, “How can I be faithful to my husband, Jesus, in this situation?”.
The second application has to do with our role as prophets in the world. While I do not believe that God has a covenant relationship with our nation, I do believe that He has a covenant relationship with the church in every nation. It is clear from recent events that the American church has been unfaithful. I hope that God would not call any of us to marry a prostitute to prophesy and make God’s message very real and clear. I do think that we can pray and thank God for the modern-day prophets who are speaking about our current situation. We can request that God would give them strength and clarity that their message might be heard and that the church would repent. If we are called by God to speak we must follow Hosea’s example and act on God’s calling regardless of how difficult it might be.
For my grandchildren:
Make God be your only God and may you have the courage to speak the truth when you see Christians who are serving other gods.