(Recommended Reading – Hosea 1:1-11 in New Living Translation)
The author of the daily devotional books that I read used Hosea 1 as a basis of his devotions for 5 straight days. I have to confess that I found these 11 verses to be difficult, confusing and even a bit disturbing.
First, God instructed his prophet Hosea to go marry a prostitute. Then He said that some of her children would be conceived in prostitution. (Verse 2) I understand how God was using this as an example of how Israel had prostituted themselves by worshiping other gods; but, how humiliating this must have been for this man of God!
Next, when Hosea’s wife, Gomer, gave birth to a daughter “…the Lord said to Hosea, ‘Name your daughter…Lo-ruhamah – ‘Not loved’…” (Verse 6) Now I realize that it has become trendy, in recent years especially, to give children some pretty unusual and even questionable names; but, I cannot imagine going through life with a name that everyone knows means “not loved.”
Then when Gomer next gave birth to their second son, “…the Lord said, ‘Name him Lo-ammi – ‘Not my people’…” (Verse 9) So we have yet another child bearing a name that would seem to have a stigma attached to it.
In verses 10 and 11, hope is again declared when it is spoken about Israel being reunited and restored.
The picture in this book of the Bible is of the nation of Israel that has turned their back on God, as an adulterous wife on her husband; how in God’s eyes they are like illegitimate children. But in the end, they are forgiven and restored as they turn away from their other gods and return to their one true God.
We cannot avoid facing the fact that there are some horrible human beings in our world that do some despicable things. As mere humans, it can be easy for us to look at them and judge them, their sins and/or their way of life. We are tempted to just write them off, believing that they are hopeless – that there is no way they are loved by God and cannot possibly ever belong to Him. But wait….
In his fifth devotional based on Hosea 1, the author, Chris Tiegreen said this: “…we can never write off the depravity of our world as unredeemable. No matter how vile and disgraceful a person’s actions that person is never out of the reach of God. Though human husbands will only put up with so much infidelity, the divine Husband will forgive all who turn back to Him. In a world we tend to divide between ‘us’ and ‘them,’ we need to remember that ‘them’ always has the potential to be ‘us.’
That final sentence really pricked my conscience. We should never allow ourselves to forget that we are all sinners. We cannot fall into the trap believing we are better than anyone else, thinking that our sins cannot possibly be as bad as their sins. Always remember this – sin is sin; and, thank goodness, we can all be redeemed.
If we cannot bring ourselves to see things in that light, then we really do need a serious attitude adjustment. Our prayer, not only for ourselves, but for others should be for forgiveness and redemption.
Written by Karran Martin – May 27, 2019