Here is the summary of the Book of Hosea…
This book is an illustration of God’s love for His adulterous people as He calls Hosea to marry a harlot and have children with her (Hosea 1:2), and then to buy her out of slavery (Hosea 3:2), in order for Israel to see the danger of their situation (Hosea 9:7) and come back to Him (Hosea 14:1-2).
Explanation of Main Idea
Israel had been unfaithful to the Lord (Hosea 1:2). God claims that they had “a spirit of prostitution in their heart” (Hosea 5:4), not even acknowledging Him. He raises up Hosea to live out a marriage to a harlot named Gomer (Hosea 1:3) in front of their eyes so that they can see the foolishness of their ways and eventual danger that they will face.
This “living picture” plays itself out in the names given to Hosea and Gomer’s children. The first is named Jezreel after the massacre at Jezreel (2 Kings 9-10) which the Lord vows to punish. Lo-Ruhamah, the second, means “not loved” (Hosea 1:6). The third, Lo-Ammi, has a name which signifies “not my people” (Hosea 1:9).
Hosea loves his wife as God loves Israel (Hosea 3:1). He buys her out of slavery after she committed adultery with another lover (Hosea 3:1-2). Israel is guilty of “cursing, lying…, murder, and adultery” (Hosea 4:2). They are stubborn (Hosea 4:16), arrogant (Hosea 5:5, 6:10), idolatrous (Hosea 5:7, 8:6), independent with no regard for the Lord (Hosea 8:4) and incapable of purity (Hosea 8:5). Because of this, judgment is assured (Hosea 5:1, 8:10).
Like Hosea’s faithfulness to his adulterous wife, God will be faithful to Israel. God promises that one day they will “return and seek the Lord their God and David their king. They will come trembling to the Lord and to his blessings in the last days” (Hosea 3:5).
The purpose of the book of Hosea is to display the almost unbelievable faithful love of God to a disobedient, obstinate, and adulterous people. Who would love, marry, and have children with a prostitute? Who would buy back someone who left you for another? God’s love pursues and is not dependant on the actions of the beloved.
- God’s Love God loves His people even though they turn to other gods (Hosea 3:1). His love is consistent and is not diminished by Israel’s idolatry and unfaithfulness. It is His pervasive love that causes Him to call Hosea and present the living illustration before the Israelites of a godly man marrying and having children with a harlot. The book of Hosea is filled with strong language of prostitution. Israel is playing the harlot, yet she is loved by the Lord.
- Adultery and Marriage Adultery does not mean that marriage should end. Hosea found himself in the most difficult of all marriage situations: repeated unfaithfulness. Nonetheless, he stuck it out and showed his wife how much he loved her. This is God’s way.
- Judgment Over and over God brings accusations against Israel for her adultery. He states that He will “pour out (His) wrath on them” (Hosea 5:10) and “tear them to pieces” (Hosea 5:14). He will “punish their sins” (Hosea 8:13) and “drive them out” (Hosea 9:15). Sin will be judged.
- Israel Israel is God’s chosen people. He has called her, He loves her, and will continue to carry out His plan for her in spite of their sin. This will culminate in a glorious future Kingdom where they will finally and forever love and seek the Lord (Hosea 3:4-5).
- Redemption Marrying a prostitute, losing her to slavery, and buying her back is a beautiful picture of redemption. This is the heart of God.
How Does This Relate To Us?
People are fallen. Even church leaders, famous pastors, fall into sexual sin and “play the harlot” with the Lord. But God loves them, has not forgotten them, and will help and heal them. He is the God who loves those who make big mistakes. We need to remember that when we form our attitude toward those who have messed up.
But God will judge. Sin will be punished. God warns those who are on a dangerous path. These warnings need to be heeded. Repentance is the way to make it right with God.
In our society, where selfishness reigns, marriages are often broken because “my needs aren’t getting met” or “we are experiencing irreconcilable differences”. Hosea teaches us that there isn’t anything that can’t be forgiven. As God’s people, we need to be forgivers.
- According to Hosea 1:2, why did God want Hosea to marry a prostitute?
- In chapter two, how many times does God say, “I will…”?
- In what manner is Hosea to love his wife according to chapter three?
- What does Hosea 6:1-3 tell you about the character of God?
- Look at Hosea 14:9. What is the difference between the righteous and the rebellious?
Life Application Questions
- Have you ever had to love a difficult person? What lessons can you apply from the story of Hosea?
- Read Hosea 3:1 and compare your love for your spouse with that of Hosea and the Lord. How can you grow in this area. If you are not married, how would you like to love in a similar fashion to the Lord?
- In Hosea 4:16, God calls Israel “stubborn”. Why is it hard to love a stubborn person? Are you stubborn when it comes to following the Lord?