Sunday: A Strange Command

“When the Lord began to speak through Hosea, the Lord said to him,

Image © Ron Bell from

Image © Ron Bell from

‘Go, take to yourself an adulterous wife and children of unfaithfulness, because the land is guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the Lord.’ So he married Gomer daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.” (Hos. 1:2-3, NIV).

For centuries, students of the Bible have debated the nature of this command, asking questions such as: Was Gomer a prostitute or just an unfaithful spouse? Was she immoral before her marriage to Hosea, or did she become unfaithful afterward?

We do not know for certain. One thing, however, is sure: when the Lord spoke to Hosea and through him, He wanted to turn people’s attention from Hosea’s story to God’s love story with Israel. Because Gomer was an Israelite, the story of her marriage to the prophet blends with the story of God’s covenant with Israel.

There are important parallels between Hosea’s story and God’s experience with Israel. On a human level, Gomer was adulterous against Hosea; on the spiritual level, Israel was unfaithful to God. Just as Gomer’s immorality hurt her husband’s heart, so Israel’s idolatry grieved the great heart of God. Hosea was called to endure a broken heart and a broken marriage. He must have suffered public indignation and disgrace. Yet, the more he experienced Gomer’s unfaithfulness, the deeper was his understanding of God’s pain and frustration with Israel.

God often asked other prophets to do something beyond preaching.

Read the following passages and explain how the prophets’ actions symbolized God’s dealings with His people. (Isa. 20:1-6Jer. 27:1-7Ezek. 4:1-6).

What kind of witness for the Lord are not just your words, but also your actions? What is it in your life that reveals not simply that you are a good person but that you are a follower of Jesus?

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