Israel’s Unfaithfulness Punished
2 Say to your brothers, “You are my people,” and to your sisters, “You have received mercy.”
“Plead with your mother, plead—
for she is not my wife,
and I am not her husband—
that she put away her whoring from her face,
and her adultery from between her breasts;
lest I strip her naked
and make her as in the day she was born,
and make her like a wilderness,
and make her like a parched land,
and kill her with thirst.
Upon her children also I will have no mercy,
because they are children of whoredom.
For their mother has played the whore;
she who conceived them has acted shamefully.
For she said, ‘I will go after my lovers,
who give me my bread and my water,
my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.’
Therefore I will hedge up her way with thorns,
and I will build a wall against her,
so that she cannot find her paths.
She shall pursue her lovers
but not overtake them,
and she shall seek them
but shall not find them.
Then she shall say,
‘I will go and return to my first husband,
for it was better for me then than now.’
And she did not know
that it was I who gave her
the grain, the wine, and the oil,
and who lavished on her silver and gold,
which they used for Baal.
Therefore I will take back
my grain in its time,
and my wine in its season,
and I will take away my wool and my flax,
which were to cover her nakedness.
Now I will uncover her lewdness
in the sight of her lovers,
and no one shall rescue her out of my hand.
And I will put an end to all her mirth,
her feasts, her new moons, her Sabbaths,
and all her appointed feasts.
And I will lay waste her vines and her fig trees,
of which she said,
‘These are my wages,
which my lovers have given me.’
I will make them a forest,
and the beasts of the field shall devour them.
And I will punish her for the feast days of the Baals
when she burned offerings to them
and adorned herself with her ring and jewelry,
and went after her lovers
and forgot me, declares the LORD.
The Lord’s Mercy on Israel
“Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
and bring her into the wilderness,
and speak tenderly to her.
And there I will give her her vineyards
and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.
And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth,
as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt.
“And in that day, declares the LORD, you will call me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer will you call me ‘My Baal.’ For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be remembered by name no more. And I will make for them a covenant on that day with the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the creeping things of the ground. And I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land, and I will make you lie down in safety. And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the LORD.
“And in that day I will answer, declares the LORD,
I will answer the heavens,
and they shall answer the earth,
and the earth shall answer the grain, the wine, and the oil,
and they shall answer Jezreel,
and I will sow her for myself in the land.
And I will have mercy on No Mercy,
and I will say to Not My People, ‘You are my people’;
and he shall say, ‘You are my God.’”
Hosea 2 Commentary
by Hank Workman
Hosea had done what was expected of him. He married Gomer, made a life together, had a family and provided for her needs. He had redeemed her from her lurid past and showed love and compassion with what life could really be like. And then Gomer did the unimaginable… she went back to prostituting. She left her husband, her children and crawled back in the rotating bed of men who paid for her services.
What caused this is hard to comprehend. She had it all. Did her pimp woo her back? Did her thoughts of this new life make her feel trapped? Was there a part of her that preferred the random encounters over the commitment that was shared? It’s hard to know. But for whatever reason, Gomer returned to the life she’d been freed from. The image of Hosea standing with children in arms and around his feet is haunting. He’d risked his reputation on this woman only for himself to be a laughing stock. He’d given everything he had to her only to have it thrown back in his face. The marketplace would have been abuzz with the tale of a foolish prophet, now a single dad that slandered his credibility.
Mirroring the very image of God and his tenacious love for Israel, for us, He did and does the same thing. He steps into the very horror of our life, the very waywardness of our choices and flagrant whoring. We who have had it all, been provided in so many ways, redeemed from our own explicit past, many times go back to what we were freed from.
One would think this would put a full stop to the love of God. But it doesn’t. In fact, His relentless love continues to reach out toward us who are so unfaithful. He will do whatever it takes, allow whatever is needed to bring us to that point of longing as the emptiness of our choices are tangibly felt.
“Therefore, behold, I will allure her, bring her into the wilderness and speak kindly to her. 15 “Then I will give her vineyards from there, and the valley of Achor as a door of hope. And she will sing there as in the days of her youth…
“I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and in justice, in lovingkindness and in compassion, And I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness. Then you will know the Lord.”Hosea 2: 14-15,19-20
The alluring of God in our darkest and most alone times is something to consider. He says He will bring her into the desert. The desert, an image of being there in this dry, barren landscape has come through our own choices. But God will use that desolate place to reach us. The Valley of Achor, which in Hebrew means trouble, will be a great sadness and un-fulfillment from the substantial choices we’ve made. But He will use these times to draw our hearts back to Him. He will not let us go.
Sometimes, actually most times, we must come to an end of ourselves before we’re ready to submit to this unremitting love. Sometimes the forces against us, the emptiness and sadness we feel all will be used to draw our focus back to Him. His love doesn’t stop. His plan isn’t thwarted. His desire deeply resonates and longs for us to be back with Him.
Hosea 2 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
Grace and truth. They are the inescapable character traits of God.
God is a fair and just God. He doesn’t compromise like we do. I think that sometimes we take for granted the holiness of God when focusing on His grace. We read passages like Hosea 2:3 and wonder if God would really do something like that.
If she does not, I will strip her as naked as she was on the day she was born. I will make her like a dry and barren land, and she will die of thirst.Hosea 2:3 GNB
The truth is, He did. He stripped his people of everything as they were punished through the exile. He did this because He loved them and desired for them to be holy like Him. Consider Hosea’s emotional state. What does he do with a rebellious, unfaithful wife? How would you counsel someone in his situation?
God allows truth to conquer us. He allows circumstances to break us. He sends us to the land we desire, a far off land full of every sin imaginable. It is there that truth is truly found. We might live in compromise but none of us actually want to go down that path. We know where it leads.
God is also a God of grace. He is absolutely full of undeserved mercy.
God’s love is far-reaching and relentless. It’s this unimaginable love that draws us back, now more aware of our waywardness, and much more aware of his grace. We experience the filth of sin in order to appreciate the weight of grace.
This pattern, just like with the analogy here in Hosea, should be producing growth in our lives. He is always working on chipping away more of us and replacing it with more of Him. He is allowing truth to set in and grace to conquer. The journey is what makes us who we are, but the fact that God walks the journey with us should drive us to a place of repentance and thanksgiving.