Hosea

Song of Songs, Theology

Song of Solomon: When We Don’t Want to Eat (Introduction)


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Jack is a young lad who goes to the same gym as us – I guess he must be in his very early twenties – and, very unusually for any bloke in the gym, recently opened up to me while we were stood recovering together next to the leg extension machine.

I’d asked him, “how you doing?” and, rather than giving an off-the-shelf response conveying that nothing in life was even remotely problematic or worrisome, he responded by saying, “I’m doing a bit better now, thanks…”.

What’s going on here then, I wondered. (more…)

Hosea, Marriage, Theology

We Are Gomer


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This is the seventh and final post that I’m going to do on the book of Hosea. But seventh in the series though it may be, I want to treat it as though it is the first and the last.

Layered over the timeless theology of this minor Prophet’s book, and this series, has been a certain amount of poetic thought. I hope it’s been clear; I hope it’s been helpful.

But, in just a few paragraphs, what is the message of Hosea? (more…)

Bible, Hosea, Marriage, Theology

Hewn Husband: “Come back!”


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It’s impossible to journey through the book of Hosea in a casual way. You would never slip into your favourite flip flops to start an ascent of Arthur’s Seat and neither can we receive from this book what we’re meant to receive without the serious footwear of meditation and prayer.

There are many lows in this book. Imagine the lows from Hosea’s perspective as he discovers that his wife, Gomer, has been unfaithful to him yet again. Imagine his heart sickness.

But God has also been on display as the One moving behind the scenes and also the One moving the scenes He’s behind. He’s in the grandeur and He’s in the infinitesimal.

Hosea and Ezekiel

(more…)

Bible, Theology

Hosea 2: The Promise of Allurement


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Learning to Breathe

The previous post’s title from this series suggested and even seemed to promise an acclimatising to the spiritual geography of the book of Hosea. But do you feel any more acclimatised having read it? Do I feel any more acclimatised having written it?

Maybe slightly; nowhere near fully or enough.

My main conviction is that this peculiar acclimatising – to the theme, to the prophetic message and the application of Hosea – is of Everest scale for us. It’s so grand, so important, so deeply distressing, that we will be seriously tempted to skim over the chapters to maintain our equilibrium rather than setting up a base camp in it and learning a while longer.

So here we are at base camp, looking up at the stars. Our most basic, human function of breathing is now something that we’re having to think about – reflex has regressed into a discipline.

It’s exhausting.

There is a higher summit – it hangs overs base camp like a shadowy, silhouetting God, incarnate in ancient rock.

Who is He?

Recapping – Hosea 1

For both men and women, it’s essential to harness the mind’s imagination in thinking what it must have been like to be the man Hosea:

God has come to you and asked you to marry a Prostitute. He has come to you and asked you to build a family from the adulterous lineage of a Harlot. He has come to you and told you to take a path that will absolutely smash your social standing and confuse the compass of all of your male sensibilities.

God has come to you and He has commanded the obliteration your male ego.

But God has done this to reveal the tectonic power of the inner chambers of His heart and, at the same time, the panoramic pinnacle of His Everest love for us. He is showing us His deepest, highest, widest affections through the churning heart of a husband bereft of the love and loyalty of his wife.

Punishment and Promise

Let’s Read Hosea 2:1-13

  • The futures of Gomer and Israel seem to be hanging in the balance, swinging back and forth like an eternal pendulum. Rebuke is the word of the day but there is the hope of restoration.
  • God is grieved by the betrayal of His people and very deeply. We’re supposed to be imagining what it’s like to be the man Hosea but only to understand the heart and nature of our Maker. Put yourself in Hosea’s shoes – you’ve just married the woman you love, despite her past, but now she runs off with other men that love her. She has sex with them. She is paid to have sex with them. Your honeymoon is the shock that your wife still loves her sinful past more than the present with you.

Perhaps Hosea was imagining the marital bliss between Boaz and Ruth and feeling let down by God

  • We’re shown the inner mechanics and thought trains of both adulterous wife and forgiving Husband, (‘she said…’ v5 cf. ‘therefore I will…’ v6). So there’s an exchange of emotional responses.
  • In the Old Testament, Father God is often understood as being angry – that’s understandable – but every time you sense God’s anger, try to instead imagine God as being grieved and as being gutted rather than as just waving His great, big, cosmic stick around in fury. I’ve found this a massively helpful distinction in coming closer to the heart of God. When you imagine how hurt and bereft and sad and confused and betrayed Hosea must have felt, think of God being forgotten by His bride. (v13). Remember: this is about God not about Hosea; Hosea is pointing us to the heart of God.

We need think of God as being betrayed and distraught rather than just as angry.

The Promise of Allurement

Therefore I am now going to allure her…

  • God’s response to the betrayal of His heart is  the gracious promise of allurement:
v.al·lured, al·lur·ing, al·lures

v.tr.

To attract with something desirable; entice: Promises of quick profits allure the unwary investor.

v.intr.

To be highly, often subtly attractive: charms that still allure.

n.

The power to attract; enticement.
  • Verse 14 is where we begin to learn about the dimensions of the love of God, contrasted with Hosea’s undoubted struggle and Gomer’s flagrant abandonment of covenant.
  • Can you imagine a love that loves like this? Hurt, gutted, sick-to-the-stomach, can’t eat or focus or sleep…this is the picture of God we’re given through the humanity of Hosea’s disaster. And yet, God responds by promising allurement: God resolves to show us how incomparable, how much better He is, how much more desirable than anything else in order that we will come to our senses and love him voluntarily and whole-heartedly as we should. From every charming sin, every unknown idolatry, every diluting agent of our love for Him, God promises to allure us back into the bliss of full betrothal covenant…of ecstatic union and oneness.
  • The LORD conquers the indecision and double-mindedness of His people by restoring them. He pours out instead of drawing back.

I will show my love to the one I called, “Not my loved one”

I will say to those called “Not my people” , “you are my people”

And they will say

“You are my God”

Bible, Marriage, Theology

Hosea 1- Acclimatising to the Mess (& the wonder)


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The book of Hosea is full of a kind of beauty that will take our breath away…if we will let it.

I’m taking Chapter 1 today, solo, just to set the scene, then 2 & 3 together next week and then a couple more posts to cover the remaining 12 chapters. Boom!

1:1

  • Remember in verse 1, crucially, the context has been set like some kind of historical GPS for us. (More detail here).

1:2

  • Then verse two begins the first of two prose/narrative sections that act as book ends on the more poetic middle of the book that we’ll come to in another post.
  • We’re assured straight away that this is the LORD speaking – as though we needed reminding – bringing to mind 2 Timothy 3:16 that “…all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful…”. This is Hosea speaking but it is the Lord of all creation who is speaking through Him.

In order to speak prophetically to a Nation and to achieve redemption and righteousness for them, God invades, exposes and demands the masculinity of Hosea’s ego, his social and spiritual reputation, his lineage, his peace, his joy, his sanity, his sexual satisfaction and purity and, most ultimately, the emotional bed of his heart.

(more…)

Bible, Marriage, Theology

Hosea: History, Style, Theology (Intro)


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Letters on a Page

Thinking/praying about the historical, theological and literary contexts of biblical passages is pretty darn important if your hope is to grow in love for God.

How come?

Well, have you ever thought why it is that God decided to make the primary medium of His Self-disclosure to us to be through specific details and letters on a page (yes, pixels on a screen) rather than numbers or code of some kind? Or that He even chose to have a Book at all?

Perhaps God chose words because they convey thoughts and personal information which, in turn, hold potential to convey emotion and therefore form relationships?

Numbers can’t do that.

Whatever the reason, I figure that it’s good to start a study by recognising that words forming different styles of literature, as part of this, history and theological motif, are a big deal to God and packed full of meaning.

So, coming to study Hosea needs thought in each of these areas to really delve into its ‘riches’ (Col.3:16), otherwise it’s like buying a top-of-the-range DSLR camera for thousands of pounds and then only using it for selfies! (more…)