This is part of a series of guest posts by Kate Almström offering some personal reflection on the minor prophets. Kate is a teacher and one of the leaders of the women’s ministry in Grace Church. Originally from the Highlands of Scotland she lives in Stockholm with her husband & 3 sons.
I understand why it is a little read book. It is hard to follow and also it speaks about characteristics of God and mankind that many would choose to ignore. It speaks about mankind’s addiction to sin and God’s anger at them but throughout the whole book there is a compassion and gentleness that takes over.
The analogy of Israel as a prostitute really made me think of some drug addicts I have known. Heroin has been their God and time and time again they have gone back to drugs despite promises of change. The prostitute in this picture is just as hopeless yet God says to Hosea “love her as the Lord loves Israelites” (3:1). It is a reminder to me to be like God and not give up on seemingly hopeless people.
Chapter 4 and 5 continue in seeming hopelessness as the people constantly sin. We see the extent of their sin in chapter 13 as they offer human sacrifices. This is evil of the kind we saw in the Third Reich or ISIS. It makes me shiver in the same way as watching this kind of news can do. And a people who once knew God and knew right from wrong has done all this.
I then see a false version of religion in chapters 7 to 8. God wants mercy rather than sacrifice (6:6) God longs to redeem them (7:13) yet they are plotting evil and sinning. Some people reject a God that can be angry but there can be no other acceptable emotion as God sees people destroy each other. Yet God’s longing to show compassion is stronger and greater than the capacity of even the greatest of sinners.
I see the characteristic of a trinitarian God in Hosea. Chapter 11 is beautiful image of a father with a child and shows the father heart of God. He loves because he has created us and nurtured us. Chapter 13 points to that God is our Saviour, our rescuer. Chapter 14 talks about how God will be like the refreshing dew. As a Christian I believe restoration, rebuilding and healing is a work that the Holy Spirit is doing within me.
So those are a few of the many thoughts I have had while reading Hosea. I will go back and read it again. What are your thoughts?