Hosea 2:1-13

“Say of your brothers, ‘My people,’ and of your sisters, ‘My loved one.’

“Rebuke your mother, rebuke her,

    for she is not my wife,
    and I am not her husband.
Let her remove the adulterous look from her face
    and the unfaithfulness from between her breasts.
Otherwise I will strip her naked
    and make her as bare as on the day she was born;
I will make her like a desert,
    turn her into a parched land,
    and slay her with thirst.
I will not show my love to her children,
    because they are the children of adultery.
Their mother has been unfaithful
    and has conceived them in disgrace.
She said, ‘I will go after my lovers,
    who give me my food and my water,
    my wool and my linen, my olive oil and my drink.’
Therefore I will block her path with thornbushes;
    I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way.
She will chase after her lovers but not catch them;
    she will look for them but not find them.
Then she will say,
    ‘I will go back to my husband as at first,
    for then I was better off than now.’
She has not acknowledged that I was the one
    who gave her the grain, the new wine and oil,
who lavished on her the silver and gold—
    which they used for Baal.

“Therefore I will take away my grain when it ripens,
    and my new wine when it is ready.
I will take back my wool and my linen,
    intended to cover her naked body.
10 So now I will expose her lewdness
    before the eyes of her lovers;
    no one will take her out of my hands.
11 I will stop all her celebrations:
    her yearly festivals, her New Moons,
    her Sabbath days—all her appointed festivals.
12 I will ruin her vines and her fig trees,
    which she said were her pay from her lovers;
I will make them a thicket,
    and wild animals will devour them.
13 I will punish her for the days
    she burned incense to the Baals;
she decked herself with rings and jewelry,
    and went after her lovers,
    but me she forgot,”
declares the Lord.
(Hosea 2:1-13 NIV)

As we recap Hosea chapter 1, we see God calling Hosea into ministry.  His first assignment?  Get married and start a family.  But there was an act of obedience, a step of faith that went with God’s calling.  Hosea was to marry and have children with this woman, knowing that she would be unfaithful to him later in their relationship.

God was using Hosea’s life and marriage to parallel the northern kingdom of Israel and her relationship to the Lord.  Israel had started out faithful to the Lord but soon drifted into Baal worship and other forms of idolatry that took their hearts far from God.

As Hosea and Gomer had their three children, God named each of the children to reflect the broken relationship between Himself and Israel.  But at the end of chapter 1, God promised to restore Israel.

Verse 1 of chapter 2 is actually a continuation of the thought at the end of chapter 1.  While God had named Hosea’s daughter “not loved” and Hosea’s youngest son “not my people”, God was now saying He would reverse those names.  By flipping the names to  “My loved one” and “My people”, God was saying that when the nation of Israel repented, He would be faithful to forgive them and restore His covenant relationship with them.

Verse 2 begins the rebuke of Israel by her “children”, portrayed as Gomer and her adult children.  God has appealed to Israel to repent of her sins of unfaithfulness to Him, just as Hosea appealed to Gomer to return to their marriage and covenant of faithfulness to one another.  Verse 2 indicates that Isreal’s desire is not for her “husband”, but for her lovers, the false gods she is worshipping.

In verse 3, God says that He will take all the good things in her life away if she does not come back to Him.  Verse 4 says that her children (the few righteous people in Israel) will suffer because of their relationship to her and her unfaithfulness.  In this verse, we see the actions of the parent bringing shame upon the children.

Verse 5 shows that Israel, in her delusion, has forgotten where her provision comes from.  She attributes her “good life” as coming from her “lovers”, the false gods she is worshipping, not from the Lord who provides all good things.

When her provisions dry up, Israel says that she will return to her “husband” (the Lord), as living with Him is better than starving to death (v. 7).  Her heart is not with her husband, nor does she recognize that it is He that provides all her needs (v. 8).  She is still living her life inwardly focused on herself, not outwardly focused on others.

So what happens now?  All the goodness in her life is taken away – her provisions, the parties, the celebrations, all the good things that she was accustomed to and depended upon to live her adulterous life with the other gods she worshipped.

In the end, Israel will be all alone, exposed for who she really is.   Her partying days are over, and she is now destitute and living in shame.  Her “friends” and “lovers” (the false gods she was worshipping, including Baal) will not come to her rescue.

Isn’t that just like sin in our lives?  It’s fun for a little while, but then the reality sets in and we realize that it robs us of all the good in life, especially our relationship with the Lord the joy He brings to our relationship with Him.

So what’s the answer?  Repentance – turning our hearts back to the Lord.  We’ll see more about this in our next time together.

In our imagination, we see Hosea, gently and sincerely saying to Gomer, his estranged wife, “Come home.”

And so Jesus says to us, “Come home.  Stay with Me.  I love you, and I like spending time with you.  Let’s do life together, not apart.”