Scripture Focus: Hosea 1.2
2 When the LORD began to speak through Hosea, the LORD said to him, “Go, marry a promiscuous woman and have children with her, for like an adulterous wife this land is guilty of unfaithfulness to the LORD.”
25 As he says in Hosea:
“I will call them ‘my people’ who are not my people;
and I will call her ‘my loved one’ who is not my loved one,” (Hosea 2.23)
“In the very place where it was said to them,
‘You are not my people,’
there they will be called ‘children of the living God.’ ” (Hosea 1.10)
Reflection: The Naked Emotion of God
By John Tillman
From the life of Daniel, exiled in Babylon, we travel back in time to a pre-exile Israel and the life of Hosea.
Abraham Heschel explained that other prophets focus on what God has done for his people, while Hosea tells us more of what God feels. (The Prophets)
Many prophets engaged in actions that today would be considered questionable stunts. They publicly insulted kings and officials. They wore strange clothing or no clothing, going naked. (Isaiah 20.1-4) They wore the yoke of oxen. (Jeremiah 27.1-15) They starved. They ate disgusting foods. They built and destroyed elaborate models. They lay in one place for months. They sang offensive songs with pornographic lyrics. (Ezekiel 23.14-21)
In marrying Gomer, Hosea engages in the most extreme performance art depicted in the Bible or performed anywhere. It is more all-encompassing than the way Sacha Baron Cohen plays his character of Borat in real life situations. It is beyond the way Steven Colbert created a character out of his own name and likeness for The Daily Show. Hoseas’s stunt goes beyond acting or putting on a show. It is his real life. There is no “character” to hide behind. Instead, he is exposing the character of God.
Hosea strips bare the inner emotional life of God. Hosea and God are emotionally united in a unique way. Neither will hold back in expressing his love for the people but neither will they hold back in expressing pain, anger, bitterness, and sorrow at how callously they are betrayed.
Pain and anguish of heart are front and center in a scandalous way in Hosea. This shows us a God unashamed of shame, nakedly confessing his love for the unlovable.
Gomer is not chosen for her strength but her weakness. She is not chosen for her wisdom but her foolishness. The accusations of culture would fly the other way as well. Hosea, taking a promiscuous woman as his wife would be considered weak and foolish.
Our God uses the foolish to shame the wisdom of this world and the weak to break the strength of the strong. He loves us, the unlovable. He is faithful to us, the unfaithful. He is unashamed of us, the shameful.
When all else is stripped away, the naked emotion of God, seen in Hosea and seen on the cross, is love.
To the world, this is foolishness, but to we who are being saved, it is the power of God.
Divine Hours Prayer: The Greeting
Your way, O God, is holy; who is as great as our God? — Psalm 77.13
– Divine Hours prayers from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime by Phyllis Tickle
Hosea 1 (Listen – 2:08)
Psalm 119:73-96 (Listen – 15:14)
Read more about Christ, Our Undeserved Friend :: A Guided Prayer
Though my sins and weakness he sees,
My case before the Father, pleads.
He knows my state and yet he bends
God’s ear to me, for me contends.
Read more about The Flavors of Betrayal
Where do we find ourselves in the garden? What form does our betrayal and abandonment of Jesus take?