YAHWEH: Who Won’t Be Pushed Away
Hosea is a book (and a person) I find both amazingly endearing and terrifying. What if the God of the universe really is like Hosea experienced Yahweh to be?
Incarnation of God’s love in his servants was not a claim that began with Jesus. It runs through Jeremiah and Isaiah, but is nowhere among the prophets more compelling than with Hosea. This prophet is a great preparation for the fulfillment in Jesus of this pattern of a human suffering with God and in God’s love for his people. In other words, Hosea certainly preps the reader for John 3:16-17.
Both God and Hosea are pushed away
Hosea 1:2-9—”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.’ So he married Gomer daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived” [these three children, as named by God]….
Jezreel – because I will soon punish Israel for the way it massacred others at Jezreel;
Lo-Ruhamah – “not loved” – because I will no longer show love to Israel or forgive them;
Lo-Ammi – “not my people” – because you are not my people and I am not your God.
In these births, we witness the disintegration of both Hosea’s marriage, which moves from “not good” to “not loved” to “not my child,” as he experiences what God is experiencing in his relationship with his people.Yet God won’t go away, and God tells Hosea not to go away, either
Hosea 1:10—“Yet the Israelites will be like the sand on the seashore, which cannot be measured or counted. In the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ they will be called ‘children of the living God.’”
If you read Hosea 2:4-5 & 10, and Hosea 2:14-15 & 3:1-3, you will see the same pattern continues: God and Hosea are still being pushed away as they each endure a relationship broken by adultery, and yet, again, God won’t go away and tells Hosea not to go away, either.
Hosea 3:1—”The Lord said to me (Hosea), ‘Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.’”
Ultimately, Hosea enacts God’s love for God’s wayward people. I find it overwhelming that God loves us so much that even when we are pushing God away, God is busy finding ways to allure and speak tenderly to such wayward lovers. I find it more than a little terrifying that God may ask us to enact this loving for him at a cost that one can only barely imagine incarnating. “Awful” is a word that applies quite well, in both its origins and its current usage: I find the story of Hosea both “full of awe” in its expression of loving, and “awful” in its costs.
What is your gut reaction to the story of Hosea? Has your reaction changed at all, over time?
Grace and peace,
Pastor Ron Simkins