“How Much?” The Story of Hosea

Media by Cord Buchanan.

If you’re a sucker for a good tragic romance, then you need to delve into the heartbreaking love story of Hosea. Hosea is a Bible prophet that is not very well-known. In fact, little to nothing is known or mentioned about this prophet before or after the actual book of Hosea. However, nowhere else in the Bible will you get such a heart-rending metaphor of God’s love for his children. 

Hosea’s ministry began sometime in the 8th century, during the reign of Jeroboam II (ruler of the northern kingdom of Israel), and lasted about forty years. Hosea lived during the sinful, final days of the northern kingdom and his message is mainly directed towards them. God was severely disappointed and angered at Israel during this time and describes these years as “bloodshed followed by bloodshed.” When discussing Hosea with Ruth Huston, a Bible professor at Greenville University, she shared, “We get a depiction, throughout the book, of God’s raw, vulnerable grief and mourning and rejection and we don’t see that in other places in scripture.” 

Battle during the bible times. A depiction of the horror battles during the times. Media by Nicolas Poussin paintings.

The book of Hosea begins with God commanding Hosea, “Go take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the Lord,” (1:2). The reader quickly sees the symbolism of Hosea marrying a whore, and how it represents Israel being a whore to the world and committing adultery against God. When God is actually asking Hosea to take a wife of whoredom, he is asking Hosea to willingly enter into one of the hardest relationships he will ever be in. A relationship filled with doubt and betrayal. A relationship testing Hosea’s unfaltering faith in God and his plan. Hosea obeyed and married Gomer the prostitute, the daughter of Diblaim, and they had 3 children together who were also symbols of Israel’s unfaithfulness.

Hosea and his wife. Media by Nicole Fisher.

Going into chapter 3 of Hosea, the text reads that Hosea’s wife has inevitably left him to return to her life of promiscuity. Hosea had to have seen this coming and may have even thought an “I told you so,” towards God. God also knew this was going to happen and in chapter 3 verse 1 the Lord commanded Hosea,” Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress…” God says, “Go find her Hosea! Go find her even though she is, at this very moment, committing adultery against you. Go find her!” The next part of verse 1 is one of the most important phrases in Hosea. The next part says, ”Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods…” God says, ”Love the woman who is, right now, betraying you just like the Lord loves his people who are, right now, betraying him.” The next leg of Hosea’s journey must have been a painful and heart-wrenching process, as he walked the worst streets, looking for his lost wife and walking the areas that no one wants to travel to as well as the streets that keep people away with their bad reputations. Chapter 3:2 says, ”So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and about a homer and a lethek of barley.” He what? He bought her! Hosea found his wife, the woman that already belonged to him, and he bought her. In this story of love and betrayal, Hosea is a picture of God and Gomer is a picture of the broken world and sinful humanity. When God found his creation, humanity was broken, ashamed, and had betrayed him. Psalm 24:1 says, “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof…” Creation was already His, and he came down to earth, to walk among despicable, sinful humans, to pay the ultimate price. When asked how this ultimate sacrifice of love impacted her, Huston replied, ”Bottom line, God is willing to sacrifice. God will go to all ends to woo us, to follow us like the hound of Heaven. I mean God even goes to hell. There is no place that separates us from God. If we make our bed in hell, the Psalms say God is there. So there is no sacrifice too great that God is willing to make and that just humbles me.” Incredibly, instead of trying to debate the price of his creation, God just asked, “How Much?”

Media by Cord Buchanan.

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