S21P37 – Portraits of faith: Hosea

Hosea 1:2
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.”

Hosea’s marriage was a picture of God’s relationship with his people Israel. When we read this story, we read a powerful metaphor about betrayal and unconditional love. We reflect on our own conviction for sinful behavior and ask God for restoration, confident in his power and desire to restore us. This story is encouragement for us, the imperfect souls who desire to follow God perfectly but cannot possibly execute such an ambitious plan. But in order for us to have the benefit of this encouragement, one man had to endure quite a difficult calling.

When God called Hosea to marry, He was clear that Hosea’s wife would be unfaithful. This short command leaves some things to be questioned. For example, did God tell Hosea the purpose of this marriage, that he would be showing us this great picture as encouragement centuries later? Did Hosea know he was living a critical example, or did he think he was being punished for the people’s sins? How did Hosea feel about this command? We do not know the answers to these questions, but we do know that Hosea followed God’s command of taking a step that would surely bring disappointment and pain.

Regardless of whether Hosea knew that his life would be an object lesson, he obeyed. When God asked Hosea to place himself in a less than ideal situation, he did so for the purposes of God. Even if we ask the tough questions when God calls us to the tough tasks, what matters is whether we obey him despite knowing that we are guaranteed difficulty along the way. True faith accepts the pain for the sake of the plan and purpose. Father, increase our faith to obey You even when we are sure that obedience will bring pain, and teach us to glory in the opportunity of suffering for your sake.