By Nathan Jones
We continue on with our eighth installment of our faith study of the biblical Minor Prophets book of Hosea. This time we'll better understand the vastness of God's divine heart by looking at His profile when it comes to how He communicates.
God—The Faithful King
So what about those vital questions posed earlier about God's character? Is God heartless when it comes to His people, deliciously plotting our eventual fall and subsequent shattered heart? Too clearly Israel, in every conceivable way, was at fault for shattering her own heart, but what about Hosea? Why did God seemingly set up Hosea to suffer the inevitable shattered heart?
To answer that, first we've got to remember that Gomer was the living embodiment of the faithless nation of Israel. Every wicked desire Gomer craved and evil deed committed was a reflection of Israel's heart. The faithless bride Gomer was the living symbol, a type, of the faithless bride Israel.
For Hosea to most effectively share the heartache God was enduring with His wayward people, Hosea needed to have experienced the same betrayal firsthand. As one commentator explains, "Not until a heart is crushed by love's indescribable sorrow is it truly fitted to preach the deeper things of God's matchless love."8 Hosea relating to God's suffering imbued him with the ability to effectively communicate God's heartache. As famed minister G. Campbell Morgan explains, "Out of all this process of pain, there came full confidence in the ultimate victory of love. Thus equipped, he [Hosea] delivers his messages and all through them will sound these deep notes of Sin, Love, and Hope."9
Second, not only was Hosea tied to God by the same heartache, but Hosea's life of faithfulness was also one of the greatest types of symbolic Bible prophecy ever to walk this earth. After all, who so willingly gives their life over to be a symbol of misery? Who because of obedience chooses to have their life become "a succession of sobs" that could only be recorded as if in a "diary of a soldier at the front written between the explosion of shells."10
Hosea became a living symbol just like Gomer, for he modeled the very faithfulness and forgiveness that God demonstrated to Israel. Hosea was, of course, merely a man, but his character and heart are a beautiful reflection of the character and heart of God.
God—A Profile in Communicativeness
To better understand the vastness of that divine heart, let's experience Yahweh God as portrayed in the book of Hosea.
Communicative. The heart of God communicates. One of the most common complaints from skeptics today is that God, if He's real, is distant and never talks to His creation. Even the Deists of the early years of America thought this, believing God had wound up the universe and then stepped away. Not true! We find ample examples throughout the Bible where God has communicated about who He is to Man.
God actually wants to communicate with us, but sin stands in the way. When the eternal state comes, mankind will be reunited with God once again, and we'll walk, talk and fellowship one-on-one with Yahweh God just like Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden before sin separated humanity from Him. God sent His own Son, Jesus Christ, to do the Good Work of restoring that relationship. But, while we wait for that heavenly state, God uses other avenues to communicate to us about who He is and what good He desires for us.
One such avenue God communicates to us by is through the speeches, writings and symbolic lives of Israel's prophets, such as Hosea. Many times the rebuking messages given to Israel were to help keep them from making the wrong choices, but more often it was to reveal the person and character of Yahweh.
Those messages to Israel became a conduit for revealing God to the larger world, so that every person in every land in every age since can know about our Creator. When God commanded Hosea and the other prophets to hear the words of the Lord, He was speaking not just to the prophet or Israel, but to you and me as well. Our Father God communicates to us through these messages, and most excitedly for us when we call out to Him, God responds "I will answer" (Hosea 1:2; 2:21; 3:1; 4:1; 5:1-2,9; 6:5; 9:8; 12:4,10,13).
In the ninth part of this series on faith in the book of Hosea, we'll better understand the vastness of God's divine heart by looking at His profile when it comes to how He is loving and faithful.
8. Yates, K.M. (1942). Preaching From the Prophets. Nashville, Tennessee: Broadman Press. p. 60.
9. Morgan, G.C. (1960). The Minor Prophets: The Men and Their Messages. Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company. p. 23.
10. Yates, K.M. (1942). Preaching From the Prophets. Nashville, Tennessee: Broadman Press. p. 64.