By Nathan Jones
We continue on with our third installment of our faith study of the biblical Minor Prophets book of Hosea. This time we'll explore the second way we receive a broken, shattered heart by looking at the life and character of the prophet Hosea.
Hosea — The Faithful Servant
Whereas Hosea's wife Gomer is utterly faithless, those same first three chapters show Hosea is the complete opposite. He's a man whose life is dedicated to being totally faithful.
Hosea placed Yahweh God first in his life and so lived a life defined by his faithful service to Him. One would think Hosea's father Beeri may have had an inkling of his son's destiny, for he named Hosea "God is salvation," which also interestingly shares the same meaning as the name Jesus.
God called Hosea to be a Nabi, which in Hebrew means prophet, to his own people in that Northern Kingdom of Israel. As a prophet of God, Hosea would share God's messages to the people. Sometimes God would have Hosea write out His messages in letters, sometimes shout them from the balconies in speeches, and at times even more dramatically—live out God's messages using his own life as type of living symbol.
In living out these messages, at times God would ask Hosea to do some of the most difficult things in order to get His messages across. Regardless of how drop-dead gorgeous Gomer may have been, it must have worried Hosea when God asked him to marry a woman like her, but Hosea obediently did so.
It must have caused no small resentment from his children for Hosea, by God's command, to give them names with prophetic implications. Hosea's oldest son Jezreel's name means "God scatters; the threatened judgment," his daughter Lo-Ruhamah means "not pitied; mercy not obtained," and youngest son Lo-Ammi means "cast out; not my people."
And, when Hosea's life crashed upon the craggy shoals of his wife's endless betrayals—the woman God had commanded him to marry—Hosea refused to divorce her and without question obeyed God yet again and bought back his wayward wife from slavery.
In such acts of obedience, Hosea showed how deep his relationship with God was and how totally selfless his faith was towards his Lord. Should God have asked Hosea to hop into the wheelbarrow He was going to run over a tightrope spanning the raging Niagara Falls, Hosea would have jumped right in, no questions asked. That's how strong Hosea's faith and trust in God was. Even with his heart shattered into a million pieces by his failed marriage and his own people who could care less about his prophetic warnings, Hosea knew that the only real choice was to keep the faith and just trust in God.
In the fourth part of this series on faith in the book of Hosea, we'll travel back to Hosea's time to understand the sad condition the Northern Kingdom of Israel was in that troubled God so much.