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The Scriptorium

Marrying into the Mess

Unusual preparation for a prophet, no?

Hosea 1

Week 2, Tuesday: Preparation and promise

No other prophet had so strange a beginning to his call than Hosea. Before he can even get into the ministry of the Word, he is commanded to take a wife and start a family.

But not just any wife. And not just any family.

God is preparing Hosea for his ministry, and through Hosea, He is preparing the nation for the promise of His undying faithfulness.

Read Hosea 1

Meditate on Hosea 1.2

1. God instructs Hosea to marry. Before he can begin his ministry, he must be properly prepared. The phrase “of harlotry” probably means that Hosea was to choose a wife from among the people of Israel, rather than the people of Judah. It doesn’t necessarily mean that he was required to marry a prostitute. But what kind of statement would Hosea be making – and God through him – by taking this step?

2. Why start with a marriage? Why not just go into Israel, prophetic guns blazing, and give those adulterous people what for? What role does marriage play in the divine economy? Is there a message of hope for the future in Hosea’s action

3. What reason does God give for this strange command? How does this help us in understanding why this marriage was good preparation for Hosea?

4. Already we can begin to see how Hosea – whose name derives from the Hebrew word for “salvation” – is a type of Christ. In Biblical studies, a “type” is someone or something which is real and significant for its time, but which points beyond itself to something greater and more significant. Meditate on Philippians 2.5-11. How can you see that Hosea is a type of Christ here?

5. The people of Hosea’s day would not necessarily have understood that his life and message were pointing to Christ. But Matthew understood (cf. Matt. 2.15), and so did Peter (cf. 1 Pet. 2.10), Paul (cf. Rom. 9.25, 26), and John (Rev. 6.16, cf. Hos. 10.8). What does this suggest about how we should read the Old Testament? What does Jesus teach us about this in John 5.39?

Summary
A prophetic book of judgment begins with an act of grace, which in and of itself points to the greater grace of God yet to come. No matter how bleak things get, or how far we may drift from obedience to the Lord, His grace is constant, His promise is unchanged, and He will always remain faithful to His Word and plan. How does Hosea’s marriage to this “wife of harlotry” encourage you in your walk with the Lord?

Closing Prayer
Blessed is that man who makes the LORD his trust,
And does not respect the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.
Many, O LORD my God, are Your wonderful works
Which You have done;
And Your thoughts toward us
Cannot be recounted to You in order;
If I would declare and speak of them,
They are more than can be numbered.
Sacrifice and offering You did not desire;
My ears You have opened.
Burnt offering and sin offering You did not require.
Then I said, “Behold, I come;
In the scroll of the book it is written of me.
I delight to do Your will, O my God,
And Your law is within my heart.”

Psalm 40.4-8

T. M. Moore

Each week’s studies in our Scriptorium column are available in a free PDF form, suitable for personal or group use. For all available studies in Hosea, click here.

A primary theme of the book of Hosea is Israel’s failure to keep covenant with the Lord. God’s covenant is a central theme and provides the organizing motif for all of Scripture. Learn more about God’s covenant by ordering a copy of T. M.’s book,
I Will Be Your God, from our online store (click here).

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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