When the Lord began to speak through Hosea, the Lord said to him:
“Go, take yourself a wife of harlotry and children of harlotry, for the land has committed great harlotry by departing from the Lord” (Hosea 1:2).
Hosea was a man after God’s heart, and it’s hard to understand why a man with a heart after God was told by God to take a prostitute as his wife!
In ancient Hebrew, the meaning of the word harlot (zonah) also means a wife who is not satisfied with her husband and seeks other men. It becomes a part of her personality. Even though she loved Hosea, his wife felt as though she needed more. She was trying to fill a void. In Hosea 3:1, God tells him to love this unfaithful wife just as He loves the children of Israel who turn to other gods.
Despite the fact that Israel throughout history has refused to repent for serving other gods and regularly backslides, we see God’s continuing love for Israel, His beloved. Though they are joined through an everlasting covenant, there are still consequences for Israel’s unfaithfulness. Even so, God says He will not forget them and He will protect them. In the end they will return to Him and to their homes (Hosea 11).
Israel, even today, can be compared to Hosea’s wife. There is a similar emptiness of heart toward God, and a seeking after other things. Turning our backs to God comes from lack of trust, lack of love and lack of confidence in Him. Spiritual adultery = idolatry.
During the days of Hosea, the nations surrounding Israel were the Canaanites and Philistines, on the South, Egypt and the North, Assyria. The Israelites at times embraced the gods of their neighbors. However, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob wants our whole heart. Yeshua, while on the cross said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34). Modern Israel is drawn to the same adultery of the heart. We as believers must embrace what Yeshua said, praying for forgiveness because they do not understand that they are far away from Him, attempting to fill the void in any way they can, except by drawing closer to Him.
This article originally appeared in Oasis newsletter, August 2020, and reposted with permission.