I am undoubtedly aging myself by asking but who remembers the TV show, Queen for a Day? It was the forerunner for what’s now a popular form of television: Reality TV. Actual situations, personal drama and conflict, all unscripted, describe this new genre. Biggest Loser, Survivor, American Idol, and Fear Factor are becoming the world’s most popular form of entertainment.
The prophet Hosea was called by God to live his adult life on Reality TV. In the midst of the community he was assigned to marry a prostitute and establish a family but his wife would not be faithful. Hosea, who had to die to himself every day, obeyed God. Why was he given such a heart-wrenching assignment? God saw His covenant people as His wife, His marriage partner, and sexual immorality is not only physical but deeply personal. God’s perspective was that His chosen people were unfaithful and running after other lovers. Hosea was called to dramatize God’s heart with his life.
There are ten chapters describing the punishment coming to Israel for ‘playing the whore’ and committing spiritual adultery. That’s the lower story. The upper, spiritual story, is where we find Jesus. He is our Bridegroom, our Spouse, and our Lover (to both male and female, Jew and Gentile) and He expects faithfulness to Him. Paul uses our natural marriages (Eph. 5:25-33) to be a type or shadow of this spiritual union with Jesus Christ. The Church cannot miss this emphasis: we are to stay faithful to our divine Husband. He is to receive our attention, love, worship, and intimacy and He will not share us with another.
Several times in chapter two we have the phrase: in that day. That’s a reference to the end times. God declared that there’s a time coming when Israel will call Him her Husband again and she will be His wife forever (vs. 16-20). He will again have mercy and the marriage relationship will survive.
But afterward the people will return and devote themselves to the LORD their God and to David’s descendant, their king. In the last days, they will tremble in awe of the LORD and of his goodness. (Hosea 3:5 NLT)
That King is Jesus Christ and He’s returning to His new Bride, Jew (‘my people’) and Gentile (‘not my people’) alike: the Church. The apostle Paul understood the end time message from Hosea. Listen to his words:
Concerning the Gentiles, God says in the prophecy of Hosea, “Those who were not my people, I will now call my people. And I will love those whom I did not love before.” And, “Then, at the place where they were told, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called ‘children of the living God.’” (Romans 9:25-26 NLT)
Hosea ends his book with a charge to understand his message. If we are wise and discerning, he tells us (12:9), we will know and walk in the ways of God and have a strong marriage forever.