September 1: An Unusual Portrait
Hosea 1:1–2:23; Acts 1:1–26; Job 15:1–9
“At the beginning when Yahweh spoke through Hosea, Yahweh said to Hosea, ‘Go, take for yourself a wife and children of whoredom, because the land commits great whoredom forsaking Yahweh.’ So he went and took Gomer daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son” (Hos 1:2–3). God’s people had prostituted themselves to other nations by seeking their help instead of Yahweh’s. Hosea’s act, which dramatized the rebellion of God’s people against Him, is one of the oddest in the Bible.
God loves His people with passion and jealousy. He has little tolerance when they seek alliances with other nations and put false gods before Him. At times, He takes shocking measures to get their attention. The act He requires of Hosea not only depicts Israel’s unfaithfulness, but it also reveals God’s own feelings of betrayal. Many of us can empathize.
At such moments in the Bible, it’s hard to understand how God uses such behavior to further His plan. But within the view of biblical theology, desperate situations like Hosea’s are transformed into redemptive scenes. Such is the case when we open the book of Acts: “I produced the former account [of the Gospel of Luke], O Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and to teach, until the day he was taken up, after he had given orders through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen, to whom he also presented himself alive after he suffered, with many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking the things about the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:1–3). Jesus came to redeem a people who sought refuge in the arms of false gods and other nations.
When we see Hosea’s story in the light of Jesus’ acts and the subsequent acts of His apostles, we learn that God can indeed bring even the most wretched of people to righteousness. We also learn that sometimes it takes a vivid, if odd, real-life portrait for us to understand the truth about our false ways.
Are you seeking refuge in the wrong places or the wrong ways? What are you placing before Yahweh and His work in your life?
JOHN D. BARRY
- The word of the Lord that came unto Hosea the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Isreal. At the beginning the Lord spoke to Hosea, and the Lord said unto Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of fornications, and children of fornications: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the Lord. So he went, and took Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim, which conceived bare him a son. And the Lord said unto him, Call his name Jezreel: for yet a little, and I will visit the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, and will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel. And at that day will I also break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel. She conceived yet again, and bare a daughter, and God said unto him, Call her name Lo-Ruhamah: for I will no more have pity upon the house of Israel: but I will utterly take them away. Yet I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, an dwill save them by the Lord their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, or by battle, by horses, or by horsemen. Now when she had weaned Lo-Ruhammah, she conceived, and bare a son. Then said God, Call his name Lo-Ammi: for ye are not my people: therefore I will not be yours. Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor told: and in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God. Then shall the children of Judah, and his children of Israel be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land: for great is day of Jezreel. Say unto your brethren, Ammi, and to our sisters, Ruhamah, Plead with your mother: plead with her: for she is not my wife, neither am I her husband: but let her take away her fornications out of her sight, and her adulteries from between her breasts. Lest I strip her naked, and set her as in the day that she was born, and make her as a wilderness, and leave her like a dry land, and slay her for thirst. And I will have no pity upon her children: for they be the children of fornication. For their mother hath plaed the harlot: she that conceived them, hath done shamefully: for she said, I will go after thy lovers that give me my bread and my water, my wool, and my flax, mine oil and my drink. Therefore behold, I will stoop thy way with thorns, and make an hedge, that she shall not find her paths. Though she follow after her lovers, yet shall she not find them: then shall she say, i will go and return to my first husband: for at that time was I better than now. Now she did not know that I gave her corn, and wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold, which they bestowed upon Baal. Therefore will I return, and take away my corn in the time thereof, and my wine in the season thereof, and will recover my wood and my flax lent, to cover her shame. And now will I discover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers, and no man shall deliver her out of mine hand. I will also cause all her mirth to cease, her feast days, her new moons, and her Sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts. And I will destroy her vines and her fig trees, whereof she hath said, These are my rewards that my lovers have given me: and I will make them as a forest, and the wild beasts shall eat them. And I will visit upon her the days of Baal, wherein she burnt incense to them: and she decked herself with her earrings and her jewels, and she followed her lovers, and forget me, said the Lord. Therefore behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness,a nd speak friendly unto her. And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for the door of hope, and she shall sing there as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt. And at that day, saith the Lord, thou shalt call me Ishi, and shalt call me no more Baali. For I will take away the names of Baal out of her mouth, and they shall be no more remembered by their names. And in that day I will make a covenant for them with the wild beasts, and with the fowls of the heaven, and with that that creepeth upon the earth: and I will break the bow, and the sword and the battle out of the earth: and I will make them to sleep safely. And I will marry thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in mercy, and in compassion. I will even marry thee unto me in faithfulness, and thou shalt know the Lord. And in that day I will hear, saith the Lord, I will even hear the heavens, and they shall hear the earth, And the earth shall hear the corn, and the swine, and the oil, and they shall hear Jezreel. And I will sow her unto me in the earth, and I will have mercy upon her, that was not pitied, and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people. And they shall say, Thou art God. Hosea 1:1–2:23
- I have made the former treatise, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began to do and teach, Until the day that he was taken up, after that he was taken up, after that he through the holy Ghost, hd given commandments unto the Apostles, whom he had chosen. to whom also he presented himself alive after that he had suffered, by many infallible tokens, being seen of them by the space of forty days, and speaking of those things which appertained to the kingdom of God. And when he had gathered them together, he commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which said he, ye have heard of me. For John indeed baptized with water, but ye shall be baptized with the holy Ghost within these few days. When they therefore were come close together they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel? and he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times, or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power of the holy Ghost, when he shall come on you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth. And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up: for a cloud took him up out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven, as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel. Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing into heaven? This Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come, as ye have seen him go into heaven. Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount that it is called the mount of Olives, which is near unto Jerusalem, being from it a Sabbath day’s journey. And when they were come in, they went up into an upper chamber, where abode both Peter and James, and John, and Andrew, and Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zealot, and Judas James’s brother. These all continued with one accord in power and supplication with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren. And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said (now the number of names that were in one place were about an hundred and twenty.) Ye men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, Which the holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before of Jesus, which was guide to them that took Jesus. For he was numbered with us, and had obtained fellowship in this ministration. He therefore hath purchased a field with the reward of iniquity: and when he had thrown down himself headlong, he brast asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. And it is known unto all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, insomuch, that that field is called in their own language, Akel Dama, that is, The field of blood. For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be void, and let no man dwell therein: also, Let another take his charge. Wherefore of these men which have companied with us, all the time that the Lord Jesus was conversant among us, Beginning from the baptism of John unto the day that he was taken up from us, must one of them be made a witness with us of his resurrection. And they presented two, Joseph called Barsabas, whose surname was Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed, saying, Thou Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, show whether of these two thou hast chosen, That he may take the room of his ministration and Apostleship, from which Judas hath gone astray, to go to his place. Then they gave forth their lots: and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was by a common consent counted with the eleven Apostles. Acts 1:1–26
- Then answered Eliphaz the Temanite, and said, Shall a wise man speak words of the wind? and fill his belly with the East wind? Shall he dispute with words not comely? or with talk that is not profitable? Surely thou hast cast off fear, and restrainest prayer before thy God: For thy mouth declared thine iniquity, seeing thou hast chosen the tongue of the crafty. Thine own mouth condemneth thee, and not I, and thy lips testify against thee. Art thou the first man that was born? and wast thou made before the hills? Hast thou heard the secret counsel of God, and dost thou restrain wisdom to thee? What knowest thou that we know not? and understandest that it is not in us? Job 15:1–9