Rebuke your mother, rebuke her, for she is not my wife, and I am not her husband. Let her remove the adulterous look from her face and the unfaithfulness from between her breasts. Otherwise I will strip her naked and make her as bare as on the day she was born; I will make her like a desert, turn her into a parched land, and slay her with thirst. I will not show my love to her children, because they are the children of adultery. Their mother has been unfaithful and has conceived them in disgrace. She said, ‘I will go after my lovers, who give me my food and my water, my wool and my linen, my olive oil and my drink.’ Hosea 2:2-5
Wow from children of the Living God to children of adultery in one chapter. I feel like I have whiplash. I cannot imagine what Hosea is feeling. God is really messing about with Hosea’s life and family to make His points here. I am hoping that as I prayerfully chew on this passage that God will reveal a Hidden Well.
Prior to this passage we learned that God had Hosea marry an adulterous woman named Gomer, then proceeded to have children with God-inspired names like “Lo-Ruhamah” which apparently means “not loved”. All this to serve as prophetic metaphors for the people of Israel. I have to confess this seems cruel. This is right up there with the wave upon wave of calamities that befell Job. At least job lost his family all at once. Hosea seemingly has to endure decades of demoralization and degradation. I am hoping that as I continue to read through Hosea this will all become less confusing.
The reference to water comes toward the end of the passage when Hosea’s wife, metaphorically representing Israel, says “‘I will go after my lovers, who give me my food and my water, my wool and my linen, my olive oil and my drink.” It seems like the fundamental issue God is trying to get across here is one of dependency. The people of Israel are looking to other gods, their lovers, for items that really should be provided by God, like food, water, and clothing.
God is the one to whom the people of Israel are supposed to “wed”. I think the reason that God uses Hosea and his wife to make his point is that marriage, at least God’s view of marriage, is the ultimate in intimate relationships. It is exclusive and we are supposed to become “one flesh”. God is saying through Hosea and his marriage to Gomer that He desires this kind of intimate and exclusive relationship with the people of Israel. I think he desires that relationship with us as well, and I think he is equally disappointed in us when we look to other “lovers” for our food, water, and other needs in our lives.
God wants to be our sole (and soul) water source. He is the only one that will truly satisfy our thirsty souls. As I have pondered this perplexing passage it occurs to me that there may actually be a hidden well here. What if part of what God is trying to say here is that as terrible as it seems we may be called upon to do things similar to what Hosea has been called upon to do here to achieve God’s purposes. Hopefully it will not look exactly like Hosea and his life, but there may be things that could be equally hard that God may ask of us. Maybe part of what I will discover as I continue my float through Hosea is what this looks like for Hosea and how he navigates these turbulent waters.
Prayer: God You desire an exclusive and intimate relationship with us. Help us to see that and respond accordingly.