Intro to Minor Prophets Series

For our next blog series, we'll be covering a few of the minor prophets from the Old Testament. We wanted to do this series because sometimes the Old Testament can be intimidating, especially if you feel like you're a little new on trying to read the Bible on your own. We want to take a few of the shorter books of the Old Testament to go through with you and help apply them to your daily life in order to equip you to continue doing this on your own in the future. So while you're reading some of these books, you may find that we define and explain more things just to give you a better idea of what's going on. We also encourage you to read the whole books of the bible that we're going through because we'll just cover the bulk of it, but not every detail. 

The Lord said to me, ‘Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.’ So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and about a homer a lethek of barley. Then I told her, ‘You are to live with me many days; you must not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man, and I will behave the same way toward you.’ For the Israelites will live many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without ephod or household gods. Afterward the Israelites will return and seek the Lord their God and David their king. They will come trembling to the Lord and to his blessings in the last days. - Hosea 3:1-5

1. Context / Background

To give you a little more context, the Lord is speaking to Hosea about a woman named Gomer who is a prostitute. The Lord told Hosea previously to make her his wife, so he did. However, Gomer continues running back to prostitution and her previous ways of living, but the Lord continues to tell Hosea to bring her back.

2. What is this story really about?

As you see, there is a continual reference to the Israelites and their rebellion against God. God continues to save the Israelites over and over while they continue to rebel against Him. Much of the Old Testament consists of this back and forth. At first, when I began reading the Old Testament, I thought I was just learning the history of how we got to where we are today. It didn't quite occur to me until later that I am the Israelites. I think we all are at some point. That'll be really important to your understanding of the book of Hosea (and most Old Testament books in general).

3. How does this matter to each of us, specifically?

If you're like me, I found this passage a little bit shocking at first. I couldn't imagine doing what God told Hosea to do. Not only does he tell him to retrieve her again, but also to show his love to her. I realize in this passage that this is what God continually chooses to do for us.

I want you to think about a specific sin in your life - it doesn't have to be something huge, just whatever you feel like you haven't been very obedient in lately. I think this passage shows us God's continual grace for this sin in our lives. As we continue to run back to what's comfortable and familiar instead of moving forward into the unknown that God calls us to, we refuse God's grace. He continues to spend Himself over and over as He comes to retrieve us from whatever is destroying our souls that we can't get away from. 

After reading these verses, it would be really easy to feel guilty and unworthy, so let me explain. We are meant to acknowledge and repent of our sin and then return to Him. Guilt leads us to either hiding from Him in our sin or striving to make ourselves clean - both will leave us entirely empty. If you have tried to give your disobedience over to God and feel like it's too hard, it's probably because he's keeping you from what you've found to be familiar and comfortable for so long. He's bringing you into a new familiar that's much more free. 

But we can't hide. We have to just tell God where we're actually at in the process - not where we feel like we're supposed to be. And then let Him love us exactly where we are. It's extremely freeing. Remember during the hard times that once you've been without your familiar sin for a while, you will be like the Israelites in verse five. "Afterward the Israelites will return and seek the Lord their God and David their king. They will come trembling to the Lord and to his blessings in the last days."

- Michele Houston