The Divine Romance Essay

1168 words - 5 pages

Referred to by Martin Luther as “a divine wedding ring with six precious stones,” the prophetic words penned by the prophet Hosea in verses nineteen and twenty of the second chapter of the Old Testament book that bears his name is the epitome of true romance. It speaks of the everlasting betrothal of the believer to God accomplished through Christ. God’s steadfast love for His children is illustrated through the marriage of Hosea to Gomer, an adulterous woman and prostitute. However, the relationship between the prophet and his unfaithful wife are not the primary theme of the book, rather their marriage is symbolic of the covenantal relationship between the Divine Husband (Yahweh) and His faithless wife (Israel). Over a sixty year period, through God’s revealed revelation, Hosea prophesied to the northern kingdom of Israel during its decline and subsequent fall to the Assyrians in 8th century B.C. The people of Israel were the means by which God chose to reveal Himself to all mankind. They were to be set apart as a holy nation that would reveal the nature of the one, true God to the surrounding nations in a very unique way. Instead of remaining loyal to their covenant after entering Canaan, the Israelites began to mingle elements of the Canaanites’ fertility religion with Yahweh worship by engaging in sexual rites and drunken orgies which were thought to secure the giving of rain and the fertility of the land for their crops. Gomer/Israel’s immorality echoed the words of Moses in Deutoronomy 31:16, “And the LORD said to Moses: "You are going to rest with your fathers, and these people will soon prostitute themselves to the foreign gods of the land they are entering. They will forsake me and break the covenant I made with them”
Hosea, whose name means “salvation,” was from the northern kingdom and was a contemporary of Amos and Isaiah. Hosea is the first and longest book of the Minor Prophets in the Old Testament. It is a fiery, emotionally charged book that is a beautifully written mixture of prose and poetry. “The theme of the book is God’s loyal love for His people, despite their idolatry. Thus, Hosea has been called the “St. John” (the apostle of love) of the Old Testament.” It can be divided into two sections: the first section consists of chapters 1-3 as it narrates the biographical account of the prophet and its meaning for the wayward nation of Israel, and the second section consisting of chapters 4-14 is a compendium of Hosea’s prophecies, filled with denunciations, threatenings, exhortations, promises, and revelations of mercy. The prophet was deeply affected by the providential position of being the husband of a harlot. His sentences seem to fall on the page like the tears flowing from a broken heart. A.W. Tozer insightfully states, “It is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly until He has hurt him deeply." By being married to a woman who was neither pure nor faithful, Hosea was able to experience the theological...

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