Reflection for Today ▶️ ⏩ ⏹️
Hosea and Gomer by Cody F. Miller, c.2010
The beginning of the word of the Lord by Hosea. And the Lord said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the Lord.
— Hosea 1:2
It's interesting how prostitutes play such an important part in Israel's history.1 Despite being considered 'the oldest profession' the women thus engaged certainly receive no status as a result of this honourable designation of their trade. Quite the opposite, of course. Prostitutes are considered the lowest form of humanity in almost all western cultures, branded as unclean, sinful and godless, while at the same forming an essential sub-culture of those societies, characterising the sheer hypocrisy of the patriarchy.
Here, God directs Hosea to take a whore as a wife, to live out in metaphor what God Himself is experiencing in actuality: the people of Israel whoring themselves to other gods, incapable of faithfulness, tainted by their sin. Through his very life, no longer his own, Hosea the prophet is to illustrate to his community what God feels like at their desertion of Him. This is a different kind of prophesying, no longer preaching but living—a transition from mouth to whole person.
Through Hosea's relationship with his wife, God shows the people of Israel, and us, today, that the greatest sinners are still worthy of redemption, those that turn away can turn back. Jesus offers us the same message in his forgiveness of the adulteress.2 Using a prostitute to bring home this message is not to denigrate the woman, the person, but to model forgiveness of those we think of as unforgivable. Hosea searching for, and welcoming his wife home after her later desertion, and God willing to welcome the Israelites back into His grace are both acts of great love, where judgment has no place.