Becoming the Message

Jon Brown

READ : Hosea 1:2-11

When the Lord first spoke through Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea . . . (v. 2)

Hosea was commanded to personify the same prophetic word he was also called to proclaim. Hosea’s life became the message. He is told to marry a woman who is committing shameful acts of adultery. His relationship with this woman, Gomer, and her unfaithful ways, became a metaphor for how the people of Israel had been relating with God. Just as Gomer was cheating on her husband, so God’s people were cheating on him.

The northern kingdom of Israel was threatened by Assyria, under the rule of Tigleth-pelesar. As an act of seeming self-preservation the people adopted Assyrian ways—morally, politically, and religiously. Rather than worship the living God, they worshiped the baals. Rather than operating under the authority of God, they pawned themselves off as Assyrians. They had cheated on God.

Hosea was invited to experience the pain of betrayal God was experiencing. Through his prophetic actions God’s people, then and now, would understand the gravity of disloyalty. Our small acts of disobedience, our subtle allegiances to things that are not gospel, the quiet decisions that lead us in paths of faithlessness—these are not just little mistakes. God sees—and feels—them as acts of adultery.


Forgiving God, have mercy on us who are not always faithful. Amen.