Hosea 1-4 introduces us to a prophet with a painful assignment: marry a promiscuous woman and have children with her, for "like an adulterous wife this land is guilty of unfaithfulness to the LORD." Hosea and his wife Gomer have two sons and a daughter together, the names of their children reflecting the coming vengeance of God against the wickedness of his people. The oldest son, Jezreel, is given that name because at he Valley of Jezreel the Ten Northern Tribes will meet their fate; the daughter Lo-Ruhamah bears a name which means "not loved" for "I will no longer show love to the house of Israel; the youngest son bears the name Lo-Ammi which means "not my people", for you are not my people and I am not your God."
As I read through chapter four, I was reminded of the three stories I had just finished contemplating in Luke 10.
Hosea 4:1 "Hear the word of the LORD, you Israelites..." reminded me of Jesus' sending of the seventy-two with a message: "the kingdom of God has come near to you." Jesus' message is truly good news, especially in light of Hosea's prophesied doom which was still reverberating in Jesus' day. Hosea 4:1 goes on to say, "...because the LORD has a charge to bring against you who live in the land..." No wonder Jesus' proclomation of the coming Kingdom was good news!
Hosea 4:6 "My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests..." This text reminded me of the Martha/Mary story...the one who sought to gain God-knowledge was the wise one receiving life. No wonder Jesus told Mary that she had chosen what was better.
Hosea 4:9 "And it will be: like people, like priests. I will punish both of them for their ways and repay them for their deeds." It brought to mind the Samaritan story, for the two other men that this hated half-Jew was contrasted against was a priest and a Levite-servant of the priests; what the priests did was as a representative to God on behalf of the people - as went the priests, so went the people. Jesus had a way of nailing people with the truth...nailing as many people as possible in one brilliant story.
Heed Hosea: hear the word of the LORD, get God-knowledge, don't be like other people or priests but be faithful to God through Jesus.