I just read Hosea 2. Our small group is studying Hosea this semester, and so far it's been great. Jeff did this excellent introduction a few weeks ago and explained a lot about the OT. For instance, I didn't have a clear understanding about the Northern Kingdom/Southern Kingdom division, other than there was a division, and the Northern Kingdom was bad. I learned, though, that Hosea and Amos were the only 2 prophets to the Northern kingdom, who had only bad kings. Everyone else was a prophet to the southern kingdom (i.e. - which was the eternal line of David, the line which Christ would come from). It really is an amazing book. First of all, to think about what God asks this prophet to do....Here he is, this Godly person, called to be a prophet and does God bless him or make his life easy? No, in fact he tells him to go and marry a prostitute, who will leave him and then he has to go back and redeem her again. It made me think about how the Christian life isn't about my comfort or getting to serve him in an easy way, but about his plans and calling on my life. Obviously, this action would have been a scandal during ancient times, and God wanted to use it to speak to the kingdom of Israel.
But I think I might have found some of the most beautiful language in all of scripture in Hosea 2. "Behold...I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her. And there I will give her vineyards and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope." (vs. 14-15). And then later it says, "I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the LORD." (vs. 19-20).
Amen. What else can I say?