Hosea: The Prophet, the Whore and the Unfailing Love of God

Whore. Prostitute. Harlot. It is surprising how often these words appear in the pages of the Scriptures. In the book of Hosea, a whoring woman by the name of Gomer plays a central role. While talking about prostitutes and prostitution may make us a bit uncomfortable, Jesus wasn’t at all uneasy around them. He loved them! In his application of Mark 2:13-3:6 David Garland recounts the following story told by Tony Campolo:

“He had flown into Honolulu and was unable to sleep, so he ventured into an all-night diner, where

he overheard a group of prostitutes talking. One mentioned to her friends that the next day was her thirty-ninth birthday. Another replied scornfully, ‘What do you want? A birthday party?’ She retreated into her defensive shell. ‘I’ve never had one in my whole life. Why should I expect one now?’ It struck Campolo that it would be a good idea to conspire with the owner of the diner to throw her a surprise party the next night. A cake was baked, and all was prepared. The cries of ‘Happy Birthday!’ from her small group of friends and this stranger left her stunned. She was shocked that anyone would go to this much trouble just for her. She asked if she could take the cake home and then left with her prize. When she left, Campolo offered to pray and prayed for her salvation, for her life to change, and for God to be good to her.

“The prayer startled the owner, who asked antagonistically, ‘You never told me you were a preacher. What kind of church do you belong to?’ He responded that he belonged to a church that threw birthday parties for prostitutes at 3:30 in the morning.”

The love of God can be shocking, and its depth is revealed poignantly in the experience and prophetic words of the prophet Hosea. He will be the first of the Twelve that we will study over the next several months.

Pray: As you begin your meditation ask the Lord to speak to your heart from His Word and perhaps recall Psalm 103:8-12 in your prayer.

Read: For this week’s meditation in preparation for Sunday’s class read Hosea 1-3.

Meditation: Why does the Lord demand that Hosea marry a woman given to whoredom? This week we will give thought to the context, call and circumstances of Hosea’s ministry in 8th century Israel. Due to the length of this meditation, it is divided into two parts: Background and Biography. If you do not have time to do the entire meditation, skip the Background section for now and go to the section called Biography.