“Yet the Israelites will be like the sand on the seashore, which cannot be measured or counted. In the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ they will be called ‘children of the living God.’ The people of Judah and the people of Israel will come together; they will appoint one leader and will come up out of the land, for great will be the day of Jezreel. “Say of your brothers, ‘My people,’ and of your sisters, ‘My loved one.’
Hosea 1:10-11; 2:1
In the original Hebrew, this is how our text should look. I mention this because realizing it allows us to carry the context forward, making what follows much easier to understand. You will recall that chapter 1 ended with a long view to the time when the Son of God would restore the unity of God’s people, both Northern and Southern Kingdoms, both Jew and Gentile; that thought actually moves all the way into chapter 2, as you can see. Yet before we see this image again, we find a new series of warnings.
Unlike chapter 1, with it’s image of Hosea’s marriage to Gomer, here we see Israel (the mother) and her children (brother and sister)…
“Rebuke your mother, rebuke her,
for she is not my wife,
and I am not her husband.
Let her remove the adulterous look from her face
and the unfaithfulness from between her breasts.
Otherwise I will strip her naked
and make her as bare as on the day she was born;
I will make her like a desert,
turn her into a parched land,
and slay her with thirst. (2:2-3)
Israel had turned away from God and entered into the worship of the pagan idol Baal. Thus, Israel had committed adultery, spiritual adultery. Hosea’s imagery is that of a father pleading with his children to bring their mother home, for if she did not repent, there would be serious repercussions from her act of infidelity. If we step back from the imagery and look at the national situation, God is pleading with anyone in Israel who has remained faithful to Him to plead with their countrymen to repent, for if the people did not turn away from this outrage against God, National disaster would be the result: That is Hosea’s actual message here.
I will not show my love to her children,
because they are the children of adultery.
Their mother has been unfaithful
and has conceived them in disgrace.
She said, ‘I will go after my lovers,
who give me my food and my water,
my wool and my linen, my olive oil and my drink.’ (2:4-5)
A Nation is made up of its people, and in the case of Israel, it was the people, the vast majority of the people, who had gone after the false gods. It would seem that they have done so because they felt their needs were better met by these false gods, and thus, they indulged. Consequently, the warning Hosea is delivering here is that not only will this be a National disaster, but it will get very personal for those who have entered into adultery against God by taking on idolatrous worship.
Therefore I will block her path with thornbushes;
I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way.
She will chase after her lovers but not catch them;
she will look for them but not find them.
Then she will say,
‘I will go back to my husband as at first,
for then I was better off than now.’
She has not acknowledged that I was the one
who gave her the grain, the new wine and oil,
who lavished on her the silver and gold—
which they used for Baal. (2:6-8)
Israel seemed to think the grass would be greener worshipping Baal, God wasn’t terribly amused, and will withhold from the people what they thought they could get from their “lover”. Soon they would realize that they had been better off before they fell into idolatry. They would try to return home, but would they be ready to acknowledge that it had been God who provided everything they needed all along?
It’s too soon to know, after all, this is only chapter 2!