When we look at the marriage relationship we can see that God gives us a great model. He shows us what a faithful spouse is like by His relationship with his people. The book of Hosea provides an ultimate model.
Hosea is about Hosea’s marriage to an unfaithful wife, Gomer, and how it parallels Israel’s relationship with the LORD. Marriage is examined in this prophetic book from every angle. The husband’s perspective, the wife’s perspective, even the children prove to be important aspects of the relationships. Other aspects of the marriage relationship, love, devotion, faithfulness, unfaithfulness and, pursuit are featured in this minor prophetic book.
Perhaps the most important contribution of Hosea is the explicit use of marriage as a metaphor between Yahweh and his people. While few people can fathom the fact that God told Hosea to “take yourself a wife of harlotry” (Hosea 1:2 NASB) I imagine even fewer people are able to understand how a prophet obeyed his orders. Nevertheless, God’s messenger took an adulterous bride to provide an example for all of Israel to see a concrete image of how the covenant between God and His people was working. At the heart of Hosea’s message is Israel’s covenant relationship with their Lord. This book focuses on the relationship between God and His people, but in that message believers can learn much about how a marriage relationship should work.
When I look to Hosea as an example for marriage I see that God is concerned with his people and their faithfulness to him just as a husband should be concerned with his spouse’s fidelity. As the Lord shows in 6:4 & 6 faithfulness is the most important trait in a partner. Also, a person’s belief (worldview) is important. Everything begins with the “knowledge of God” and goes out from there. Certainly, more than just intellectual knowledge is required but wisdom given by God about God that includes obedience. So it is with husbands and wives, the focus of a marriage must be a healthy, intimate relationship wrought with faithfulness achieved through obedience and mutual submission. Repentance is also a major factor in a relationship. Hosea 6:1 & 11, 7:10, and 12:7 shows that repentance is important to God and, therefore, should also be a key ingredient in a marriage. The fact that God, the Holy One, is able, willing, and even wanting His people to accept the turning and repentance of His people should prompt people to be able to do the same.
The pursuit of His people by God should also indicate how a Christian must behave while in a marriage relationship. “Anthropotropism” is the term used when God actively pursues man, or “turns toward” mankind. God demonstrates the ability to pursue a less-than-desirable lover, but He continues to do so out of intense love. Likewise, we should pursue our spouses with a similar intensity and fervor out of love for them. Along those same lines, love is always preferred over punishment when repentance is shown. Pursuit does have its limits though, but those limits should be far-reaching and hard to break.
The last consideration from marriage in Hosea is the pain. Few consider the pain in adultery before the fact. Gomer caused huge pain for Hosea and her children by her adulterous actions. Betrayal is compared to a disease in chapter 5 and brings horrible consequences and punishment to all parties involved. The faithful lover suffers more than the unfaithful partner. This thought should cause concern for anyone considering unfaithfulness. The pain and torment that unfaithfulness causes, even years after the act is over, is tremendous. Infidelity brings shame on the family. This seen through the story of Hosea, and especially true for the prophets children. It should be noted that while overcoming an offense of this magnitude is incredibly hard, it is not impossible. While husbands are right in exacting full retribution, only to what the law allows, this is not the best course of action. I see an incredible example as Hosea goes and buys back his wife to take her back. Now, I understand that God prompted him to do so. Even so, he did so out of his love for his wife. This causes me to see that it is God’s nature to forgive and should be ours as well.
That’s all I have right now. I would love to hear your comments on this. If you agree or disagree.