Love in a Broken Vessel: A Novel tells the story of Hosea, an Old Testament prophet, who was commanded by God to marry a prostitute in order to demonstrate the betrayal God felt when Israel worshiped pagan gods. Tragic, isn’t it? To think of a good man married to such an immoral woman…
It’s even more tragic when we realize how our perfectly loving God felt–how He still feels–when His adulterous people chase after the temporary loves of this world.
The story of Hosea and Gomer speaks to every generation because we are all enticed by other lovers. Wealth. Power. Fame. Security. Acceptance/Approval. Any or all of these things can shove the Living God off the throne of our hearts and become an adulterous liaison that draws us away from our First Love.
Who Is Hosea?
Where Is He From?
First and foremost, Hosea was from Israel. Of all the prophets whose names title the Books of Scripture, Hosea is the only one from Israel who actually prophesied to his homeland. Jonah was from Israel but prophesied to Nineveh (Assyria), and Amos prophesied to Israel but was from the southern kingdom of Judah.
“The word of the LORD that came to Hosea son of Beeri during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and during the reign of Jeroboam son of Jehoash king of Israel.”
What Was His Calling?
Hosea, like the rest of us, had to come to terms with his ministry. Yahweh commanded his obedience, and it was no small assignment.
“When the LORD began to speak through Hosea, the LORD said to him, ‘Go, take to yourself an adulterous wife and children of unfaithfulness, because the land is guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the LORD.’ So he married Gomer daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.” (emphasis added)
How Did Hosea Do It?
Notice that the Lord had to speak TO HOSEA before He could speak THROUGH Hosea. As is true with any devoted follower of Christ, we must allow our own hearts to be changed before we can be used by the Lord to help change others.
Hosea is supposed to be the hero in this story, so he’s supposed to have all the answers, right? Do everything the right way the first time?
Nope. He doesn’t.
Though Hosea is called by Yahweh to represent God’s love for adulterous Israel, Hosea is anything but perfect. He struggles with unforgiveness, anger, and a broken heart. Through it all, God is working in the prophet as well as the prostitute. And in the midst of a broken place, the prophet realizes something I’ve found true in my own life:
“He [Hosea] would not look to the one who broke his heart to heal it—not when she was still broken too.”
Only God is the Perfect Husband
Hosea was given the impossible task of representing God as Husband. You can follow some of his failures and successes in Love in a Broken Vessel, but perhaps his greatest success was leaving a written record of his struggle. Hosea’s prophecy will be picked-apart and studied for years to come, but for me it’s become more than an intellectual quest. It’s one of the most poignant love stories in God’s Word.
I hope you’ll check back next Friday for the Sneak Peek of Gomer!
- What topics would you like to discuss on Love in a Broken Vessel?
- Do you have questions for me about Hosea?