In our study of Hosea chapter two, we will look at how God used the example of Hosea and his wife to tell of His promised restoration of the relationship with His people.
'Say of your brothers, "My people," and of your sisters, "My loved one."'
In chapter 1, God used the prophet to call His people to repentance and to set an example of forgiveness. Now, God is sending him to tell his people that their relationship will be restored.
'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.'
Gomer had left to return to prostitution and God tells Hosea to repeat the call to repentance. This is a call to stop doing the detestable things that they were doing and to turn back to God. That same call for repentance goes out to the whole world today.
'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.'
Without repentance God says that he will remove His blessings from the people.
'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 water, my wool and my linen, my oil and my drink."'
Now, we get to the heart of what is being talked about here. The example of an unfaithful wife is used to describe how Israel had forgotten that God was their provider. Israel was giving credit to idols for providing for their needs and grumbling against God's provision. The same type of thing happens all the time today as even Christians trust in the work of their hands and forget that God is the one that takes care of them. Chasing after the things of this world is the same as prostitution in God's eyes.
'Therefore I will block her path with thornbushes; I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way.'
As Israel turns to look for another provider, God says that He will block these efforts. God can place tough times in front of us for our own good. We can then stop, examine ourselves, and turn back to Him or we can continue to struggle.
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.'
This verse describes how the physical beauty of the prostitute will fail and she will be unable to attract a man to provide for her. It reminds us that we can look to the temporary things of this world or we can set our sights on things above that will last.
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.
Gomer did not remember who had provided for her needs just as Israel had forgotten that it was God. God had not only provided for their needs but had also made them rich (silver and gold). Instead of acknowledging that it was from God, they turned and used the riches to worship Baal. Baal means "master" in Hebrew and Baal worship was simply making something else master over you. We may say that we don't have Baal worship among us today but there are those that have become slaves to their fancy homes, cars, or other possessions and it is the same principle.
'Therefore I will take away my grain when it ripens, and my new wine when it is ready. I will take back my wool and my linen, intended to cover her nakedness.'
God tells His people that, since they do not want to acknowledge Him as the provider, He will remove His blessing from them.
So now I will expose her lewdness before the eyes of her lovers; no one will take her out of my hands.
God is light and light exposes the evil things that are done. God is proclaiming that the woman (Israel) will be publicly judged for their adultery. Many try to hide their sins from God in hopes that He will not see them but when the Light is applied all will be exposed. At that point, our only hope is in Jesus Christ and his payment for our sins through the blood that He shed.
I will stop all her celebrations: her yearly festivals, her New Moons, her Sabbath days - all her appointed feasts.
All of the woman's (Israel's) religious events will be stopped. God is a jealous God and does not want them (or us) to follow Him only with religious acts. God's desire is for our hearts to be like that of Jesus.
I will ruin her vines and her fig trees, which she said were her pay from her lovers; I will make them a thicket, and wild animals will devour them.
Because of the adultery of the woman ( & Israel), God will remove his provision of food. They did not acknowledge that it was from God so He will no longer provide it.
'I will punish her for the days she burned incense to the Baals; she decked herself with rings and jewelry, and went after her lovers, but me she forgot, declares the Lord.'
Now, we see how God compares the physical adultery of a woman with the spiritual adultery of turning to Baals. Baal means "my lord" and in Hebrew it means master and we see that the woman (Israel) turned to call someone else master rather than the God of the universe who created her.
'Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. There she will sing as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt.'
Even after turning their backs on God, He says that He will draw them back to Himself. Achor means trouble and He says that He will turn their troubles into hope. That is what He does for us through the precious blood of Jesus Christ.
'In that day,' declares the Lord, 'you will call me "my husband"; you will no longer call me "my master."'
God tells the woman (Israel) that, when she turns back to Him, it is no longer as a slave. A husband loves and gives all he has for his wife where a master only uses a slave for their own purposes. In the world today, the idea of being married does not mean as much as it should. But, here, God is assuring them and us that it is forever.
I will remove the names of the Baals from her lips; no longer will their names be invoked.
In the Day of the Lord, all of the false gods and idolatry will be removed. This has not happened yet as we know that, today more than ever before, people have made so many things their master (Baal).
In that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field and the birds of the air and the creatures that move along the ground. Bow and sword and battle I will abolish from the land, so that all may lie down in safety.
Peace is going to come to the earth but not without the Prince of Peace which is Jesus. This verse has not been fulfilled yet as there has never been a time when there was absolute peace on the earth since sin came into the world. This peace is going to include the animals as well as all peoples on the earth.
I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the Lord.
We will be married to God and it will be for eternity because God doesn't do divorce. It is interesting to note here that God kind of gives us a marriage contract where he does most of the work and we simply "acknowledge the Lord". As we see, in 1 John 4, this means that we accept that Jesus is the Son of God and not just a good man or prophet.
'In that day I will respond,' declares the Lord - 'I will respond to the skies, and they will respond to the earth; and the earth will respond to the grain, the new wine and oil, and they will respond to Jezreel.'
On the Day of the Lord, everything will be made new as there will no longer be sin and its effects on the earth. God will once again supply the needs of His people just as He did with Adam and Eve in Eden. This is also described in Revelation 21.
'I will plant her for myself in the land; I will show my love to the one I called "Not my loved one." I will say to those called "Not my people" "You are my people"; and they will say, "You are my God."'
When the people repent, God is faithful and just to restore them to fellowship. God called them to repentance (back to the land) and when they did, He demonstrated His love by forgiving them. The same is true for us today.