In our study, we look at the topics of obedience and love. We will look at obedience to God even when we do not understand everything as well as extreme love and its meaning for us today.
"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:" NIV translation
The opening verse of this book gives us an exact period of time that the events happened. These events occur after the split between the ten tribes that came to be known as Israel and the tribes that came to be known as Judah. Jeroboam was the first king of Israel after this split and he quickly took action to secure his place as king.
Because he did not want the people to go to Jerusalem for worship and risk being influenced by the people there, he set up places of worship in Dan and Bethel and used non-Levites as priests. He erected golden calves there and led the people into increased sin.
Hosea whose name means "salvation" was then sent to the northern kingdom to be an example and to call them to repentance.
"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.'" NIV translation
The Lord gave him orders that must have left him speechless. You see, God told him to marry an adulterous woman and that would have made him adulterous as well because the law applied not only to the woman but also to the man that was involved. The penalty for adultery under the law was stoning and that included both the man and the woman. So, God told his prophet to disregard a part of His law! I have heard it said many times that God would never tell someone to do something that went against His word and usually they say that meaning the Mosaic Law. But here, we see, in God's own words, that He did and we do not have to try to smooth it over. We must simply trust in God's wisdom and the fact that He knows all. We must also look at it in the perspective of what God is doing. The people of Israel have already committed spiritual adultery and God is sending him to tell them to repent and that He is waiting and wanting to forgive them. He is sending Hosea to be an example so he had to know what he was talking about. Through this extreme obedience to God, he would know how God felt in being left by his people for other gods. He was then able to speak to a broken nation because of his broken heart caused by his broken home.