I have some great friends that are reading passages with me. In fact, while I’m on chapter 5, one friend is on chapter 10 (overachiever). It’s nice to do this together because we each notice things the other does not which helps us really process what we’re reading. As I was discussing Hosea with my overachieving friend, she asked, “Could you imagine being a prophet and that was your prophecy?” Now, I’m not gonna share with you the rest of the conversation, but suffice to say I have friends that totally get my whole heart of a saint, mouth like a sailor way of life.
Anyway…..these chapters are harsh. In fact, everything we’ve read thus far in Hosea is equally tough. Again, I don’t prefer to think of my creator as a harsh, angry judge. I really like the image of a loving, compassionate, forgiving Savior. But, I don’t get to choose which image of God to accept I’m going to believe the Bible. I have to accept it all.
When I read the Bible I don’t often stop to think about what was happening that we don’t read about. However, my friend brings up a good point. This prophet, Hosea, had to share a tough message — Israel’s people were in the wrong. They had totally turned away from God, His message, and His commandments. As a result, they were going to endure a time of misery and war. They were being compared to …. and pardon the language, but my translation says … a whore.
I imagine the people didn’t jump for joy when they heard this. Sometimes, the right thing to do is to tell the truth even when the truth is ugly…..even when that truth is painful……even when that truth is unpopular. When we have to share this truth, it is often met with resistance from the recipient of the message. That resistance can take the form of disagreement, anger, denial, or just a refusal to listen.
Being on both ends of such a message is hard. Knowing you are sharing information or truth that might be met with such resistance and even perhaps retaliation is not easy. Listening to such truths and really internalizing them is tough. Hosea had the courage to speak such truth. I don’t know that I would. Would you?