“Go and marry a prostitute.” These are the first words God spoke to his prophet Hosea. Why would he ask this of one of his spokesmen? Because he wanted to teach Hosea, the nation of Israel, and all of us today a lesson that we will not forget, a lesson that is painful yet joyous.
Hosea’s somber portrait of the human condition is our lesson in pain. All of us have played the harlot by forsaking God and His ways. The picture is not pretty, but it’s true. Yet Hosea’s clear illustration of God’s love for us brings joy. While we are yet sinners, God comes to us and loves us.
Derek Kidner takes us through the unfolding story of Hosea and his wife, Gomer, explains the basic message, points out the subtleties, and encourages readers to live lives worthy of God who loves the loveless.
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“What Hosea had to do was, in miniature, what God had done in giving His love to a partner with a history and with a roving eye.” (Page 19)
“So God’s gift is that He will not only be to us all these things but will impart them, so that His bride will be no longer in fundamental discord with Him and at odds with herself. It is another way of saying that He will put His law within His people and write it on their hearts (cf. Je. 31:33).” (Page 35)
“Hosea introduces us to a family which is a miniature of our world—or rather, of the most enlightened part of the world of his own day. But it is a problem family, and God compares His situation not to that of an autocrat whose orders nobody dares question, nor of a father who rejoices in an adoring wife and children, but to that of a husband whose wife has left him, and a father whose children are like strangers in his own house and are fast destroying themselves.” (Page 11)
“His love is not blind, nor is it coercive. It follows that since mercy without response is self-defeating, and forgiveness without a healed relationship is empty, there may come a point at which the only thing left for even God to say is, ‘How often would I … and you would not! Behold, your house is forsaken.’” (Page 22)
“The first child had been Hosea’s own: his wife ‘bore him a son’ (3). The second and third are not said to have been his: the ‘him’ of verse 3 is missing in verses 6 and 8. So the joy of fatherhood was deeply clouded, and the children were living proofs of the invasion of the marriage.” (Page 22)
The works of Derek Kidner (MA, Christ's College, Cambridge) are full of the marks of both professor and pastor with his evenhanded scholarship as well as his devotional insight. These qualities have made his commentaries in the Tyndale Old Testament Commentary series and The Bible Speaks Today series some of the most beloved and popular of recent decades. Kidner had a long career in both the church and the academy in England. He studied at Cambridge University and then served in the ministry for several years before becoming a senior tutor at Oak Hill Theological College. Kidner began his writing career while serving as warden of Tyndale House in Cambridge from 1964 to 1978, publishing his ninth and final book, The Message of Jeremiah, in 1987.