Rebuke your mother; rebuke her. For she is not my wife and I am not her husband. Let her remove the promiscuous look from her face and her adultery from between her breasts. Otherwise, I will strip her naked and expose her as she was on the day of her birth. I will make her like a desert and like a parched land, and I will let her die of thirst (2:2-3 CSB).
We must always keep in mind God’s revelation of himself. Almighty, holy, sovereign and self-sufficient, God still wants to share his love and glory with people. Amazingly, God reaches out to people who have not wanted God in their lives. He does this in order to draw them into a deep relationship of love, which God sets forth in terms of marriage and family.
Sadly and tragically, people wander away from the living God, who overflows with love. In this passage, God reveals one way he responds to such conduct. This response to rejected love should not surprise us. God is surely right in bringing justice on those who despise his overflowing love. Again, the language in this section is blunt, racy, and shocking. God intends it to be. He wants us to wake up and realize that offended love responds powerfully!
How did Israel forsake the Lord? Israel abandoned the Lord by refusing to acknowledge God as the source of the blessings she enjoyed (2:5). In contrast, the godly person sees God as the supplier of what we need to sustain and enjoy life. As Paul told a group of non-Christians, who had a wrong view of God, Friends, why are you doing this? We too are only human, like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything in them. In the past, he let all nations go their own way. Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy (Acts 14:15-17 NIV; cf. Matthew 6:25-34; James 1:15-17). God provides us with what is necessary to sustain life and to have joy in our lives.
Israel’s troubles began when she forgot the Lord, though she had been warned against so doing. And I will punish her for the feast days of the Baals when she burned offerings to them and adorned herself with her ring and jewelry, and went after her lovers and forgot me, declares the Lord (Hosea 2:13 ESV; cf. Deuteronomy 8:6-14). In our culture, where both marriage partners often work outside the home, it is easy to miss the point of the wife depending on her husband for support. How could Israel forget the husband who provided her with all she needed to live? She had forgotten the lesson of the manna.
As Israel forgot the Lord, it is not surprising that she did not acknowledge God as the source of her blessings (2:8). The average person in western society thinks that their skill and hard work or clever use of government entitlements are the source of blessings. But who gives you your abilities? Who has provided wealth to our nation? All comes from God.
Israel abandoned the Lord by taking idols as her lovers. She wrongly believed that her false gods provided her with the blessings of life. She worshipped idols like Baal as the ones who controlled nature (2:5). An error in the content of faith or doctrine leads to errors in our worldview, which leads to absurd, disgusting and immoral practices. An example of this is the different ways that people look to harmonize their environment, in order to be successful or have a sense of well-being or for other reasons.
Israel wildly pursued her false gods in her adulteries (2:7, 13). Notice the lack of purity (2:2) that led to a spiritually immoral lifestyle. When God exposes our attitudes and actions by the word, it is not the time to mutter a mere “I’m sorry,” but to have a deep change of mind. “Lord, give me the mind of Christ—an inner person of the heart that is zealous for you.”
Grace and peace, David