Finally, the prophet was commanded to love and find and restore his sinning and wandering bride. Through his obedience he entered into fellowship with the amazing tenderness of God, and was thereby prepared to deliver the messages which followed. It must have been a startling command, "Go ye, love a woman . . . An adulteress," but its explanation was found in the words, "even as the Lord loveth the children of Israel." Hosea was commanded to exercise love in spite of his wife's sin, in order that he might learn God's attitude toward Israel. He obeyed, and the price he paid for her was the price of a slave, which in all probability she had become by this time.
The covenant he made with her was that she should enter on a period of seclusion, in which she would be neither harlot nor wife, and that he would be so toward her. The national interpretation of this covenant was that during Israel's time of penitence she would be deprived of both the true and the false, the king or prince, sacrifice or pillar, ephod or teraphim. The ultimate issue would be Israel's return to all the honors and blessings of union with God.
Thus equipped, the prophet was prepared to deliver his messages, all of which sounded the notes of sin, of love, and of judgment.
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25