If you know anything about the prophet Hosea, it is that he married a prostitute (I blogged about that a year ago). His marriage to an unfaithful woman was to be a picture of Yahweh’s covenant relationship with an unfaithful people. I once heard Os Guinness say that in the Bible, the more open the recipients were to the message, the more direct it was (and vice versa). So whereas Moses talked to God face-to-face, the prophets spoke of locusts and lions (Joel and Amos respectively) and Jesus spoke in parables (Matthew 13:10-15).
In addition to the main Israel-as-prostitute image, Hosea paints lots of other vivid pictures to describe the relationship between Yahweh and His people, which I tried to reproduce in story form. I’m not sure if I succeeded, but take a look below (readers on RSS may have to click through to the post to enjoy WordPress’s fantastic new photo carousel feature):
Much of the imagery used derives from flora and fauna, natural phenomena (mist, rain) and human relationships. Hosea’s original audience could easily relate to all of these.
I didn’t expect the intensity of the savage beast imagery used of God. Especially since He was talking to His own people, not some godless pagans with no prior divine revelation.