As we near the end of our readings in the prophetic Books of the Old Testament, our respect grows for the integrity and sacrifice of the true prophets of God. In Daniel 10 and 11, Daniel received a prophetic vision which left him mourning and unable to eat for 3 weeks (Dan. 10:2,3).
In the Book of Hosea, the LORD called the prophet Hosea to marry the prostitute Gomer: “When the LORD began to speak through Hosea, the LORD said to him, “Go, take to yourself an adulterous wife and children of unfaithfulness, because the land is guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the LORD” (Hos. 1:2). Gomer’s betrayals in her marriage were real flesh-and-blood examples of Israel’s unfaithfulness in their covenant relationship with the LORD.
Take note how the LORD called the true prophet of God, Hosea, to carry the same burden and pain that He was experiencing with the northern kingdom of Israel. I don’t think their were many individuals among God’s people who could carry out the ministry of Hosea. One can only imagine the anguish that Hosea experienced as Gomer kept whoring after other lovers.
Hosea was a great man of God. He was able to carry out his ministry without getting bitter and resentful. I think all true prophets of God struggle with this temptation of becoming jaded and cynical in attitude and spirit. To Hosea, his message to unfaithful Israel was not just some theoretical concepts he communicated in a detached manner. Instead, he was deeply vexed and pained at the unfaithfulness of God’s people. He passionately felt what the LORD was feeling. He truly identified with the divine cause and he was totally invested in what the LORD called him to do.
In this way, Hosea followed in the footsteps of all true prophets of God. They paid the cost whether it was Moses, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel or the jilted lover Hosea. There were many false prophets among the Jewish people in this time period. But those who knew their God were able to recognize the wheat from the chaff. Let us take to heart the message and example of the Old Testament prophets. This will enable us to discern the wheat from the chaff regarding the many voices who purport to speak in the name of Jesus today. In Christ’s love and service, Pastor John