The biblical prophet Hosea had one of the Bible's most tender stories of fatherhood, despite parenting in less-than-ideal circumstances. You might remember that Hosea's wife, Gomer, was a prostitute. God commanded Hosea to marry her in spite of this, as an allegory to all Israel: although Israel had gone "whoring" with other gods, God would aggressively win her back through his stubborn faithfulness.
It didn't quite work out as planned, however. Gomer didn't want to take early retirement from her profession, heading off once again into the arms of her lovers (3:1). Hosea had to redeem her at auction, and the process started again.
One part of the story that I hadn't put together until this bout with the Twible is the fate of the three kids Hosea and Gomer had together. I had considered them more as object lessons than flesh-and-blood children. (Well, with names like Jezreel, "Not Pitied," and "Not My People," it's hard to think of them as actual kids. And we thought "Apple Paltrow" was a problematic name for the playground.)
But in the long months--and probably years--that Gomer was off doing her thing, Hosea was patiently raising those three kids. All the while he was also working as an unpaid prophet of YHWH whose message wasn't always received too well (ch 9). Although the book isn't specific about Hosea's relationship with his own kids, it's mighty clear about God's increasingly troubled relationship with his now-teenage child Israel. To say that Israel has fallen into the wrong crowd does not do the situation justice.
As a dad, God is pretty freaked out by the wayward wanderings of his firstborn. Here are some Twible chapters about it:
#Twible Hos 5: G wrings hands, wondering what to do w/ rebelling teens Israel & Judah. Time for some tough love. Every parent can relate.
#Twible Hos 11: G reminisces abt when baby Israel learned to walk & eat solids. They turn evil so fast, don’t they? It’s hard being a dad.
#Twible Hos 12: G decides to send rebelling teen Israel on Outward Bound experience for at-risk youth. Hmm, that Assyria program looks good…
#Twible Hos 13: G: “Who fed you in the wilderness, hmmm? Who’s your daddy? Well, the hand that cared for you can also bring you DOWN.”
The point, though, is that Israel does start repenting. There's something about that Outward Bound solo experience that really makes you appreciate your parents a little more.
So let's hear it for Hosea. Through his struggles, we learn more about the kind of God who is willing to see us through rebellion and beyond.
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