2 When the Lord began to speak through Hosea, the Lord said to him, ‘Go, marry a promiscuous woman and have children with her, for like an adulterous wife this land is guilty of unfaithfulness to the Lord.’ 3 So he married Gomer daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.
Hosea contains a pretty significant milestone in how we understand God’s relationships with us. It’s the first time in Scripture that the Lord uses marriage as a metaphor for his relationship with us as a His people. Marriage goes on to be one of the main ways in the OT and NT that God helps explain His relationship with us.
I think the main thing that thinking about our relationship with the Lord like a marriage teaches us is that He wants us to relate to him to relationally not transactionally.
Religion approaches God transactionally. Most religions say God wants certain things from us—our time, money, attention, worship. We also want certain things from God, too—success in our career, good health, a happy marriage, a big bank balance etc. It’s a transaction. We do something for God and in return He does stuff for us. That was what the Baal worship was all about that Hosea complains about repeatedly.
Its all too easy for us even as Christians to approach God like this. We do stuff for God, such as praying, going to church, and giving money when we have to, and in return we expect Him to do certain things for us, keep us healthy, keep us out of trouble and suffering, give us the trappings of prosperity, the nice car and big house, oh yeah, and make us happy and keep us away from tragedy.
God doesn’t want us to approach Him so that we think He is obligated to do stuff for us in payment for what we have done for Him. The Lord wants us to approach Him relationally, to have a relationship built on love, loyalty, and devotion. That’s why he uses marriage as a way to explain that relationship. The Lord wants a relationship of love with you he doesn’t want to do a deal with you.
How have you been approaching the Lord recently? Transactionally or relationally, wanting Him to do stuff for you, or wanting to be loved by Him and to express your love to Him?