St. Hosea ― Illustrating the Forgiveness of God
St. Hosea is listed on the Oct. 17 page of the Roman Martyrology
The word of the LORD that came to Hosea son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam, son of Joash, king of Israel. ―Hosea 1:1
Hosea delivered messages of God while the Israelites were divided into two kingdoms. This prophet lived in the northern kingdom of Israel and began prophesying sometime near 745 B.C., during the latter part of King Jeroboam II’s reign. Hosea’s book begins with curious information on the prophet’s personal life.
Hosea’s wife, Gomer, sadly became an adulteress who turned away from her faithful husband. Yet God encouraged Hosea to forgive Gomer and accept her back into his heart. The couple had three children: a boy named Jezreel, a daughter named Lo-ruhama (meaning “she is not pitied”), and a second son named Lo-ammi (meaning “not my people”). God used this struggling family to illustrate his love and hope for his people.
This was a time in history when the Israelites had forsaken God. They lived sinful lives, worshipped false idols, and put little heart into true religious devotion―comparable to the way Gomer had forsaken Hosea and embraced an empty, heartless lifestyle. God stressed through the symbol of Hosea’s marriage that he desired his people to return to him, that he would forgive and welcome them back―as Hosea had welcomed Gomer back.
The prophet’s oracles cautioned that a persistent and reckless disregard of God would bring about a certain despair that would eventually become “not pitied” and the nation as a whole would become “not his people”―signaled by the names of Hosea’s children. Israel only needed to recognize her infidelity and put a renewed effort into a faithful relationship with God.
Sadly, the Israelites discounted Hosea’s message, and the northern kingdom of Israel steadily crumbled, until the nation was powerless to overcome the Assyrians in 722 B.C. Hosea, however, did include a glimmer of hope for an eventual restoration.
Through Hosea, readers can strongly sense God’s fierce yearning for the Israelite people. God’s Word through St. Hosea can represent our relationships with God today. It can remind us of the tremendous importance of devoting ourselves to him for peaceful and truly purposeful lives.
A Novena of Days with St. Hosea
Please find below nine biblical passages on St. Hosea. If you would like to get to know this Old Testament saint a little better, or ask him to pray for some special intentions, try spending a bit of time with him for nine consecutive days. Read one passage a day, and if inspired, read the footnotes and/or correlating verses. St. Hosea is listed on the Oct. 17 page of the Roman Martyrology (2004); he could be considered a patron saint for troubled marriages or forgiveness due to the trouble with his wife, Gomer.
- Day 1) Hosea 1:2–8
- Day 2) Hosea 2:1
- Day 3) Romans 9:25-26
- Day 4) Hosea 4:1–2
- Day 5) Hosea 6:6
- Day 6) Hosea 11:1
- Day 7) Matthew 2:15
- Day 8) Hosea 14:2-3
- Day 9) Hosea 14:5