Go and marry a prostitute.' These are the first words God spoke to his prophet Hosea. Why would he ask this of one of his special spokesmen? Because he wanted to teach Hosea, the nation of Israel, and all of us today a lesson we will not forget, a lesson that is painful yet joyous.
Hosea's sombre portrait of the human condition is our lesson in pain. All of us have played the harlot by forsaking God and his ways. The picture is not pretty but it's true. Yet Hosea's clear illustration of God's love for us brings joy. While we are yet sinners, God comes to us and loves us.