“I will tell of the YAH’s unfailing love [chesed]. I will praise the YAH for all He has done. I will rejoice in His great goodness to Israel, which He has granted according to His mercy and love [chesed].” (Isaiah 63:7)
When Yahshua was asked which commandment was the greatest in the Torah, He said that the first was to love YAH with all our heart, soul and mind. The second, He said, was like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.
He was reiterating two core commandments of Yisrael on which the Torah hangs. In Leviticus 19:18, where this law is stated, the verb translated love in Hebrew is ahav. It is an active verb; in other words, love is an action.
Hosea and YAH’s Love for His People
The idea of love as presented in the Bible is usually seen as being concentrated in the Brit Chadashah (New Covenant).
In fact, many separate the two covenants into two spirits, saying that the Brit Chadashah is of grace and love while the Tanakh (Old Covenant) is of judgment and vengeance.
Paul, a scholar of the Tanakh, however, taught us the true nature of love when he wrote 1 Corinthians 13. He said that “love never fails. … And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (vv. 8, 13)
The primacy of love is at the heart of the Tanakh. And love is certainly at the heart of this prophet of YAH. While Hosea does not represent the Hebrew People’s love for YAH, he does emphasize YAH’s love for His people.
The very fact that YAH had sent His prophet Hosea to warn His people is a sign that YAH still loved His people no matter how wayward they had become.
According to Britain’s chief rabbi, Lord Jonathan Sachs, the entire history of Yisrael is a love story between a faithful YAH and a faithless people.
Rather than rejecting Israel for its immorality, YAH emphasizes His eternal love and holiness:
“I will betroth you to me forever: I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge YAH. In that day I will respond, declares YAH — I will respond to the skies, and they will respond to the earth; and the earth will respond to the grain, the new wine and the olive oil, and they will respond to Jezreel.” (2:19–22)
YAH says that Israel will no longer refer to Him as “Ba’al” but as “Ish.” (2:16)
In the marriage relationship, the title ba’al refers to the husband and means master/ owner. This is a play on words since the people worshiped the pagan storm god, Ba’al.
Adam called his wife, the first woman, Isha because she came forth from Ish (husband/ man). (Genesis 2:23)
Ish and Isha represent a relationship of two equals rather than one powerful figure over another. The Sages says that this also illustrates YAH’s relationship with humankind — not through force but through love and mutual understanding.
The covenant of marriage is replicated in the covenant between YAH and Yisrael; it is meant to be one of love and mutual understanding and respect. (Aish)
Likewise, people everywhere are to love one another and operate through mutual understanding and respect rather than through dominance and power.
The idea of two equals also underscores the importance of the marriage relationship being of one husband and one wife. Polygamy, the sages writes, is akin to adultery — the kind of relationship Yisrael had with YAH.
Through Hosea’s longsuffering love for Gomer, Yisrael could vividly witness the persistent, redeeming love of YAH. Hosea portrayed the true and better relationship available for Israel, if they would only choose it.
In its simplest form, the story of YAH’s relationship with Israel can be summed up in three stages:
YAH loved Yisrael with a persistent, loyal, covenantal love (chesed); Yisrael had spurned that love through their sinning; and
Even though YAH’s love had been spurned, He still loved His people Yisrael.
Moses explained this love in Deuteronomy 7:7–8, when he told the people that YAH did not choose them because of their greatness; in fact, they were the fewest of all peoples. He chose them, instead, simply because of His love for them and because of His oath to Abraham — His faithfulness.
YAH’s love is unconditional. It is totally relentless despite Israel’s misdeeds.
From Hosea we also learn three things about YAH’s persistence and loyalty:
YAH’s discipline is evidence of His loyalty. The goal of YAH’s loyalty is not to destroy Israel but to restore her. As Hosea took back Gomer, so YAH would take back His people Israel.
Repentance is the response to His loyalty. YAH called Yisrael to turn around and come back to Him (Hosea 6:1–3, 14:1–3); in a sense, leaving the door open for the estranged wife to come back home.
Despite this, we understand from Hosea that we cannot avoid reaping what we sow. If we sow wickedness we will reap punishment (Hosea 10:12–13).
Hosea and the Messiah
Hosea contains a bright promise that will be fulfilled in the Last Days:
“For the Yisraelites will live many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without ephod or household gods. Afterward the Yisraelites will return and seek YAH their Elohim and David their king. They will come trembling to YAH and to His blessings in the last days.” (Hosea 3:4–5)
Because of sin, Yisrael would be deprived of independent self-government, princely leadership, Temple, and sacrifice for a period of time.
Despite this, YAH’s people have a bright future that the entire world will witness: a reversal of this horrible, but temporary status.
In 1948 Yisrael regained independent self-governing status among the nations, though not all of its people are seeking YAH yet. Even so, we are eyewitnesses to the partial fulfillment of Hosea’s prophecy (see also Isaiah 66:8).
On May 14, 1948, on the day in which the British Mandate over Palestine expired, the Jewish People’s Council gathered at the Tel Aviv Museum and approved the establishment of the “State of Israel”.
Hosea 6:1–2 also promises: “Come, let us return to YAH. He has torn us to pieces but He will heal us; He has injured us but He will bind up our wounds. After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will restore us, that we may live in His presence.”
One might draw a comparison here to the roughly 2,000 years in which the Hebrew people lived in exile only to be revived on the “third day.”
Since a day is likened to a thousand years, we can consider that we are in that third day, the day on which the people of Yisrael and the people of Yahudah are to be revived physically and spiritually.
This prophecy also reveals how Yisrael will be spiritually redeemed through Yahshua’s (Jesus’) resurrection and victory over sin on the third day after His death.
On that third day, Yahshua appeared to His talmidim (disciples) in His resurrected body and helped them to understand the Messianic prophecies about Him. He said,
“This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms. … The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” (Luke 24:44–49; see also Genesis 3:15; Isaiah 52:13–53:12; Zechariah 12:10–13:1; Psalm 16:7–11, 22:1–31)
On that third day, they were in a sense revived from what seemed to be a devastating blow.
Not long afterward, the power to preach to all the nations came on the Feast of Shavuot (Pentecost) when the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) descended onto the talmidim.
From then on they boldly proclaimed the Good News that Yahshua HaMoshiach has come, has died, has risen, and has made available eternal forgiveness of sins for those who place their trust and belief in Him.
And He’s coming again for His Bride, Hebrew and Gentile Believers, to take us home to be where He is, forever.
Now that’s everlasting love. YAH bless you abundantly!