Therefore I will block her path with thornbushes; I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way. (Hosea 2:2-23)
Have you ever felt completely blocked and stymied? Like no matter what you do, you don’t succeed? For many years I pined to be married. I prayed, I relinquished my desires, I dated, I made a covenant with God not to date for six months so that I could focus on my relationship with him… And yet I remained unattached.
I didn’t realize that God was blocking my path with thornbushes, as we see in today’s text. He was walling me in, not only to keep me from a foolish union, but to protect my tender and sometimes naive heart. A verse from the Song of Songs gives a similar picture: “You are a garden locked up, my sister, my bride; you are a spring enclosed, a sealed fountain” (4:12). Many times we don’t understand the greater picture of how God is working in our lives.
Lest you make the connection that I had “an adulterous look” on my face (2:2), let me clarify that many biblical commentators believe that Hosea 2 concerns more God’s relationship with Israel than Hosea and Gomer’s marriage. The Lord concludes that the only way he can get his people’s attention is to remove their fertile land. Then when the crops fail, they will then realize that their false gods, whom they believe are giving them bountiful corn and new wine, lack power. They will know that only the true God grants fruitfulness.
I love the last parts of this chapter, when the Lord promises to allure Israel back to himself. Whether we’re married or not, he is our maker and creator, to whom we are betrothed forever. And he will say that we are his people and we will respond that he is our God.
Prayer: Triune God, you betroth us in righteousness and justice; in love and compassion. You are our God; we love you.