Do not rejoice, Israel; do not be jubilant like the other nations. For you have been unfaithful to your God; you love the wages of a prostitute at every threshing floor. Hosea 9:1

Although Hosea and Gomer’s relationship isn’t mentioned again after chapter 3 in the book of Hosea, the theme of unfaithfulness continues. Israel is compared to a prostitute’s pimp. It’s sexual imagery and as people heard Hosea’s words they would remember his sacrificial behaviour towards Gomer, and thus God’s heart towards them.

Words alone aren’t always effective. The human mind can rationalise or ignore mere words but a person’s behaviour gives substance. No doubt Hosea found it difficult to redeem his wife from an adulterous relationship but his motive was obedience to God and the consequence was to give his preaching more authority. His actions continued to speak long after his words stopped.

Centuries later Paul would write that a wife’s behaviour can have more impact than her words. “If any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives” (1 Peter 3:1).

James would write that words without actions are dead (James 2:14-26). Neither was God content just to give his people words. He also gave then actions, things that people could point to and say only God could have done that. Only God could have enabled Hosea to take back his wife. Only God’s love could produce such action. Only God loves like that.

Nevertheless, some in Hosea’s day and some in ours will choose to ignore both words and actions. God is constantly reaching out to us through his word, through other believers, through his Spirit but will we open our spiritual eyes and ears to see it, hear it and respond?