Strange Things

Prophets sometimes do strange things. For three years, Isaiah embarrassed people by walking the streets dressed like a prisoner of war. For several months, Jeremiah carried a yoke on his shoulders. The prophet Ezekiel acted like a little boy and “played war,” and once he used a haircut as a theological object lesson. When his wife suddenly died, Ezekiel even turned that painful experience into a sermon.

Why did these men do these peculiar things?

“These peculiar things” were really acts of mercy. The people of God had become deaf to God’s voice and were no longer paying attention to His covenant. The Lord called His servants to do these strange things—these “action sermons”—in hopes that the people would wake up and listen to what they had to say. Only then could the nation escape divine discipline and judgment.

But no prophet preached a more painful “action sermon” than Hosea. He was instructed to marry a prostitute named Gomer who subsequently bore him three children, and he wasn’t even sure the last two children were fathered by him. Then Gomer left him for another man, and Hosea had the humiliating responsibility of buying back his own wife.

What was this all about? It was a vivid picture of what the people of Israel had done to their God by prostituting themselves to idols and committing “spiritual adultery.” Since God’s people today face the same temptation (James 4:4), we need to heed what Hosea wrote for his people. Each of the persons in this drama—Hosea, Gomer, and the three children—teach us important spiritual lessons about the God whom Israel was disobeying and grieving.

We live in a time of ‘strange things’ and some of them are God’s message to us but are we listening?

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

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