Hosea lived "in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel" (Hosea 1:1). Of the kings of Judah, Uzziah, Jotham, and Hezekiah did what was right in the eyes of the Lord (2Chronicles 26:4; 27:2; 29:2). Ahaz did not (2Chronicles 28:1). Jeroboam, as all the kings of Israel before him, did evil (2Kings 14:24). God would use the example of Israel to warn her brother Judah, "though you play the whore, O Israel, let not Judah become guilty" (Hosea 4:15).
A prophet need not speak to be heard, and the Lord commanded Hosea to act out the role of God with Israel; "Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the Lord" (Hosea 1:2). There are certain words that jump out at you. God was calling Israel one of them, and he was warning Judah not to be.
Next, Hosea was commanded to "go again, love a woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress, even as the Lord loves the children of Israel, though they turn to other gods" (Hosea 3:1). The lady is a tramp, but ultimately the story is not about Israel, nor Judah, but God, who is faithful even while we are faithless. Our sin is less about the whore we become, but the God we betray.
Our Great God, You humbled Yourself in love for my sake. You are my Creator, but how often I pay more attention to your creation than I do to You. All the while, You pay attention to me. You sought me and saved me with an amazing grace and mercy.
May I learn Your grace, may I practice Your mercy, may I display Your love. May I stretch out of my comfort zone and take Your good news to a world that needs Your salvation.