Hosea is one of my favorite books of the Old Testament. Of course, so is Isaiah, Psalms, Genesis…
Hosea is a love story, a tragic love story between God and Israel. God is the faithful and sacrificial lover, while Israel is the adulterer. God uses Hosea, the author, to symbolize His faithful love, and Gomer, Hosea’s faithless wife, to illustrate Israel’s adultery.
Hosea had a difficult job (as most prophets did). God told Hosea to marry Gomer and he hoped, like any husband, that they would be able to have a joyful, intimate marriage. But his wife wouldn’t give up her profession (prostitution) and thus we have the tragic love story (so beautifully pictured in Francine River’s book Redeeming Love).
This narrative has application on two levels for us: First, Jesus Christ is our bridegroom. He has been nothing but a faithful and sacrificial lover towards us. What about our love for Him? Surely, like the Psalmist, we need to pray for an “undivided heart” (Psalm 86:11b). Second, this story stresses for us, as married couples, our need to remain faithful and sacrificial in our love for one another. This is what Paul calls us to in Ephesians 5:22-33.
Below is a video from The Bible Project, which will enable you to get the big picture overview of Hosea. All their videos are excellent, as well as their curriculum.
Here is Chuck Swindoll’s book chart on the book of Hosea
Hosea prophesied to the northern kingdom of Israel in the latter half of the eighth century B.C. (c. 753–722 B.C.), immediately before the fall of Israel to Assyria in 722 B.C. This map is from the ESV Study Bible.