He ministered as a prophet between 750 and 722 BC. His life is portrayed in the book bearing his name and the only other Scripture where he is mentioned is Romans 9:25.
God instructed Hosea to marry a prostitute as an illustration of His relationship with the people of Israel. They had been unfaithful to Him by practicing idolatry and this man, reflecting the heart of God, never stopped loving his wayward wife (Hos 1:2). Although sometimes termed the ‘prophet of doom’ because of his warnings to repent or God’s coming judgement, he also showed the power of restoration.
Lessons from his life: * After Gomer, his wife, had left Hosea and was again living in immorality, the Lord commanded Hosea to find her and buy her back (Hos 3:1). Through Hosea God was continuing to illustrate His great faithfulness to wayward Israel in initiating the restoration of their relationship. Hosea was a divine illustration, being a beacon of hope to those who would repent and return to God. By our words and lifestyle we too should represent the message we proclaim. Hosea’s role was to demonstrate the loving characteristics of God. He knew ahead of time that his wife would be unfaithful and their married life would become a vivid, living object lesson to the spiritually adulterous Northern Kingdom (Israel), to whom he prophesied. Will I faithfully follow God’s calling regardless of the personal cost?
* He unflinching spoke the message of God, the need for repentance and the requirement for right living before Him and others (Hos 9:1,12:6). We must not compromise or make the standards God requires more palatable for self-centred humanity. The cheap gospel that is prevalent today, saying God understands and will overlook our continuing to live a sinful lifestyle, is misleading. He will only forgive sin that is acknowledged and repented of (which includes leaving that sinful lifestyle).
See also: cheap gospel, Hosea (Hos), idol/idolatry.