Like a wife unfaithful to her husband so Israel was unfaithful to the LORD. This is vividly illustrated in the book of Hosea where Hosea's own marriage represents Israel's relationship with the LORD.
In worldly terms it appears that life is going well for God's people. The Northern Kingdom had been going through a time of great economic stability and security. However this does not lead the people of Israel to give thanks to the Lord who is the provider of such blessings but rather they fall straight into the arms of the heathen idol Baal. Despite their unfaithfulness, the Lord does not give up on them, but rather he speaks to them in grace and mercy. Through the use of metaphors, Hosea brings an uncomfortable yet vital message to warn them of impending judgment if they do not return to Yahweh, the one true God. Hosea shows that God's constant love and perfect judgment, when put together, restores his relationship with his people. This prophecy is a book of hope for us today because it reminds us of God's unfailing and faithful love for his people down through the ages even when they fail and fall so badly. Here is grace indeed!
John L. Mackay was the Principal of the Free Church College, Edinburgh where he taught Old Testament from 1983 until his retirement in 2013. He is a highly-respected Old Testament scholar and has authored several well-received commentaries on a range of Biblical books.