Read Hosea 1-3 (or Listen )
God’s love is beyond human understanding. In fact, if we take the time to carefully think about it, it does not make much sense at all. Considering who God’s bride is, that is the Church, and her track record of rebellion, adultery, infidelity, and disobedience, it is very difficult to understand how God could possibly continue to love her… In other words, to love us as He so fiercely does.
In the book of Hosea, we see the dynamics of our relationship with the Lord and His love relationship with us beautifully yet painfully illustrated. A godly man, a prophet of God nonetheless marries a prostitute.
He’s a man of God, she’s a woman sold to the world.
He’s willing to put His heart on the line and marries her despite her reputation, she continues to sell her body to whoever will have her.
He vows to love her, protect, and provide for her. She repays him by being unfaithful and birthing children of infidelity.
He longs for her love and faithfulness; she longs after other lovers.
He worships the One true God; she bows before idols.
He is the prophet Hosea, living, experiencing, and sharing in God’s painful love for His people. She is Gomer, a harlot who refuses to give up her old wretched ways despite the tender love of her husband. She in essence is a symbol of Israel: unfaithful in all her ways despite all that God has done for her and the love He has poured over her.
Despite all of Gomer’s acts of infidelity (see Hosea chapters 1-2), the Lord commands Hosea to love this woman, to buy her back from her life of prostitution, redeem her and renew his covenant of love with her- the covenant of husband and wife . Can you only imagine this? As twenty-first century people, who quickly desert our marriages and relationships of all kinds because they require too much work and are at times emotionally painful to deal with, we have little appreciation or comprehension of a man who would suffer through humiliation and shattered reputation as a result of his wife’s unfaithfulness yet still seek after her.
Even with the immense pain Hosea experienced in his marriage, he took Gomer back into his life. Perhaps now, her heart would finally turn to God and therefore to him as well. Hosea’s story is simply God’s story with Israel many years ago but it is also our story, yours and mine, with the Holy Father.
How often we forget God’s word to love the Lord our God with all our heart?
How easily we erect idols in our hearts though He warns us that His love is passionate and jealous for us?
After all, who could blame Him, He did make us.
It is indeed painful when the one you love does not reciprocate the sentiments. How cruel to be betrayed by one you’ve given your heart to and sacrificed your life for, only for that person to walk away lacking in love and ungrateful.
Friend, this is us! In spite of all our dealings with the Lord, which only deserve His wrath by the way, He has continued to extend and manifest His great love to us, promising us no longer to be called His people but rather sons and daughters. (Hosea 1:10) Though we may forget Him, God does not forget us. In His love, He says “I will betroth you to me in righteousness, and in justice, in loving kindness and in compassion, and i will betroth you to me in faithfulness. Then you will know the Lord. “ (Hosea 2:19-20).
We can never quite understand God’s love for us and how great a cost it was to send His one and only Son Jesus as our redeemer and savior until we can see just how deeply we have hurt, rejected, betrayed and have been unfaithful to the Lord. Once we see all that we have often brought to the relationship which undoubtedly looks very similar to what Gomer brought to her marriage to Hosea, then and only then can we truly say ‘ wow ,God does love me. After all I’ve put Him though, His love remains firm and passionate for me.’
Friend, God desires an intimate relationship with us. His love for us is filled with passion, righteous jealousy ( oh yes he brought down some serious punishment and discipline to teach us just how jealous He can be) and a longing to be loved as he loves. His desire is that our affections for Him will supercede all others: above love for our spouses, friends, family and even, yes even our children (just remember how God dethroned Isaac from Abraham’s heart, teaching him how that place was rightfully His and only His).
As you read through those chapters of the book of Hosea, my prayer is that you will comprehend the breadth, and length and height and depth of God’s love for you.
“I am very grateful that God included Hosea’s story in the Bible, because the tragedy of his story is, for some of you, your tragedy. There are some reading now who are very much like Hosea-you have been betrayed. It is hard to grasp the calling to love and forgive someone who has betrayed you. I want to encourage you to be of use to God as Hosea was, as he took the scar of his life and turned it into his message. For those of you who find yourselves int he sandals of Hosea, I challenge you to turn your life over to God’s grace. Hosea’s life was not finished because his spouse ran wild. God still used him mightily. In fact, in the very act of loving Gomer in spite of her infidelity and abandonment, Hosea gives us a beautiful glimpse of God’s reckless love for His people.” – Charles Swinndoll (Swindoll Study Bible, 1028).
Father God, forgive me when I treat you without love and when I rebel against you. Teach me how to walk in your ways and honour you with my life. Teach me to love that old rugged cross that reminds me of the depth of your love for me. Teach to me to be faithful and true, to trust and obey you. Forgive me for running after other lovers, seeking after other things and other people above you. Let me place you back on the throne of my heart and have your way in my life. In Jesus’ name.
Zechariah 1: 1-6