Hosea – Gods unfailing love
“Then the Lord said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by a lover and is committing adultery, just like the love of the Lord for the children of Israel, who look to other gods and love the raisin cakes of the pagans.” Hosea 3:1 NLT
God called Hosea to be a prophet to the northern tribes of Israel after the kingdom had divided with the ten tribes of Israel to the north and the tribes of Judah and Benjamin in the south. During this tumultuous time in history there were other prophets including Amos in the north and Isaiah and Micah in the south. Through these holy men God spoke to the wayward children of Israel and the revolving door of Kings.
Hosea is the strangest, most improbable, love story in the Bible.
Similar to Ezekiel, God called Hosea to personally demonstrate what God was saying to the people. But whereas Ezekiel had an almost theatrical oddness in his prophecy, Hosea was asked to do something common, but do it in an unexpected way. God asked Hosea to get married.
We thank God that monogamous, heterosexual, marriage is still something our generation can relate to. But with the cultural acceptance, even expectation, of sex outside of marriage, it gets harder by the day to maintain biblical values and, as a result, understand the incredible thing God asked Hosea to do.
He was told to marry a prostitute, which he did, a young Israelite named Gomer. Now, that’s not so strange in itself because people fall in love and everyone has a past. One of the beautiful miracles of marriage is that the union itself will sanctify the couple through lives of faithfulness to one another. But that’s not what happened.
Some time after giving birth to several children, Gomer left and returned to her former life. The very idea that a spouse would abandon their family for other lovers, even prostitution, would crush the faithful partner and likely damage the children immeasurably. And we know that it happens every day in the modern world because of sexual addition, gender confusion and, really, basic selfishness. Of course in the current climate such behavior is understood based on the mitigating circumstances of neglect, abuse, unhappiness or some other reason. But in the case of Hosea and Gomer it is understood to be a completely one-sided breakup.
Curiously, though, God told Hosea to find his wife, rescue her from her sordid life, and restore her to himself in love. Which Hosea does, literally, purchasing her freedom as one would buy a bag of beans. That would be a difficult proposition for a modern man or woman. Pride, trust, love, respect – everything that was held between the couple, forfeited by selfish lust, now forgiven, forgotten, as they are sought out, pursued, and bought back. That would be hard.
God used this extreme example not necessarily to show us how we should be, although this is true, unfailing love, but more so, how His love is different. It is higher and deeper than we could ever imagine. He is, specifically, showing Israel that after they discover the emptiness of living alone, serving fleshly gods that only take and use, that He would be there for them. He would pursue them and stay close and draw them back to himself. He would pay whatever price was required for their redemption.
And He did. Through Jesus Christ the Father redeemed His fallen people, He bought back a bride out of prostitution.
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
And He changes us. We are no longer what we were, we are sanctified and made new.
“I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me
In righteousness and justice, In lovingkindness and mercy;
I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness,
And you shall know the Lord.” Hosea 2:19-20
The betrothed would be a virgin and when we are redeemed God restores our virginity regarding all our sin. In other words, we are cleansed and made truly new! Washed by the blood of the Lamb!
We all know is how hard it is to change our ways, to truly repent from prostituting ourselves to sin. We all know people who seem so far gone they could never be redeemed even if they wanted to. We become weary in praying for them as we see them get worse instead of better. But that is the wonderful thing about Gods unfailing love, because while He waits for us to turn, He promises to help us return to Him, even in our weakness!
“… The Lord is His memorable name. So you, by the help of your God, return; Observe mercy and justice, And wait on your God continually.” Hosea 12:5-6
Keep praying for the Gomer’s in your life, dear one. They will know who to call when everything falls apart, His name is memorable. And, He promises to help them return. Hallelujah!