The book of Hosea is one of the most unique stories of the whole Bible. The story begins with a word from God giving Hosea directions to marry a prostitute! This is not what you might expect to hear in a message from God! He went on to explain that this would be an illustration of Israel’s unfaithfulness to Him. Hosea married Gomer in response to this command, and as each of their children were born, God further instructed Hosea to give them names that would represent the judgment coming on the people of Israel for their rebellion.
Ultimately, it is a story of the redemption of God’s great love and faithfulness, even to the most unfaithful. Don’t you think Gomer, a prostitute, must have wondered WHY Hosea married her and loved her and stayed with her in spite of who and what she was? God’s love is just that way for us, it loves us in spite of anything. Best of all, it doesn’t leave us the way we were found, but expands and improves and renews us!
Chapter 1 ends with this promise:
“Yet the time will come when Israel’s people will be like the sands of the seashore—too many to count! Then, at the place where they were told, ‘You are not my people,’ it will be said, ‘You are children of the living God.’ Then the people of Judah and Israel will unite together…choose one leader…return from exile together. What a day that will be…when God will again plant his people in His land.” Hosea 1:10-11 NLT
It is just like our wonderful Heavenly Father to speak of good to come in the midst of trial, of unity in the midst of division, and of grace in the midst of judgment. Even while correcting them for their sin He promises restoration and abundance ahead!
While the story of Hosea is quite unique, the theme portrayed within it, God’s boundless love and redemption, is the central theme of the Bible. It is the very reason God sent Jesus to earth to become human like us and why his gave His life—so He could redeem us and make a way to end the separation between us and our Creator once and for all! And He didn’t wait for us to deserve or earn it, because He knew we never could on our own.
Romans 5:8-11 NLT states:
“But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.”
This is extravagant, undeserved, unrelenting love that is available to us in spite of our unfaithfulness, shortcomings, willful rebellion, and sin! The perfect love of God is hard for our finite minds to truly grasp, especially when we find it hard to even love ourselves. Just like Gomer wondered why Hosea chose to love her, we may wonder WHY God would love us in spite of what we’ve done or been. When we realize that He considered us worth giving His son for, we begin to understand just how valuable we must be to Him! When we begin to see our value through His eyes, it begins to change our hearts and we desire to become all He sees in us!
Take a minute to think about how valuable YOU must be in His eyes, that He would send His one and only perfect, innocent Son to suffer and die FOR YOU! Doesn’t that make you want to live a life that is pleasing to Him, to give your life to serve Him?
Love covers a multitude of sin, but it also makes us want to never sin and break His heart again! That is the essence of this story of Hosea: redemption through God’s love—being loved IN SPITE OF what you have been and INTO what you were truly made to be. I hope you’ll join us for each post this month and let the love of God grow to new depths in your heart. But don’t do it alone, why not bring a friend along on this journey with you?
Featured photo by: Allison Mims