I love the book of Hosea. It is the best love story ever written!! (It is the story of me and you and our Lover, God.)
It features a woman, Gomer and her repeated unfaithfulness to Hosea, her husband, and his response.
The Prophet Hosea is told by God to go and find Gomer the prostitute. God tells Hosea to pursue her, love her, marry her, and then EVERY time Gomer is unfaithful to him, Hosea is to go and find her… redeem her, restore her to himself and love her.
Hosea obeys and the story plays out.
The book of Hosea illustrates the spiritual adultery of the people of Israel and God’s boundless, unending, unchanging, relentless love for His people, regardless of their sin.
- Gomer, represents the people of Israel, the bride of Christ
- We are Gomer… you and me…if we are really honest-
We are guilty of unfaithfulness to our God, of pursing other loves, serving other gods, setting up idols of position, accomplishments, other people whose opinion we value more than the Lord’s… we cannot stand in judgment of Gomer, if we are really honest about our own idolatry.
Hosea plays the part of God, who repeatedly without question or hesitation rescues, redeems, restores His unfaithful people, his beloved bride… you and me to Himself… over and over and over again.
A whole book in the bible – the life of one of the Prophets totally dedicated to telling us a lesson God longs for us to learn:
I want you for myself. I delight in you.
Let me love you… love me back and Life will be better than you can ever imagine.
I will never give up on you…
I will pursue you, redeem you, woo you, save you from your self-destructive ways of trying to fill your heart and make your life work without Me.
If you really knew how much I, God, love you – received, accepted and let it sink in…
Then you would:
Repent! Return to Me! Stop making your own little and worthless gods!”
Forsake your unfaithfulness, I am your Love
…and I will keep you, care for you, You are mine.”
God pleads with Israel: “understand this lesson, live in this truth. I will heal you of your waywardness, and love you freely. Return to Me, Love Me, Worship Me as the Lord your God… And you will flourish.”
Listen to Michael Card’s “Gomer’s Song”
This song opened up the book of Hosea for me years ago… I had run from God, felt unlovable, unworthy, admittedly unfaithful and in my own assessment, beyond redemption.
At a very broken time in my life, I heard this song, and as it washed over me – I was undone as I allowed the words, melody and meaning sink in.
Do I run from God’s love?
Do I think He is a fool for continuing to pursue me, want me, love me?
How do I resound to His relentless love? It is irresistible, and yet still I can choose unfaithfulness…
But… Like Hosea…God pursues me, waiting for me, wanting me, seeking me, loving me.
And that undoes me.
it halts my steps, turns my head, makes me pause and wonder… could it really be true?
No matter what I do, or what I have done… God loves me. He wants and longs for an intimate relationship with me. God’s love for me is “hesed.”
Yes it is true!
and the choice of how to respond is mine…
Learning the meaning of Hosea, letting the message become personal, changed me. I was no longer like Gomer…unfaithful, sinful, dirty, unlovable Susie –
Because He loves me, I am Susie, loved, delighted in and redeemed.
I choose to live there with Him.
… and every time I stray, I am reminded of His love … and return Home to Him again.
Read these questions with YOUR name as the “I” in the reflective questions… engage in the story as it relates to you and your walk with God.
- Are you running… are you doubting His love for you?
- Are you feeling beyond redemption?
- Are you willing to listen to what God says to you, about you and receive His love for you?
Read the whole book of Hosea in The Message translation
- Do you see yourself as Gomer?
- Do you judge her unfaithfulness?
- Do you relate to her choice to pursue other loves?
- How does God come after you… pursue you and remind you that you are His and He longs for you to return to Him?
My prayer is that the lesson of this book, so eloquently put to music in Gomer’s Song, erases all the whispering of doubt that God is a fool or blind in His love for you… and gives you such a sense of peace and place as He sees you, all of You and still chooses you, loves you, delights in you and will Never give up on you, His precious daughter.
Daily Lectionary Readings:
Hosea 14:2-10; Psalm 81:6-11, 14,17; Mark 12:28-34
If you want to read through the New Testament during Lent (about 1/2 hour a day)
Read on Day 23: 18-end