Hosea was a prophet to Israel canonized in the bible as a part of the old testament. In his time he was the only prophet God appointed to Israel and was challenged with bringing Israel back to God as they worshiped false gods. Hosea, whose name means “salvation” was told by God to marry an adulterous woman. He obeyed this difficult challenge. Her name was Gomer and she ran away from Hosea to sleep with another man. I don’t know if I could take on a relationship I knew was going to be a cheating one from the beginning, would you? The amazing part of the story is Hosea went after her to bring her back to him even though he knew she had been with another man. God had placed love in his heart for her and that love drew him to extend grace to her in spite of her adulterous ways.
To understand the gravity of the situation, back then in Israel women were stoned to death for the crime of adultery. Yet Hosea’s protective love and grace for her saved her time and time again. He refused to not love her. He refused to scorn her for the things she had done. His love was a covering for her, just like God’s love is for His created and chosen people. He had told Israel in the past, “You will be My people and I will be your God.” This was a promise of love and devotion that God always intended to keep.
God can not break His promise and Hosea never broke his to care for a woman who was continually unfaithful. God’s love for His people was always unfailing, forever and eternal. God can not refuse to love because God IS love. Hosea’s example of love was a living portrait of the love God has always had for His people. His ways are those of restoration and redemption. It’s not to say there was never discipline or suffering for moving against God. A relationship is meant to be enjoyed by two, otherwise it is not a relationship. Yet God’s great mercy always took Israel back when they truly repented and were sorry for their sin.
Hosea’s life was a type and shadow of the same life of a nation called by God to be His chosen people. In this world we are challenged every day, just like Hosea to bring redemption and forgiveness to people who are far away from God’s love. Every time Gomer left Hosea for another man, you have to know she suffered because she was far from the love God had given to him for her. It was love that drew her. I have been often told that real true love is like a rubber band. It will stretch, but it will never break. It always snaps back to itself and reunites, redeems, and restores. Love that is like the love of God covers, protects, and holds its captivated beloved closely.
God restored Israel. Hosea covered and restored Gomer. I often wonder if we can learn to have that kind of restorative love? It’s a challenge when there has been pain, wounds, and ill treatment. The temptation is to give up and walk away. Yet God’s way never leaves and never forsakes. Aren’t we glad His character is like that? I wonder if our character can learn to be like Gods? Can we restore the breaches that have been created by wounds of the past or even present? Can we be a merciful and restorative people and continually draw back those who leave us because our love covers their mistakes? Are we a safe harbor for those who need to come back and dock because the waters have become too much of a challenge? I wonder; in this world, can we love like God? Can we be that light that always welcomes the weary traveler even when their journey has been less than upstanding?
Great questions to ponder. I have to imagine it would take a lot of healing and stripping away of the scars created by continual dysfunction in society. We are all in the same boat looking for a safe harbor to dock. I think I want to be a safe harbor that always extends grace and mercy to the repentant traveler in a world that can be so hard to live in. Temptation fulfills for the moment, but God’s love lasts forever. How would you want our world to be?
Loving you from here,
Dr Jenine Marie Howry