God’s Amazing Love

God’s Amazing Love

Today’s passage: Hosea 1

This weekend, our morning service starts a new 4 week series looking at the book of Hosea. Hosea’s the first of the so-called Minor Prophets – the shorter prophetic books. He is, as one of the minor prophets, much less well known than prophets like Ezekiel, Jeremiah or Isaiah. Which is a great pity… because the message of Hosea is incredibly beautiful.

Hosea did more than speak God’s words. In a way, Hosea’s life came to express something of God’s life. Hosea isn’t just about facts and arguments. Hosea is a deeply personal, and deeply emotional insight into God’s heart.

The book of Hosea starts with God telling the prophet to take a wife. But not just any wife: Hosea was told to marry a prostitute. Hosea was a citizen of the northern kingdom of Israel, which was by this time quite pagan and opposed to God. Still, it can’t have been a comfortable thing for Hosea to do. Everyone would have known him as “the God man.” Why would a holy man marry a scarlet woman? And, as it turns out, a women who didn’t stay faithful to him.

For some of the impact, imagine being part of a church where the pastor arrived one day with a gaudily dressed woman named “Jewel” on his arm, saying that God had told him to marry her. Imagine also that some of the people sitting there would know exactly who and what she was. That’s the situation that God was putting Hosea into.

Why would God do that?

And then Hosea has a child – and God says to call him Jezreel. Which is like a German parent calling their child Auschwitz, or a caucasian Australian calling their child Pinjarra.

Why would God do that?

And then Gomer had two more children – and God calls them not loved and not my people.

Why would God do that?

And what was Hosea feeling through all this? And what does that teach us about God?

And is there any hope for this wayward, broken family?

(Hint: Yes! God is good!)

Have you ever had to literally turn a lover over to a mortal enemy to allow her to find out for herself what his intentions toward her really were? Have you ever had to lie in bed knowing she was believing his lies and [being intimate] with him every night? Have you ever sat helplessly by in a parking lot, while your enemy and his friends took turns [taking advantage of] your lover even as you sat nearby, unable to win her heart enough so she would trust you to rescue her? Have you ever called this one you had loved for so long … and asked her if she was ready to come back to you, only to have her say her heart was still captured by your enemy? Have you ever watched your lover’s beauty slowly diminish and fade in a haze of alcohol, drugs, occult practices, and infant sacrifice until she is no longer recognizable in body or soul? Have you ever loved one so much that you even send your only son to talk with her about your love for her, knowing that she will kill him?

All this and more God has endured because of his refusal to stop loving us.

Brent Curtis and John Eldredge, in The Sacred Romance.


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