Today’s Passage: Hosea 3
Hosea’s life isn’t, perhaps, typical of what you’d expect from a holy man. When he got married, he married not one of the nice girls in town, but one of the prostitutes. And although she stayed around for a bit, it wasn’t too long before she had walked out on him. She ended up with another man – perhaps a slave, or perhaps with debts to him that she couldn’t ever pay off. She was trapped.
And then God told Hosea to go and love her again.
Why on earth would Hosea take her back? This woman had hurt him. She had scorned him. She had, in all probability, embarrassed him. Sure, he would be telling everyone about how his family situation was meant to represent the situation between God and his people. But it still must have hurt – like it always does when someone treats your love as worthless.
If you were in Hosea’s shoes – with an adulterous spouse who has finally left us for another – what would you do? Some have, perhaps, experienced something similar. I recently heard someone say that if their spouse had an affair, that would be it; that there could be no forgiveness. I get that. It takes repeated decisions to love for a relationship to last. But when the relationship is broken by betrayal, the cost to restore it is huge. Many people think that they simply can’t afford the amount of love required – or don’t want to risk their love again.
But God told Hosea to love Gomer again. Hosea – like us – was called to live his life in imitation of God and His love for us, His people. Despite God’s faithful love for us, our love for him tends to be fickle and easily drawn away. Hosea 3:1 contrasts God’s love for His people to their love for… raisin cakes. The contrast isn’t even between God’s love and something amazing…. it’s between God’s amazing, unending love and a small, temporary pleasure. Why would God love such worthless lovers? Why wouldn’t He just give up on us and move on?
Because He loves us.
Because His love is grounded not in us, the object of His love, but in who He is. God is love.
And there is a cost. There always us.
And there is change. And there is a new start.
And there is hope for you and I.