The extreme love of God!
Francine Rivers wrote a book several years ago that is based on the book of Hosea. The book is Redeeming Love, and I’ve read it several times. I’ve been thinking about this book all week, as I was reminded in church about the incredible, redeeming love of Jesus. So, I browsed through the book of Hosea in my Bible. This book is a living parable about how far God will go to love Israel. Even though there is judgement through out the book, the consistent message is about God and the extreme demonstration of his love.
“Go, take for yourself a wife of prostitution and have children of [her] prostitution; for the land commits great acts of prostitution by not following the Lord.” Hosea 1:2 AMP So, Hosea, being obedient to his God, took Gomer to be his wife. Gomer conceived and had a son, they named him Jezreel. After that they had two more children. Hosea loved Gomer because he loved God. Gomer, on the other hand did not stay faithful to Hosea. She inflicted a lot pain upon him, yet God said to Hosea: “Go again, love a woman (Gomer) who is beloved by her husband and yet an adulteress, even as he Lord loves the children of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love the raisin cakes [used in the feasts in pagan worship].” Hosea 3:1
How often is this your story? How often are we Gomer, giving our love and devotion to someone or something else other than our God? Yet, God continues to take the initiative in pursuing us and bringing us back to full surrender, love and devotion to him. He does not passively stand by, but is faithful to win us to his heart. Whoa! As a church, and a nation I feel that we often fall back into the role of Gomer. We forget that all the glory and praise belongs to God. We get sidetracked with life-finances, friends, family, trials, stuff- and our priorities get all messed up. We claim to be fully committed to God, but without realizing it sometimes we wander away from him. We have idols.
The book, Redeeming Love, does a great job of portraying the tug of war I think many of us face. The lies Gomer believes about herself that catapult her into a lifestyle that is very damaging. The lies that prevent her from believing that she is lovable. These lies override the truth of who she is, and she searches for fulfillment in all the wrong places. All the while, Hosea is true to his God and is compelled to love her no matter what. God enables him to see who she really is and he infuses Hosea with a deep love for a woman that continually turns away. His persistence wins in the end. She does return to Hosea, and the truth of who she is finally begins to stick.
This can apply to all of us and our relationship with God. Throughout life we battle the lies of who we are. The voice of the enemy continually tries to tell us that we are not loved by God, we are not worthy or good enough to be faithful to one God. But, God in his faithfulness and love towards us lovingly works to root us in the truth of who we are. He tenderly empowers us to walk in the truth of his words, and we become the authentic person he created us to be. We walk knowing that we are loved!
The story of Gomer may seem far fetched to some of us, but upon closer examination I think we could all relate in one way or another. I am so thankful for a persistent God that loves me so deeply He won’t stop pursuing me and speaking truth over who I am!
“I will sow her for myself in the land. I will also have mercy on her who had not obtained Mercy; and I will say to those who were not My people, ‘You are My people,’ and they will say, ‘You are my God!'” Hosea 2:235