The small Old Testament book of Hosea is one of my favorites. To say it is a peculiar story would be an understatement. The overarching theme in Hosea’s story in God’s loyal and faithful love to Israel despite their continual unfaithfulness to Him.
God gives to Hosea, the spiritual leader of Israel, a shocking and scandalous mission. His mission: Go and marry a prostitute. God asks Hosea to marry a woman who has been unfaithful for years AND who will be unfaithful to him. If I’m Hosea – I’m asking God to release me from my contract as Prophet to Israel. Hosea on the other hand is obedient and takes Gomer, the prostitute, as his bride. (Yes, what a lovely name for your wife as an added bonus). Hosea and Gomer have two children, then just as God said – Gomer leaves him and goes back to the sex trade industry of the day to be pimped out to man after man. Hosea must have at some point questioned God. “Lord, are you finished with making your point?” “Lord, why me?”
Then the God takes the scandal to new heights. He tells Hosea, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress.” Hosea is to find Gomer amongst the Sex Traffickers and buy his wife back out of the brothel. This is God’s way of showing Israel, through her Prophet, the immeasurable and even scandalous love He has for His children. It is the ugliness that makes it so beautiful.
For years I’ve read and taught the story Hosea as a way for me and you to love. However, it occurred to me recently that I’d missed the whole point of what God was trying to say. This is not a story about how I need to love, but instead a story of how I am loved. I am NOT Hosea. I AM Gomer. This is my place in the story. This is our place in the story of redemption. We are the habitually unfaithful. We are the adulterers and adulteresses. We are the ones who, though we have been scandalously loved, still wander back to our past lives of sin and rebellion. We are the ones who are then loved again!
So take a moment and let this wash over you today. That you have been loved and loved again! There is grace and then there is more grace. There is mercy and then there is more mercy.
Like Peter you have denied Jesus, but Jesus again invites you back to His table.
Like John Mark you have left the church, but Jesus invites you back to His mission.
Like Gomer you have been unfaithful, but Jesus has bought you back. You are still His bride.
This is your place in the story. This is my place in the story. We have been loved again. Let’s celebrate it!