So I've been reading in Hosea lately and it's such an amazing story! I've read it before, but I guess it's just one of those books in the Bible that no matter how many times you read it, it will take on a different meaning. So just in case you've never heard of or read the story of Hosea, I wanted to fill you in on this incredible truth.
Hosea is a prophet to Israel in a time when Israel has turned away from God (seems like they do that a lot...sound familiar?) So to show Israel, and ultimately us, how faithful He is, God tells Hosea to go and marry a prostitute named Gomer. She was definitely not the type of woman a man of God would marry. She was known for her adulterous ways. But Hosea obeyed the Lord and did what He commanded. Hosea married Gomer and they had two children.
The crazy thing is, Gomer kept going back to her old lifestyle. She would leave Hosea, who treated her better than any of her one-night-stands, and He would come after her each time, taking her back to their home and treating her like a queen. His love for her was unconditional and unfailing. WOW.
God had Hosea go through this for a reason. He wanted to show Hosea (and Israel) how to "Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods..." (Hosea 3:1) God wanted a living example of His faithfulness to us when we are completely unfaithful and prostitute His love. This was a heart-cry from God to His children that no matter how many times they turned their backs on him and left Him for another god, idol, or lifestyle, He would always be coming after them, ready to take them back and fill their lives with blessings.
If you read on in Hosea, you can clearly see God's anger, frustration and hurt with the Israelites. He has been betrayed by people who claimed to love Him. And His judgement is not an easy one. But the reason He lets them endure judgment and suffering is so that "they will seek my face; in their misery they will earnestly seek me." (Hosea 5:15)
God says of their love: "What can I do with you, Judah? Your love is like the morning mist, like the early dew that dissappears." (Hosea 6:4) But still, out of His unfailing love, God says "How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel? My heart is changed within me; all my compassion is aroused. I will not carry out my fierce anger, nor will I turn and devastate Ephraim. For I am GOD, and NOT MAN..." (Hosea 11:8-9)
Thank God that last statement is true- He is God and not man. Man would give up on such an adulterous people. Man would get hurt, frustrated and fed up with people that constantly prosituted their love. But God is not man. He is God- the Holy and Faithful One. His compassion remains when ours would have grown weary. He calls out to us to return to Him from our wicked ways, time and time again. Just like Hosea, he comes and seeks us out, brings us home and treats us better than the world ever could. His love is unfailing, unwavering and unconditional.
I hope that today you know that you have a God who feels this passionately about you. There is no other love you could ever find that is this faithful and true. And there's no number of times that you can walk away from Him that He will not continue to pursue you. Though our love for God is shallow and like "the morning dew that dissappears", His love for us is constant, steady and forgiving. What an amazing, faithful, loving God we have.
"Who is wise? He will realize these things. Who is discerning? He will understand them. The ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them." Hosea 14:9