God’s love is seen as a theme throughout the entire Bible, and how He continues to restore and redeem over and over again.
The story of Hosea is one that I haven’t heard a whole lot about while growing up, but I read it recently, and it’s really a beautiful story of how God is calling His people back to Him.
Only love can draw us back to Christ.
Keep in mind, though, that the stories of God’s redemptive love in the Old Testament are in light of looking forward to complete restoration that the Messiah accomplished on the cross. However, I can still see how the love of God operates through Hosea’s story.
Love Revealed Through Harlotry
In the first chapter of Hosea, God promises to restore Israel as a nation and as His chosen people. “Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered” (Hosea 1:10).
Just how Hosea was commanded to love Gomer, who was a prostitute, and to love her and be faithful to her is the same way God has been faithful to us.
God told Hosea to, “Go, take yourself a wife of harlotry” (Hosea 1:2), and Hosea “went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim” (Hosea 1:3).
They actually had children from their relationship, so Gomer must have known that she was loved by Hosea, and that he chose her and remained faithful to her, right?
Nope, she went right back to her old ways, and committed adultery (Hosea 3).
Yet again, Hosea “bought her for [himself] for fifteen shekels of silver, and one and one-half homers of barley” (Hosea 3:2).
Hosea had to buy his own wife back. She went off and left him again and again. He kept bringing her back to himself over and over—revealing his love for her.
You’re my wife, come stay with me. I have redeemed you.
Similarly, the Israelites kept coming back to God, promising to change, only to leave His ways again. God had to make a way for them to return to Him.
He sent prophets, gave them kings, and none of that worked. His rescue plan needed to be far greater.
God made a way by redeeming His people through His Son, Jesus Christ—the biggest sacrifice in all of history.
God did all He could to get His people back.
Hosea did all he could to get Gomer back.
All God wanted was His people. All Hosea wanted was his wife. All God wants is me.
I know faithful love because I’ve run from God many times, and it was His love that brings me back. Every time.
Then in Hosea chapters 4 through 10, God charges Israel with idolatry, apostasy, and their deserved judgment of their sin, but in chapter 11, God reveals His love for His people, even though they [Israel] lashed out against His word and truth—they just wanted to live however they saw fit, whatever seemed right in their own eyes.
Before I can judge them, I’ve realized that I’m no better. I do the same thing.
Love Spoken Through Song
The love of God was something that continuously brought me back to Him.
Throughout college, I journaled a lot about what I learned and what God was showing me. One night, I was listening to “Abba” by Jonathan Helser and I likened the love of God to this picture:
Imagine Christ on the cross, but as He is suffering, in His heart He sees you. A burst of light and love breaks through His body when He sees that it’s you He’s dying for. He chose to die for you. He purposely accepted the pain of the nails in His hands and feet and faced the wrath of God to see you and say, “You are worth it.”
That’s how much God loves you. I believe this was something God wanted to assure me of: His love is deeper and stronger than any sin I could commit.
This would reassure me for a few days, and then I’d mess up again, or fail to read His Word one day, which made it harder to keep my focus on God. So, while I learned a lot during those years, I also had a lot of ups and downs.
Just like the Israelites in the Old Testament.
Some days God wanted to give up on them.
But He chose not to.
He remembered His promise and decided to keep it. He loved His people too much to see them completely destroy themselves, and at the end of Hosea, He promises to redeem and restore His people.
It’s written and seen all over His Word: how He continually and constantly pursued His people.
I read the same quote several times this week, something along the lines of, “Christ going after the one, and leaving the 99 seems crazy until that one is you.”
God brings total restoration to the Israelites in the last chapter of Hosea, and similarly, we can walk in that restoration and rely on the unwavering promises of God.
Promises to love us. To forgive us. To bring us back. To chase us down. To seek us out.
This kind of love, the kind of love that chooses to look past your sins and chooses to forgive and be gracious is the kind of love God freely gives.
All we have to do is receive it.
In the end, Israel is restored, and so are we. By His love, we are found and redeemed. We have promises of new life and freedom. This is the love of God—leaving the 99 to rescue you.
Yuliana is a blogger, proofreader, and sometimes photographer (when the occasion calls for it). She graduated with a creative writing degree in English and has a Russian minor. She strives to use her talents for God’s glory and prays that He touches others through the work of her hands. Yuliana loves meeting new people, supporting small and local businesses, and spending her time outdoors (when the Carolina heat isn’t ridiculous!). Jesus overwhelms her heart, and iced coffee runs in her veins. She currently lives Waxhaw, a city outside of the greater Charlotte area.