Hosea is a powerful book in the Old Testament that vividly reveals the depth of God’s love for His people. The book was written to remind the people of Israel (and readers today) that our God is a God of love. Our God is unbelievably loyal to those He chose to call His own—He did this with the nation of Israel by making many promises with them, and an everlasting covenant. God did not waver in His love and devotion to a people that continuously turned their back to Him by worshipping other gods. The book of Hosea illustrates God as the patient and loving husband that never gives up on his unfaithful wife. This illustration is given to us by the real-life example of Hosea being commanded by God to marry a prostitute named Gomer. Like the people of Israel and like Gomer, we too have been harlots before God. A harlot or prostitute would be a fitting title for us when we love, worship, and partake in anything apart from God.
That is a really sobering reality. It’s easy to look at Gomer and think it’s crazy that we could be just like her. But in a spiritual way, we are very similar. We have all loved other things more than God, we’ve enjoyed sin, the world, pleasures and personal glory. Yet despite all of these things, all of our failures, God has not given up on us. In the verse above God says, “I am going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her.” Why in the world does God want to do this? He wants to remove His people from the hustle bustle of the world around us, from the dizzying display of worldly temptations and from the thoughts that seem to drown our days. God wants to speak tenderly to your heart, to remind you that you are His. That He wants you back. You are never too dirty or too far strayed for Him—He knows you’re a harlot but you’re His harlot. It’s never too late to come back to Him.
Even more crazy is that God is leading you into the wilderness to speak tenderly too you. The wilderness doesn’t seem like the most comfortable place—it is usually a place of darkness, dryness, desolation and hardship. It was a place the people of Israel had wandered through for many years. The wilderness is also the place Jesus was so greatly tempted in His earthly life. Yet God brings us even to the hardest of places to speak to us in the most beautiful and loving ways. This is because God can turn the wilderness into something alive and thriving—like a vineyard. Maybe God is leading you to the wilderness and it’s really difficult, but don’t lost sight of the fact that in that wilderness He is going to speak life, love and hope into your heart.
- In what ways or with what things in your life have you loved more than God? Can you see yourself being similar spiritually to Gomer?
- What has God been speaking to your heart lately?
By Nicole Heppner | British Columbia