When you think of the Bible’s Love Story, what comes to mind? Many people will respond, “Song of Solomon.” There’s nothing wrong with that choice, but I would like to suggest that there is an even better love story recorded in the book of Hosea. If this short book is not familiar to you, don’t feel bad if you have to peer into your Bible’s table of contents to find it. It follows the exciting story of Daniel.
Hosea was a prophet of God to the northern nation of Israel during the eighth century before Christ. About 200 years earlier, the nation had been divided into a northern portion, called Israel. The southern portion was called Judah. During those two hundred years, Israel had several kings, all of whom refused to follow God. As a result, the entire nation had walked away from God.
The book of Hosea opens with God telling Hosea to marry an adulterous woman. I don’t know whether she was unfaithful before they married or if she became an adulteress after she had three children. But at some point she walked away from the marriage and gave herself to other men. Eventually she was rejected by her lovers and sold herself into slavery to one of them in order to survive.
What is surprising is what God instructed Hosea to do after his wife abandoned her family. God told Hosea to walk down to the slave market, pay the hefty price to buy his wife out of slavery and bring her back into his home again. BUT, incredible as that is, THAT is not what makes Hosea a great love story. The reason Hosea holds this lofty place is because of what this couple symbolizes. Over and over for hundreds of years God had preserved the nation, protected it, and provided for the people. He had been more than generous to Israel, but the inhabitants continued to turn away from Him and pursue other gods. This was spiritual adultery. Yet, with all this, God never stopped loving them. THAT is what Hosea is all about.
So it is with us. Whether we call it backsliding or disobedience, we want our own way far too often. One thing remains constant – God continues to love us. God doesn’t condone our sin, and He lets us suffer its consequences, but He is constantly pursuing us, wooing us to return to His love.
God’s ultimate Love Story is seen when He sent Jesus to pay the penalty our rebellion deserved. God offers to come into our lives to spread His love into our hearts. The extent and depth of God’s love is expressed in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
I can tell you from my own experience, until I called on Christ to forgive me and take the reins of my life on September 12, 1971, I was not aware of how much God loves us. Sad to say, I’ve spurned His love many times since then, choosing my own will instead of His. In spite of my times of rebellion, God’s love has remained constant. He continues to remain ready to hear my repentance and extend forgiveness. If you haven’t yet met Christ, His Love Story awaits you.