Have you ever read Francine River’s Redeeming Love? If you haven’t, go out and get it now and read it, you won’t be disappointed. I have read it half a dozen times and never get through it with dry eyes.
It is a love story mirrored off the book of Hosea, about a man who feels God telling him to go marry a prostitute. He obeys and she just can not understand his love or his reasoning for doing so. So she runs. She runs back to the only life she is familiar with and he continues to go find her and bring her back home. Back and forth and back and forth. Until she finally realizes God’s love and His forgiveness.
“I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the Lord.” Hosea 2:19-20
I have read the story so many times just for what it is. I have thought about reading the actual book of Hosea many times, thinking I may find the same story. But it’s a whole lot deeper than that and honestly the thought about reading the raw details of unfaithfulness (not in a story meant to flood you with feelings of butterflies and hearts) and conviction of the Holy Spirit have always scared me away.
“Being found isn’t as beautiful if you don’t admit you were once lost.”
A couple weeks ago I stumbled across She Reads Truth and a study they had going on about Hosea. Again I wimped out and started another one of their studies (which was amazing) but I felt God really pulling at my heart to do the Hosea study. So, the next morning I downloaded the app and started the Hosea study and didn’t look back…
“…and [she] went after her lovers, but me she forgot,” declares the Lord.” Hosea 2:13b
I can’t even begin to tell you how God has been working in my life and in my heart. It’s been a hard book to read, a hard study to do. It’s made me look deep and pull out crap, it’s asked the tough questions and pointed out some really gruel, gross things in my life. But, the amount of love God has for us continually amazes me, especially in our constant unfaithfulness.
Like Gomer and Israel, we constantly turn our back on God, build idols in our lives and do things our own way. But God waits for us, He is ready for us in that split second our world crumbles and we come running back to him. He is waiting there with His arms wide open, has already forgiven you and continues to love you like you never skipped a beat.
“I will show my love to the one I called ‘not my love one.’ I will say to those called “not my people”, ‘You are my people’; and they will say, ‘You are my God.'” Hosea 2:23
I now view that story through very different eyes. Through the eyes that God is our loving faithful groom that never gives up on us no matter how many times we turn our back on Him. I put myself in Israels shoes, saw my unfaithfulness and saw the love my God has for ME.
If you aren’t ready to dive straight into the book of Hosea, read Redeeming Love, start there. Then go and work your way through Hosea, I promise it is well worth it.
God loves you, no matter where you’ve been, what you’ve done. No matter how many times you have run from him. He is waiting and ready for you with open arms. You just have to run towards Him.