What truly is love? How do I give and receive love? and What do I do when I am betrayed?
Today we are going to see what is true love based on the book of Hosea.
Everyone certainly needs true love, acceptance and companionship and for all of this people even go to great extent searching for them. February 14 known as Valentine’s Day and on this particular day people express their love in various ways. In fact many wait for this day to propose to their lover and i must say I love you is the most misused and misunderstood sentence in English vocabulary.
The Book of Hosea is a spiritual Valentine Card from our God that can be applied to all our relationships. This whole story is set in history around 740 BC. Hosea was the only prophet who came from the Northern Kingdom of Israel, also the contemporary of Isaiah the prophet.
When the Lord began to speak through Hosea, the Lord said to him, “Go, take to yourself an adulterous wife.”
God intended to use the prophet’s personal life as an object lesson to show His love for Israel and for us even today and also we see God’s love for us is so much like the Love for a bride.
Hosea 2:19, Rev. 21:6
Hosea married Gomer as per God’s advice and things went on fine for some time, they also had a son. However after the first child was born things got bad for this family. She became unfaithful to Hosea and illegitimate children were born also it is said that maybe the only legitimate child was their first child.
For the first child it is said as:
She conceived and bore him a son.
For the second child it is said:
Gomer conceived again and gave birth to a daughter. Then the Lord said to Hosea, “Call her Lo-Ruhamah (which means “not loved”). No Mercy.
Gomer became more and more absent from home and sometimes she wouldn’t even come back from work on time, then the neighbors started talking about it. And in no time, Gomer conceived again, it was a boy this time.
For the third child:
8After she had weaned Lo-Ruhamah, Gomer had another son. 9Then the Lord said, “Call him Lo-Ammi (which means “not my people”), for you are not my people, and I am not your God.
The strain of this relationship was all out in the open now and also everyone got to know about Gomer’s affairs. She ran off with her lovers because they promised to lavish material things on her. Hosea would plead and Gomer would return for some time, Hosea would take her back in forgiveness, but her repentance is short-lived and soon she would be off again with another new lover.
Then came the final blow in their marriage. Maybe it was a note, maybe word sent by a friend, or a direct confrontation. Gomer said, “I’m leaving this time for good. I’ve found my true love. I’ll never come back to you again.” Just imagine how Hosea must have suffered!
Gomer is gone for long now. Hosea is a single parent, a minister, and leading life alone. It is at this time that God’s word comes to Hosea in chapter 3.
The Lord said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again.
By now, Gomer has hit bottom. She has gone from the world of adultery into the living hell of prostitution. She has been trafficked and used by her handlers and sold for money.
Hosea has every legal and moral right to divorce her, and, under God’s law, to have her killed. But God is asking Hosea to show love:
Hosea 3:1-2 1The Lord said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.”
In love, Hosea following God’s instructions goes to the slave market, purchases Gomer with whom he exchanged wedding vows, takes her home, and says to her, “I love you, I will be for you.”
Certainly, Hosea didn’t “feel” much affection for Gomer at that moment. How could he? She had wrecked his home, publicly shamed him, and humiliated him. Yet, in obedience to the Lord he was able to love her.
Terms of God’s command to Hosea.
Hosea, after the manner of God, said that a relationship was still possible, not on the terms of her character, but on the terms of his commitment, the promise, the marriage wow. To understand this kind of love, we must look to its source – God.
God loved us when were yet sinners. God demonstrated His love for us through Calvary. He didn’t wait until we came crawling back to Him before He reached out to us. Instead, He came “to seek and to save that which was lost.” God’s love had nothing to do with feelings, but with a promise made to a broken, fallen couple in the Garden of Eden – a promise of redemption.
Love is a promise, not a passion. Marriage is not about “being in love,” but agreeing to love. It is not something we feel, but something we do no matter how we feel.
What we learn from this is that love is not about passion, but about a promise. Everything we do based on this promise. Husband and wife is the promise, Vow that you have given in your marriage.
God’s love is a promise God spoke after the fall of Adam and Eve to Satan.
And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.
Husbands and wives remember reconciliation is always possible because of that promise, our marriage vow and God. Parents and children, reconciliation is always possible because of God’s love.
1. Love perseveres.
1 Corinthians 13:7
It (love) always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love is not something we feel, but something we do no matter how we feel. It is a commitment that must endure the inconsistency of human emotions, Must withstand insensitivity, neglect, and betrayal. It must weather changes in personality, behavior, and physical attraction. That kind of love can last a lifetime.
Perseverance of Hosea.
Hosea suffered alone; embarrassed, humiliated, lonely, and rejected.
Hosea warned Gomer. Here we find the balance of love.
Speaking the truth in love. Hosea just did not take it all in, he warned Gomez.
In Hosea 2:1-13; Hosea had taken some steps in this relationship.
He had issued an ultimatum – give up her affairs or get out.
He finally let her go and cutting off his financial and emotional support to her.
It is important to remember that Hosea didn’t take these steps in anger. It was his loving response to a serious problem in his relationship. Hosea didn’t try to hang on to Gomer by overlooking her affairs, or fix her by manipulating her with guilt, or making empty threats. He simply said to her, “If you want to stay with me I am ready but will have to take whatever steps are necessary to end your affairs. If you want to go, you may go, but things cannot continue as they are. I want you to know that I’m not giving up on you. But I am hoping that you will make things right.”
c. Waited in hope.
Hosea did not go elsewhere searching for love but waited in hope. He waited until Gomer hit rock bottom and God dealt with her. Anyone who is unfaithful in any relationship will hit rock bottom one day. Like the boy in the parable of the prodigal son, Gomer reached the end of the road. She had to hit bottom in order to look up. It is probable that many months, and possibly years, passed between Hosea chapters 2 and 3, but until then he waited in hope. Love endures.
2. Love gives.
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.
So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and about a homer and a lethek of barley.
The Bible has recorded the exact cost Hosea paid to buy back his own wife – fifteen shekels of silver, and one and one-half homers of barley. Hosea paid a total of 30 shekels; 15 shekels cash, 15 shekels in bread. In the OT, the established price of a slave was 30 shekels of silver. Exodus 21:32.
Visualize Hosea getting ready to go redeem his wife from the slave market. He checks his wallet and looks in his check book. He digs in the cushions of the couch, and all he can come up with is 15 shekels of silver, only half of what he needs.
So, Hosea begins to go through his house, looking for something of value to make up the difference. Finally, he reaches the conclusion that I will use my food or nothing.
Hosea used all his money and all his provisions to pay for Gomer’s redemption.
Love gives and giving involves certain things:
a. Giving involves a sacrifice.
Hosea gave all he had. I believe that Hosea’s payment was equivalent to the widow’s coins. It also symbolizes Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, that was all he had and represented, the very best God had to offer.
b. Giving imparts significance.
Gomer could see the significant price Hosea’s had to pay for her. She was brought home to an empty bank account and an empty kitchen. It told Gomer that she was worth more than anything he possessed, and everything he possessed. It told her that his love was not based upon her character, charm, or charisma, but upon his commitment. And it told her that she could expect more of the same in the days to come.
He who did not spare his own Son, but gave Him up for us all – how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?
We don’t have to earn God’s love. We are loved. Calvary is the proof. He wants to give us all things, freely. But too often, like Gomer, we go outside of our relationship to God, seeking to earn our value from other things; a career, a relationship, an addiction, or sin. Today, he is willing to accept you back. We are significant because of the value God gave to us.
Hymn: Jesus paid it all, all to Him I love. Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.
3. Love secures.
Hosea 3:3 Then I told her, “You are to live with me many days; you must not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man, and I will behave the same way toward you.”
In verse 3, Hosea renews his wedding vow. Hosea’s solution to Gomer’s shameful past was to give her a brand new, secure start in their marriage. He was telling her that the past didn’t matter. He says to Gomer, “Everything you need, you will find in me. You won’t have to go outside this relationship to find love, acceptance, worth, or anything else. I will be for you. However, there was only one rule – she had to let Hosea love her exclusively. She had to depend upon him for all her love needs. He alone was to be the source of her security.
This is God’s message for us today. He wants us to be dependent upon Him for every kind of need we have. That means you don’t have to have anything. You can be all alone and he loves you.
He tells us that we are accepted in the beloved.
We are to cast our cares upon Him because He cares for us.
He says, I will be for thee…now, will you be faithful to ME?
Although we are not told how the story ends. Hosea accepted Gomer and both come home empty. Hosea is broke in heart and finances; Gomer is broke in guilt and health. I believe that because Hosea stood by his promise of love, he and Gomer eventually shared the passion of love. It didn’t happen overnight. It took time for Gomer to learn that Hosea’s pledge was genuine.
Trust had to be built. Hurts had to be healed. But I can picture Hosea and Gomer walking hand in hand, laughing and enjoying each other’s company. It becomes evident to everyone that Hosea is not just performing a duty. He and Gomer are truly and completely “in love.”
Do you understand how it empowered his message when he would use himself and Gomer as an example and say, “There, that’s how much God loves you!” God longs for an intimate relationship with you. Hosea 11:8-9