Would you love someone that keeps on cheating on you? Keeps on betraying you? It’s really tough even painful. Once bitten, twice shy as they say. But Hosea the prophet was asked by God to redeem his adulterous wife Gomer from sexual slavery. He was asked to love her again. Could you do that if you were Hosea? We read:
The 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.’
So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and about a homer and a lethek of barley. Then I told her, ‘You are to live with me for many days; you must not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man, and I will behave the same way toward you.’
Hosea’s love for Gomer is a picture of God’s love for Israel though they have been unfaithful. Though they rejected God’s love. Though they ran after other gods. I’m not sure how Hosea would have felt. I would have asked God, “Are you serious? She’s hurt me too many times. I’m done with her.” But God asks him to love again. It’s a costly love too – Hosea had to pay to get his won wife back. That’s a beautiful picture of redemption.
On one level, it teaches us how to love others. Especially people that aren’t easy to love or grateful or willing to change. We don’t know how Gomer lived or if she changed her sinful ways. Hosea’s love teaches us how to truly love others.
There are so many aspects of this love. Love is risky. Love is a choice. Love is costly. Love takes courage. Love is long-suffering. Love is a one-way street. It doesn’t take but gives – again and again, in the hope that the other person changes. It opens you up to be hurt again. In spite of all that, Hosea still loves. You have the power to love someone else. No one can take that away.
God loves us with this kind of love when he sent Jesus to die for us.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Jesus didn’t redeem us with money or barley like Hosea did, but with his blood. He died on the cross to redeem us from slavery to sin. He didn’t wait for us to clean up our act before he would die for us. He died for us so that we could clean up our act. It was a great risk. We could reject his gift of salvation. But love gives first. It’s a one-way street. It’s a choice to make the first move.
How would you respond? Would you give up your sinful ways and accept Jesus as your Saviour? He loves you so much that he gave his life for you. No one is too far from God. No one is too bad for God to save. Would you show love to someone that doesn’t deserve it? Though that person has failed you time and time again? When we love, we are most like God.
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
1 John 4:10-12