I had a long drive today – was in the car for about 8 hours. And of all things, I spent a lot of time recalling the story of Hosea. For some reason, this story wouldn’t let go of me.
Poor guy. He marries a woman he knows to be promiscuous. Over the years, she bears his children. He devotes himself to her. And what does she do? She goes to another man. Can you imagine the pain? To be wholly and totally devoted to a loving a woman, to pour all of yourself into her, only to have her respond by taking up a sexual relationship with another man.
Then God says to Hosea, “Go, show your love to your wife.” But to do that, he must pay for her “services” as a prostitute. Apparently, he can only convince her to be with him – and then for a time – by “buying” her.
His own wife.
He loves her. She is the mother of his children. But she is only interested in the money he has to offer, and he will accept even that.
Something about this parable – which, if you haven’t already guessed, is really a story about God’s love for his people – is gut-wrenching to me. Hosea is forced to put himself in the most humiliating, vulnerable position I can imagine. And he does it only so that he can come into the most superficial of relationships with the woman he loves.
The thought that God pursues us, loves us, desires us in this way – with so much passion and so much willingness to take any step, to do anything to bring us to him, to take whatever we’re willing to offer – is almost too much to take in.
Can it really be that God pursues us in this way?