The Book of Hosea is a love story. It’s a real story telling a much grander story.
The real story is between a man named Hosea and his wife Gomer. Sometime after their marriage, Gomer became unfaithful to Hosea and became entrapped to someone like a pimp, because it required a rather large payment from Hosea to redeem her. Gomer was restored to Hosea and they lived together faithfully from that point on.
The grander story is the relationship between God and His people. God’s faithful love redeemed us, but our sin is like that of a cheating wife who has abandoned her husband for another lover.
God’s love sounds like this:
- “Let My tender words woo you back to Me” (2:14)
- “I will betroth you to Me forever” (2:19)
- “My compassion is aroused toward you” (11:8)
- “I will not carry out my fierce anger against your sin” (11:9)
- “I will care for you in the wilderness” (13:5)
- “I will feed you until you are satisfied” (13:6)
But God’s love also sounds like:
- “I will block your path with thornbushes” (2:5)
- “I will ignore you” (4:6)
- “I will hide Myself from you” (5:6)
- “My sword will flash in your cities” (11:6)
- “I will terrify you like a roaring lion” (11:10)
- “I will attack you like a mother bear robbed of her cubs” (13:8)
We love the first list—and, indeed, that’s where God would desire us to stay—but the second list is just as loving.
God loves us too much—His Son paid too high of a price for us—for Him to let us head down a path that leads to eternal destruction. Listen to how the prophet Isaiah says this:
In all their distress He too was distressed, and the angel of His presence saved them. In His love and mercy He redeemed them; He lifted them up and carried them all the days of old. Yet they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit. So He turned and became their enemy and He Himself fought against them. (Isaiah 63:9-10)
We need both the comfort and the terror of God’s love.
We need Him to roar His lion’s roar and flash His terrible sword when we are on the path of destruction so that we can return to the path of life and experience His tender voice and bountiful provision.
When we pray for our wayward loved ones, pray for both God’s sword and His loving words. He knows best which to use. And for ourselves, when we are stricken with fear, use that as an opportunity to ask why we have heard God’s roar or seen His sword flash. Then, if needed, repent and return to His tender embrace.
God’s love speaks tenderly and roars ferociously because He loves you so very much!
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