Wrecked Love or Reckless Love?
by Kristin Schoeff
Few things in life could be more painful than being betrayed by an unfaithful spouse, partner, or close friend. How comforting to know that our God understands what that feels like, for He has had that experience repeatedly. And His unique response holds promise for us all….
Today’s reading tells of God’s promise of restoration to a people who had been unfaithful to Him. It promises a lasting commitment of great love, compassion, faithfulness, and provision from God to His people, and a response from them that He alone is their God. While these are wonderful promises, what is remarkable is that they follow the preceding verses in Chapters 1 and 2. If you haven’t read Hosea before, I encourage you to put today’s verses in context by reading what comes before.
It’s always been hard for me to understand why God required the prophet Hosea in the beginning of this book of prophecy to marry a “prostitute” (CEB), or “promiscuous woman/adulterous wife.” (NIV) What a difficult and painful thing to commit yourself to someone you know is going to betray your covenant and give herself to other men. Couldn’t Hosea have spoken those words of prophecy without experiencing the painful humiliation of having an unfaithful wife? Even worse, in Chapter 1, the Lord tells Hosea how to name the three children that his wandering wife, Gomer, bore to him: “Jezreel,” to mark promised punishment for a massacre at Jezreel; “Not loved” – what a heartbreaking name for a little girl! - and “Not my people.” Names of judgment and rejection.
The point being made must have been infinitely important to God. This observable shame in Hosea’s life made the pain the Lord felt from Israel’s unfaithfulness clearer to those willing to listen. Amazingly, rather than lashing out in righteous anger and putting an end to those who rejected His rightful place as Lord and ruler of all, God speaks words of love, healing, and restoration.
In Hosea 2:19, God promises to betroth Israel to Himself in love and in faithfulness. He even uses the names of Gomer’s three children in verse 23 and changes them to words of blessing – “I will show my love to the one I called ‘Not my loved one,’ I will say to those called ‘Not my people,’ ‘You are my people;’ and they will say, ‘You are my God.’”
Hosea 2:15 says that the Lord will turn the Valley of Achor into a door of hope. “Achor” translates “trouble.” God’s promise of blessing, even after we have failed to honor and love him as we should, is His honoring of the covenant He has made with us through the shed blood of His son, Jesus. He showers us with love by forgiving our sins and even giving hope in exchange for troubles we have gotten ourselves into.
This song comes to mind as I ponder the Lord’s unrelenting love towards us:
“Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending reckless love of God.
Oh, it chases me down, fights ‘til I’m found, leaves the 99.
I couldn’t earn it, I don’t deserve it, still You give yourself away.
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending reckless love of God.”
Dear Lord, how can we thank you enough for your overwhelming love that comes to us even when we’ve been unfaithful or lukewarm towards you? We thank you and praise you for the gift of your Son, Jesus, and the covenant of forgiveness, blessing and life forever! Amen!